Introducing Autonomy in an Embedded Systems Course Project

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Rover, Diane
Fila, Nicholas
Jones, Phillip
Major Professor
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Mina, Mani
Teaching Professor
Research Projects
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dates of Existence

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

Related Units

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Industrial Design
The Department of Industrial Design seeks to teach students to tap creativity for the design of products, systems or services that meet commercial objectives in business and industry. The Industrial Design Program was established in the Department of Art and Design in 2010. In 2012, the Department of Industrial Design was created.
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This Research-to-Practice Full Paper presents the redesign of a course project to promote student professional formation in engineering in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Iowa State University. This is part of a larger effort to redesign core courses in the sophomore and junior years through a collaborative instructional model and pedagogical approaches that promote professional formation. A required sophomore course on embedded computer systems has been assessed and revised over multiple semesters. The redesign of the project was initiated with the purpose of promoting student professional formation, interest, autonomy and innovation, and it was undertaken using a collaborative process. This paper describes the course, final project, redesign process, assessment, results and future work. Several conclusions from the research may be useful to other educators. A small change to the course project yielded positive effects in interest and autonomy and may influence longer term effects of the project. There was evidence of difference in engagement with the project. The difference observed was not only due to option selected by students but why students selected the option.


This is a manuscript of a proceeding published as Rover, Diane T., Nicholas D. Fila, Phillip H. Jones, and Mani Mina. "Introducing Autonomy in an Embedded Systems Course Project." In 2020 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (2020). DOI: 10.1109/FIE44824.2020.9274097. Posted with permission.

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2020