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Effectiveness of Teaching and Learning Activities

with Miniproject Development Towards Enhancing

The Undergraduate Engineering Skills

H. Hussin1,2, M.F.M Idros1, F. Saad1,2, N. Khairudin1

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM),40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia,
Integrated Microelectronics Systems and Applications Research Group, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), 40450 Shah Alam,
Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract² Modern education in engineering requires the dynamic. The best method to learn engineering is by
lectures and syllabus to be an effective and innovative. This is in developing an engineering project [1]. Hence, the engineering
the point of view to produce high talented and creative engineers skills can be acquired upon completion of their project [1]±[4].
in providing solutions to the industries and communities. With The engineering skills are very important upon the students
regard to that, a study on the effectiveness of developing
graduation. Technical and skills in human relations are very
miniproject in the Embedded Design and Interfacing course has
been conducted. This study was intended to measure the
important as the engineering profession deals with uncertainty
VWXGHQWV¶ satisfaction on the teaching and learning activities and conflicting demands from communities and industries [5].
implemented throughout the course towards their success in the Another approach is by implementing a problem-based
miniproject and engineering skills development. A survey was learning (PBL) activites. Most previous study indicates that the
distributed to the students taking this course in Semester March PBL is DEOH WR JURZ WKH VWXGHQW¶V HQJLQHHULQJ VNLOO [5][6].
± June 2017 in Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Hence, the implementation of hands on lab session and
Teknologi MARA. It was found that, 60% of the overall students miniproject in engineering course can help the students to
chose the lab session conducted during face-to-face lecture as the nurture their engineering skills to be highly creative,
most effective method of teaching and learning activities that is
imaginative and independent students [7].
able to help them in developing a good miniproject. Other
activites conducted throughout the semester is shown to be II. METHODOLOGY
significant as minimum of 30% of the overall students stated that
the activities are the most effective method. Upon completion of
A. Embedded Design and Interfacing Course (ELE551)
the miniproject, more than 60 students have a thought that they
had develop a very good engineering skills which include The main aim of this research was to evaluate the
planning and organisation skills, hand-eye coordination, ability effectiveness of the teaching and learning activities for the
to undertake detailed and elaborate work, ability to identify, Embedded Design and Interfacing course towards the
analyse and solve problems and enjoy computing and technical successfulness of students developing their miniproject. The
design. A comparative study which analyse the result of Question effectiveness of the miniproject implemented in the course in
3 from Test 1 and Test 2 indicated that, the programming skill preparing the students to be a skillfull engineer was also
for 80% and 44% students from class EE241S6B and EE241M6C
studied. The Embedded Design and Interfacing (ELE551)
respectively obtained higher Test 2 marks as compared to Test 1.
Hence it can be concluded that the miniproject can help to course is offered for Electronic Engineering program at the
HQKDQFHWKHVWXGHQW¶VSURJUDPPing skill. Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi
This course exposes students to the fundamental embedded
Index Terms²Embedded Design; teaching and learning; face-
system hardware and firmware design. The three course
to-face; engineering miniproject; hands on lab session
outcomes based on the syllabus consists of ability to describe
microcontroller and how they are applied in various
I. INTRODUCTION application, ability to explain the architecture, programming
Nowadays, students are exposed to the online resources and language and application of microcontroller and the last one is
able to gather valuable information in understanding or ability to design electronic circuit and controlled by a
enhancing their knowledge with respect to their studies. With microcontroller. The prerequisite for this course is
regard to this, lecturers, syllabus and tools used in the lecture Microprocessor System course.
must be innovative, creative and able to attract the students This research is conducted in the basis of understanding the
attention. In addition, for engineering based education, the VWXGHQWV¶V ability to accomplish the Program Outcome, PO 2
quality of lecture content and activities must be able to be and PO 5 which are intended for this course. According to

