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ECE Teaching Snapshot: Carl Poitras
Over the past several years, Senior Research Associate and Lecturer Carl Poitras has taught and co-taught several different ECE courses including ECE 3030: Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, ECE 3100: Introduction of Probability, ECE 3250: Mathematics of Signals and Systems, and ECE 4300: Lasers and Optoelectronics. This fall he taught ECE 4110: Random Signals in Communications and Signal Processing.
In the spring 2014 semester, Poitras began teaching ECE 3400: ECE Practice and Design, and in spring 2015 implemented changes to the syllabus to include engineering design contests and teamwork components. With David Albonesi, ECE professor and associate director, and under the expert guidance of Bruce Land, senior lecturer, Poitras launched a new hands-on project to make the course more engaging and challenging. Bruce Land worked closely with ECE M.Eng. and undergraduate students Olivia Gustafson, Scott Zhao, Alex Jaus, and Jay Fetter to create a prototype for a maze-mapping robot that eventually evolved into a complex robot with multiple functionalities. In the course, students produce a robot and use design process strategies and teamwork to design a system that meets specific requirements and electrical and computer engineering constraints. The project tests the students’ knowledge, skills and teamwork capabilities.
“This spring’s course was the first to include the robot project, and we learned a lot that will carry over into the future,” said Poitras. “The course was very well received, a huge hit really. The students especially relished the ability to show off their robots during the competition in Duffield Atrium on ECE Day. And they really enjoyed dunking Bruce Land and me in the dunk tank after they competed.”