Software for group projects in a large class

Robert Malkin, Professor of the Practice, Biomedical Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering

Project description

Dr. Malkin participated in a Faculty Fellows group focused on teaching large classes. This fellowship group discussed a number of techniques, described in McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers and Classroom Assessment Techniques.

Dr. Malkin’s students are required to design circuits in teams, as part of their training to be engineers in a technical, team-focused environment. His objective was to find a software tool to allow students to collaborative design a circuit, without having to be in the same physical location. He developed a set of criteria for the software.

Dr. Malkin found that the ideal piece of software did not currently exist, but tried Electronics Workbench. Most students reported some learning from the tool, but the level of frustration was high. The number of software bugs and crashes related to simulation was excessive. In general, the basic idea of group work for designing circuits is good, because students did begin to explore concepts that they had glossed over during the course. However, further experimentation will await the development of more robust software.

Project start date: January 1, 2006
Funding awarded
: $1,000