Enhancing the undergraduate design experience with Surface Mount soldering and Printed Circuit Board techniques
In 2006, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University rolled out extensive revisions to the undergraduate curriculum. One of the overarching goals of the curriculum reform was to provide students with practical experiences solving realistic challenges from their freshman introductory course through their senior design course. As a direct result of these curricular modifications, goal-oriented and design-focused projects have become the norm, rather than the exception. Within a year of the reform, students taking courses as part of the revised curriculum were designing projects using the very latest available integrated circuits and software. As student projects increased in sophistication, a growing need for state-of-the-art Surface Mount Technology (SMT) facilities and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etching capabilities was recognized. To support these projects, an SMT facility with PCB etching capability was developed. The use of SMT and PCB etching techniques enables students to pursue much more complex and creative design projects using current, industry-standard technology. The introduction of SMT/PCB facilities has had a significant impact across the entire undergraduate curriculum, from sophomore year core courses through senior design projects, and has improved the overall educational experience and outcomes. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2010.
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