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Evaluation and Action Academic Year 2011-2012

Academic year 2011-2012

Fall 2012 assessment meeting of the Department was held on October 26, 2012. The discussion centered around the outcomes

  • a1-Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics,
  • a2-Ability to apply knowledge of science,
  • c1-Ability to design a system or a process to meet the desired needs,
  • k1-Ability to use skills and techniques necessary for engineering practice.

For outcomes a1 and a2, the assessment results improved slightly compared to the year before.  For both outcomes the success rate is at or above the established threshold of 75 percent, however, the issue of the results being skewed by the data from ECE 210 – Circuit Analysis I continued to be a concern. For outcome a1, 21% of the students failed to meet the expectations.  For outcome a2 the corresponding value was 25%.  Outcome c1 exhibited a failure rate of 23% (which was 18% in the previous year).  Outcome k1 continued to be a concern with a failure rate of 31%.

As detailed previously, outcomes a1, a2 and k1 have significant (perhaps too much) dependency on ECE 210. The department chair also reported on what the failure rates would be for a1, a2 and k1 if contributions from ECE 210 were taken out of the data. The results would be as follows:

a1: 18%,                      a2: 17%,                      k1: 23%

Regarding a1 and a2:  Faculty reported that, based on placement tests given on first day of class, a significant number of ECE 210 students had problems with basic math skills that they should have gained in Calculus I and II. It was decided that the department will explore the possibility of adding a weekly tutoring session to ECE 210. A 90-minute weekly session will be designed.  A successful senior-level student will be recruited as a tutor to conduct the sessions.  Dean’s office will provide the funding for tutoring. The student tutor will coordinate with the faculty teaching lecture sessions to ensure that the problems solved in tutoring sessions are synchronized with the material being covered in lectures. Attendance in tutoring sessions will have to be voluntary at the beginning.  Faculty teaching ECE 210 will explore the possibility of giving extra credit for attendance to maximize student participation.  There was some discussion on possibly adding 1 credit hour to ECE 210 and making attendance in tutoring sessions mandatory in the future.

Update: The tutoring sessions were started in the Spring 2014 semester. Mr. Christopher Branch, who was selected as outstanding junior and later outstanding senior, was recruited to conduct identical 90-minute sessions on Tuesday mornings and Tuesday evenings to accommodate the schedules of most students. Assessment results will be monitored in future semesters to see how well these sessions address the issues. 

Regarding c1:

The 23% failure rate is within the threshold but is somewhat higher than the previous year. We will continue to monitor this outcome.  In the meantime it was decided that an additional homework set should be added to ECE 351- Signals and Systems that involves Butterworth and Chebyshev analog filter design by hand and verification of the designs through MATLAB.

Regarding k1:

  1. Dr. Alkin reported on his efforts to give a half-day MATLAB seminar.  He coordinated with members of the IEEE student society to schedule and announce an afternoon seminar in Spring 2012. Notices were posted around the building. A total of eleven students signed up for the seminar, yet only three of them attended.  The process of scheduling and advertising the MATLAB seminar needs to be reconsidered, otherwise it is too much effort for minimal gain.
  2. It is anticipated that the addition of MATLAB-based Butterworth and Chebyshev analog filter design problems will help with outcome k1 as well.
  3. It was decided to increase MATLAB-based assignments in ECE 375 – Introduction to Communications.
  1. Recent modifications in the prerequisites to ECE 404 should also help improve outcome k1 in the future.  Before taking the capstone design course, students must complete ECE 282, ECE 351 and one of the following: ECE 375 or ECE 381. Starting in Fall 2014 assessment data for outcome k1 will include data from ECE 404.

General improvement:

A faculty meeting was held regarding the qualifications to be sought in applicants for the faculty search to be conducted through Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. It was decided that a new faculty member with expertise in power systems, power electronics and alternative power sources would best serve the needs of the department. Ability to offer additional electives in these areas would strengthen the curriculum. The successful candidate would also help with mentoring some student design teams through capstone design projects in these areas.

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