In the field of electrical and electronics (E&E) technology that is evolving rapidly, the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia emphasizes universities ensure that the expected non-major E&E engineering graduates are fully equipped with the skills to fulfill market needs. However, as a lecturer, I found that my students especially those from Mechanical Engineering backgrounds faced some difficulties to understand the topics taught to them through the methods they are conventionally being delivered.
It was based on the fact that the mapped course contents were impractical and irrelevant to their field which has led to a learning barrier. This situation was further exacerbated by the severe impact of the Covid’19 pandemic which limited the students’ ability to adapt and pay attention to the lesson.
Strengthen Your Fundamentals of Electricity
The subject of the Electronic course offered by the School of Electrical Engineering, UTM for instance, is mainly intended to introduce non-major students to semiconductor devices and basic concepts in analog electronics. Therefore, in order for you to understand the course and perform well in the subject, it is highly recommended that you to enhance your fundamental knowledge.
Why? This is because before you can apply the basic law, theorems, and methods of analysis to solve complex problems related to circuitry, you need to master the definite relationship between the three primary electrical characteristics: current, voltage, and resistance.
Ohm’s law relates current, resistance, and voltage in a simple equation. If we know any of the two main quantities (voltage, current, or resistance) we can use Ohms’s law to calculate the third based on Ohm’s law triangle shown below in Figure 1.
- If you want to know amps: Cover it up with your finger. That leaves Volts/Resistance.
- If you want to know ohms: Cover it up with your finger. That leaves Volts/Amps.
- If you want to know volts: Cover it up with your finger. Since Amps and Ohms are on the same “line” you would have Amps x Ohms
Let’s take a look at the example in Figure 2 on how to apply Ohm’s Law.
What is the voltage for the system below?
When we discuss current, the direction of the current flow needs to be considered. This is a very crucial part of circuit analysis. For instance, the direction of current in Diode; which is the subtopic in SEEU2012/SKEU2012.
An ideal diode
- 2 terminal device
- Act as a switch
- Conducts current only in 1 direction
Conventional current direction and polarity of the voltage across the diode (VD) are shown in Figure 3 as follows:
The direction of the current will indicate the type of diode bias whether it is forward bias or reverse bias. Bias is the use of a DC voltage to establish certain operating conditions for an electronic device. To forward bias a diode, the anode must be more positive than the cathode or LESS NEGATIVE. Meanwhile, to reverse bias in a diode, the anode must be less positive than the cathode or MORE NEGATIVE.
You may refer to Figure 4 to identify the bias type of the diode.
Up to this point, we can conclude that you need to explore other fundamental theories that is important to be used in the circuit analysis. For example Mesh analysis (or the mesh current method). It is a method that is used to solve planar circuits for the currents (and indirectly the voltages) at any place in the electrical circuit. Then, try to explore more on Nodal analysis besides superposition theorems. I believe you may easily understand and catch up on the topic very well once you have concrete fundamentals of electricity.
Here is the recommended textbook for you to refer to in SEEU2012/SKEU2012 subject.
Make a Mind Maps
Mind Maps not only highlight important facts but also show the overall structure of a subject and the relative importance of individual parts of it. They are great when you need to think creatively, and can help you to make new connections between ideas. This is useful when you have problems to solve and helps you to prepare for the exam. Let’s take a look at the example of mind maps that maybe you can refer to.
But thanks to technology, it’s not easier to work, study, or do almost any task wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection. You can use free software like Cmap Tool to create the mind map. empowers users to construct, navigate, share, and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. You may click here to download the software.
Effective Communication Between Lecturer and Students
Usually, the lecturer will create a platform for students to approach lecture to discuss and ask questions. In my case, I prefer to use Telegram. Students are allowed to ask me any questions to enhance their understanding. In some cases, they tend to contact me in the middle of the night. So my dear students, please don’t disturb my sleeping hours, okay? Haha
Based on my observation, most of the time, students don’t speak up in class not because they don’t understand the material, but it is because the students might feel afraid that their questions will make them appear unintelligent to their peers. Therefore, I do believe this platform will help you as my students to communicate with me effectively, discuss your understanding with me to verify the knowledge transferred that has been done during the lecture in the class.
All in all, it’s easy to blame lecturers for poor student performance. But really, the lecturer is just the messenger. We are the ones giving the grades. Those grades are a reflection of the motivation, passion, and determination of you as students.
I wish you all the best and I hope you will put a lot of effort to score this subject!