A course on digital electronics based on solving design-oriented exercises by means of a PBL strategy
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Recently, new syllabuses are being implemented accordingly to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in Spain. This paper describes the methodology and assessment strategy applied in the subject ‘‘Digital Circuits and Systems’’ (CSD) in the third semester course in the Telecommunications Engineering degree at the Castelldefels School of Telecommunications and Aerospace Engineering (EETAC) of the Universitat Polite`cnica de Catalunya (UPC). The course’s main learning objective is that students be able to analyse and design simple combinational and sequential circuits by means of hardware description languages for programmable devices and program applications using microcontrollers and C language. Small groups of two or three students work in cooperation using PBL techniques to solve design-oriented assignments, while instructors act more as mediators than lecturers in order to facilitate project development and knowledge acquisition. The experience we describe corresponds to the spring term of 2011, a period in which this methodology was applied to 46 students. This work compares statistically the influence of the students’ background on their academic performance in our subject. A significant correlation has been detected between test marks and the final grade, based on continuous assessment. Students’ opinions have been obtained by means of a survey at the end of the course. Although the high workload and involvement, because this methodology requires constancy and commitment from the students, most of them have positive opinions on the development of the subject, due to the fact that they realise that they have put into practice several competences or cross-curricular skills, while acquiring the course content, and furthermore, most of them have passed the course, even with higher grades than the ones from other subjects in the same semester.
CitationJordana, J.; Robert, F. J. A course on digital electronics based on solving design-oriented exercises by means of a PBL strategy. "International journal of engineering education", Febrer 2015, vol. 31, núm. 1(B), p. 238-247.