A pilot study into developing animations for electrical and electronic engineering curriculum

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So, Stephen
Schwerin, Belinda
Rowlands, David
Espinosa, Hugo
Tadj, Timothy
Busch, Andrew
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Gold Coast, Australia


CONTEXT Many electrical and electronic engineering (EEE) programs comprise courses that cover a great deal of mathematical and physics-based fundamentals and link them to important engineering concepts. Compared with courses in other engineering disciplines, it is commonly observed that undergraduate EEE students often struggle with grasping the content since by nature they are mathematical, abstract, and intangible. Many respond more effectively to visuals rather than mathematical proofs and equations, but often the EEE instructor is limited to presenting static graphs and diagrams. Students are then expected to construct their own mental representations of the concepts, which is often a challenging task. PURPOSE OR GOAL The goal of this pilot study was to investigate the effectiveness of using narrated animations to help EEE students in two cores courses (Signals and Systems, Electric Circuits) understand concepts that are mathematical, abstract, and intangible by nature. The hypothesis was that “bringing these concepts to life” would enable students to better understand and comprehend them. APPROACH OR METHODOLOGY/METHODS In order to create animations that are both high quality and suited for technical content, the study used the manim CE (community edition) Python library, which provided a programmatic way of accurately rendering mathematical and graphical objects. The Signals and Systems course was used in this pilot study. The topics selected were convolution and Fourier series. The videos generated by manim CE were narrated together with inspirational background music and shown to second year students enrolled in the 2305ENG Signals and Systems, after they had covered the concepts in traditional lecture form. The students were then asked to complete a survey to gauge the effectiveness of the animations in helping them understand the concepts. ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES The students found that the animations were helpful to their learning and understanding. They also indicated that the videos clearly showed the transformation from one step to another, which is very important as this shows the value in using the animation to enhance the students learning and understanding. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY Overall, the students seemed to be positive with the structure, design, and targeting of the animations. They also felt that the animations complemented their learning. This was an encouraging result which indicates that the animations will be a benefit for theoretical courses and development of animations should be pursued.

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34th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference

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Engineering education

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So, S; Schwerin, B; Rowlands, D; Espinosa, H; Tadj, T; Busch, A, A pilot study into developing animations for electrical and electronic engineering curriculum, 34th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference, 2023