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Enhancing Students’ Lab Experiences using Simulink-based Pre-Labs of Corresponding Hardware-based Labs
This paper describes a novel instructional technique that enhances students’ interests and lab experiences when Simulink-based pre-laboratory exercises are introduced corresponding to every hardware-based lab in analog and digital communication systems. Analog and digital communication systems course is always considered one of the most difficult course in the curriculum of electrical engineering due to rigorous mathematics and lack of signals’ visualizations. This is a 4-credit course in our university and offered to junior/senior level students with 3 lecture hours and 3 lab hours. The communication systems laboratory consists of TIMS system from Emona Technologies which is based on modules. Students always find difficulty to visualize signals simultaneously at various stages in a communication system as well as feel fear to use hardware equipment, which eventually limits students’ curiosity and creativity in the lab. Thus, we integrate Simulink-based pre-laboratory exercises of each corresponding hardware-based lab experiment. We collected feedback from students which confirms that these pre-lab exercises successfully improved the effectiveness of lab experiment.