Lecture-style presentation at the ANTF Symposium 2024
Annual NTF Symposia

Liberate Practical Work Barriers in Engineering Education

Mahmoud Masoud, Panos Lazari, Panos Panagiotou, Antonio Griffo, Raja Toqeer, Henry O’Keeffe , Tom Wray; Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) and Multidisciplinary Engineering Education (MEE) Departments, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield 

Laboratories and practical work are significant parts of STEM education. The COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education to teach laboratories using prepared videos or multimedia, and to some extent, some schools have cancelled laboratory work. However, multimedia commonly does not help students develop process skills, especially in the area of electrical engineering in general and power electronics and electrical machine drives (PEMD) in particular. Additionally, the PEMD industry has a rapidly evolving landscape.  

Accordingly, a team from the University of Sheffield (TUoS) secured an INNOVATE UK-funded engineering education project (Practical Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Drives, PPMED, for All) to liberate practical work barriers, such as cost and accessibility to high-quality teaching equipment in the PEMD field. The presentation given at the ANTF2024 Symposium highlighted the objectives, achievements, and innovative laboratory approaches in this project, as well as the impact on students and national implications.  

The objectives were:  

– To develop a benchtop-sized, cost-effective, yet fully featured system for in-person and remote teaching by TUoS. 

– To develop an online lab facility and equipment lending scheme to expand the reach of the project across the UK and beyond 

– To develop teaching material around industry-focused applications – drones and e-bikes for teaching at TUoS. 

The project outcome is promising, as we introduced, a versatile, low-cost power electronics hardware system to provide practical training to large student cohorts, including through remote access. The modular and accessible design of the PEMD system makes it ideal for teaching power electronics to students across electrical, mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering disciplines. The system has remote accessibility, complementing in-person labs and allowing practical training to be scaled up to reach more learners. 

Mahmoud shared experiences on behalf of the team through a showcase session at #ANTF2024 symposium

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