F2-AL3-2 - Freewheeling Electronic Circuit Laboratory Learning with Pocket Instruments

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Yanpin Ren1 , Min Wu2
1 Tsinghua University, Beijing, P. R. China
2 University of Maryland, College Park, USA

Work in Progress: This Innovative Practice Work-in-Progress Paper presents how a portable laboratory kit named Pocket Instruments has facilitated electronic laboratory learning in the undergraduate engineering programs. Traditionally, owing to the lack of necessary instruments at hand, students could only think abstractly and design on paper during pre-lab and post-lab time but could not physically work on their circuits outside the laboratories. Through the corresponding virtual instrument application software deployed on a laptop, the Pocket Instruments can act as a portable signal generator, an oscilloscope, a digital analyzer, and a spectrum analyzer, which makes it possible for students to experiment with electronic circuits freely outside the allocated laboratory time. The teaching practices in the engineering program of Tsinghua University for seven years have shown that such an always-available lab kit can achieve a measurable increase in students’ engagement and achievement in experimental exploration. With the growing needs in online learning, the Pocket Instruments can also provide an effective means for distance learning of laboratory skill training.