Experiences of the implementation of a bring-your-own-device policy in electronics courses
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Engineers’ key skills include experimentation and measurements. Hands-on work drives students to deeper learning and better understanding of engineering cases. However, the establishment of hands-on assignments to curriculum requires more lab and teacher resources than we have in Finnish universities at the moment. Therefore, completely new ways to increase the amount of hands-on work for students, and this way enhance learning and increase study motivation, needs to be developed.
A straightforward approach is to utilize more students’ own time. In practice, this could mean doing hands-on work outside lessons and other teacher-involved learning events. Nowadays there are choices for inexpensive data acquisition devices, which include all the basic measurement instruments needed in electronics in one case. Providing students access to such devices and employing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in electronics courses, measurements and prototyping can be done anywhere and anytime.
In order to increase the amount of hands-on work in the course of studies, and to maintain and even increase the students’ interest in electronics, the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering at Tampere University of Technology in Finland decided to include BYOD assignments in selected Bachelor level courses. Therefore, every student in BSc level Electrical Engineering (EE) and Information Technology (IT) study programs were provided with the chosen data acquisition device – National Instruments (NI) myDAQ. The first implementation of myDAQs was done during the academic year 2014-2015. Now, with the use of own laptops, students are able to use the basic lab equipment and complete the given tasks at home, in normal classroom etc. This arrangement truly facilitates students’ learning process. The course feedback from students after the implementation of myDAQs has been very positive – myDAQs were found to be great.