It is widely recognized and accepted that the first electronics laboratory experiences for Engineering and Engineering Technology students are critical to establish good laboratory practices, develop their interest and curiosity in the subjects being taught and overcome the sense of fear that some students might have to use electronic instrumentation. This paper examines how two institutions, one in the United States, Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre Campus (PSU-WB) and the other one overseas, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain (UPC) address the contents and the structure for a freshman electronics laboratory course. The traditional approach for an electronics laboratory course is based on making students to build different electrical circuits with more or less help from the workbook or the instructor in order to verify the concepts explained during the lectures. Newly developed approaches take other factors into consideration to increase the student's interest and to facilitate the learning process. Some of the issues explored in this paper include: How to incorporate non-traditional support material such as catalogs and data-sheets into the classrooms, the integration of several experiments into mini-projects, the integration of measurement science into the lab work, and to stress the importance of not only designing and building a circuit that works according to the specifications, but also the need for the student to sell his or her product to a potential customer, in this case the instructor. All these issues will be examined at the light of the experiences at both institutions.
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