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2015 December 26

Syllabi for splitting Applied Electronics into two courses

In order to split the Applied Electronics for Bioengineers course into two courses, as I suggested in Considering splitting Applied Electronics course, I need to fill out course approval forms to get the courses approved by the Committee on Educational Policy.  They’ve changed the forms this year, so that there are now three documents needed:

If I were requesting a general-education code for the course, I would also have to fill out one of the thirteen general-education forms (corresponding to the 13 possible general-education codes for a course at UCSC), listed at the bottom of the supplemental sheet.

The supplemental sheet was simplified this year, by pushing all the general-education forms out to separate forms, but the requirement for a course syllabus is new.  Basically, the supplemental sheet asks more or less the same questions as before, rephrased to “where on the course syllabus …?”  The “learning outcomes” question is new, as it reflects a relatively new bureaucratic approach to curriculum design.  The learning outcomes make a lot more sense at the course level than at the degree level, where the administration has been pushing for them.

Here are my first more-or-less complete drafts of my sample syllabi for the split course:

The split course is a pair of 4-credit courses, representing a total time of  about 250 hours (240–263 hours), 140 of which are contact hours (3.5 hours of lecture and 3.5 hours of lab a week).  I’m thinking in terms of MWF lectures (70 minutes each) and TTh labs (105 minutes each).  That should be easier to schedule than the 7-unit BME 101/L these courses will replace, which takes about 220 hours (210–232 hours), 95 of which are contact hours (3.5 hours of lecture and 6 hours of lab a week). The increased contact hours should result in students learning more, as many of our students are not very efficient at learning on their own.

One thing I’ll have to decide is whether to require all bioengineering majors to take both courses, or whether BME 51A is enough for the biomolecular concentration. For the bioelectronics and assistive technology: motor concentrations, both parts are needed both for the content and for the lab experience.  But for the biomolecular and assistive technology: cognitive/perceptual concentrations, the courses are mainly there to teach engineering design practices.  The assistive technology: cognitive/perceptual concentration relies on software courses for design content, and so BME 51A is probably enough for them, but there are very few design courses for the biomolecular concentration, as biomolecular lab work is very slow, and a full-year capstone sequence is barely enough for one iteration of one prototype.

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