Department of Electrical Engineering Receives $294,097 Grant from National Science Foundation

Dr. Selahattin Sayil, professor of electrical engineering, along with his project team, has received funding from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program for a 3-year term on improving the quality of electrical engineering online laboratories.

The team includes Dr.Sayil, Professor and Distinguished Faculty Teaching Fellow, Dr. Gleb Tcheslavski, Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair of the Phillip Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Julia Yoo, associate professor of educational leadership and coordinator of the Teacher Leadership Graduate Program. 
Dr. Selahattin Sayil

The project, titled “Promoting Engaged and Active Learning Through Collaborative Online Lab Experiences,” will implement various learning strategies in five electrical engineering courses in order to improve the quality of electrical engineering online labs. These strategies include accomplishing teamwork in online labs, creating a learning community to break down the online isolation, integration of open-ended design experiences into lab work, incorporation of pre-lab simulations and pre-lab video demonstrations. Using active learning lab strategies, the project aims to improve students’ self-reliance, as well as their critical thinking skills and knowledge retention.

“Since we have a very tight integration of online labs in our curriculum in the LU Department of Electrical Engineering, it is imperative that we study the effectiveness of online lab experiences with the goal of improving student success and self-efficacy,” said Dr. Sayil. “Many of our electrical engineering students are experiential learners who learn by doing and acquire a deeper knowledge through hands-on experiences. This should also increase the retention rate for our students.”

The project team will implement high-impact online lab strategies for five electrical engineering courses. The methods applied to expand the online laboratory experience in electrical engineering should be applicable to other STEM disciplines as well. The team believes that the enhanced laboratory experiences gained from this project will contribute to the improvement of multiple ABET student learning outcomes.

The modular format of the labs will allow these enhanced online labs and strategies to be easily adapted to other institutions and disciplines. The project is expected to enrich learning experiences for engineering major students as well as K-12 students and teachers in the STEM field through hands-on lab activities. In addition, the improved labs using “lab-in-a-box” will provide expanded opportunities for outreach activities.