Obstacles in Signals and Systems Conceptual Learning

Kathleen E. Wage, John R. Buck, and Cameron H. G. Wright

A quantitative assessment of undergraduate signals and systems students highlights several persistent misconceptions, indicated by students choosing the same wrong answer to a question before and after a signals and systems course. The assessment consists of administering the multiple choice Signals and Systems Concept Inventory as pre-test and a post-test for the course. The SSCI data also show that students' conceptual understanding at the end of continuous time courses is significantly correlated with their understanding at the start of a subsequent discrete time course, but not at the end of the discrete time course. Correlation of SSCI results with grades in prerequisite courses supports the notion that students learn signals and systems better when they have an adequate background in mathematics.

© 2004 IEEE. The article (PDF) appeared in Proceedings of the 3rd IEEE Signal Processing Education Workshop, pp. 58-62, August 2004. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

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