978-1-5386-0900-2/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE 12-14 December 2017, The Education University of Hong Kong
2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
Page 175
Engineering Accreditation Council, the PO 2 is to identify, For the online teaching and learning actitivies, the students
formulate, research literature and analyse complex electronic are recommended to watch online videos related to the topics
engineering problems reaching substantiated conclusions, covered during the class. A few Youtube videos were
while PO5 is the ability to create, select and apply appropriate identified by the lecturers and shared during the class as to aid
techniques, resources and modern engineering and IT tools, the students in further understanding on related lecture. [8]±
including prediction and modelling, involving complex [13] are some of the URL links that can facilitate the student.
electrical engineering activities. Therefore, the implementation Besides understanding the lecture, the online materials are also
of this course will involve a face-to-face session, online important in order to help the students to complete their
learning and teaching, and miniproject development. assignment and miniproject work. For example, [14], [15] help
them to do their assignment which integrates the Bluetooth or
WIFI with the Arduino. The assignment that they need to do is
B. Implementation of Teaching and Learning Activities to turn on LED using Bluetooth or WIFI module.
In this course, the teaching and learning activites involves Another important component for teaching and learning
face-to-face lecture, online teaching and learning and actitivies of this course is the development of miniproject. For
development of miniproject. The students must come to the the miniproject development, they need to develop the ioT
class for lecture and conduct their lab works according to the project which utilizes Arduino, sensor, apps, smart phone and
timetable as assigned by the faculty. The face-to-face lecture is bluetooh or WIFI module. The project is developed in a group
still relevance in current engineering education as to ensure of 2 or 3 students. The students are required to provide a
that students can gain an appropriate knowledge as they solution based on the question in Table III. To complete the
conduct their own self-study or miniproject development [6]. miniproject, the students need to prepare a miniproject
The lecture notes together with appropriate lab modules are proposal, present their miniproject proposal, develop the
important as to provide the students a good guidance to ensure project, prepare a prototype, present their miniproject and
that they gain a broader set of knowledge and are able to prepare a technical paper. The actitivies planned for the
produce highly creative and imaginative applications hence miniproject development are actually to ensure that the
able to produce generation of engineers for future challenge students can enhance their research and engineering skills [1],
[7]. Hands on lab session during face-to-face activity also can [3], [16] provided if they are actively involved in the
help the students to understand and be able to gain better miniproject development .
knowledge related to programming course [4]. Table I and
Table II highlight the topics covered during the face-to-face TABLE III. QUESTIONS FOR MINIPROJECT DEVELOPMENT
lecture and topics for lab session respectively. During each lab
No Question
session, the students were given a task to be completed. After Design a temperature control monitoring system in house or
completing each lab session and additional exercise for each 1
plantation system to electricity monitoring purpose
lab session, the students are required to write a short report and Design a system that can alert disable person when someone comes to
record a video for their works. his/her house
Design an automatic and security system for 20 parking spaces in the
3 parking area. The system must be able to tell people about the
TABLE I. CHAPTERS COVERED DURING FACE-TO-FACE availability of the parking space and safe
Environment monitoring is required for healthy life. Design a system
Week Topic 4 to alert or monitor the current condition of carbon monoxide in urban
1-2 Introduction of Microcontroller area
3±4 Programming (C Language) for Arduino A highly demand of healthcare monitoring system is due to awareness
5-7 Sensor and Actuator 5 of self-healthcare. Therefore, design a simple healthcare by
8±9 Control monitoring the heart bit rate or blood pressure
10 ± 11 Timer and Interrupt Ticketing system for bus or LRT need to be more user friendly.
12 Wireless Communication 6 Therefore, apps based ticketing system by using smartphone is
Sometime, making payment need to queue and waste people's time.
Design a self-payment system with security for easier life
TABLE II. LAB SESSION DURING FACE-TO-FACE LECTURE It is difficult for pet owner to go away for a few days as no one can
help to provide food and drink for the pet. Hence, design an automatic
8 water and food feeder for pet which if the water or food less than
1 Output Port Interfacing the system to add water and food at the appropriate amount
2 Multiple Output Port Interfacing
3 Transistor And Motor C. Course Assessment
4 A Single Servo The assessment for the course are based on 40%
5 Piezo Elements coursework and 60% miniproject. There are two components
6 Button Pressing With Pushbuttons
for face-to-face lecture which consists of lecture and hands on
7 Twisting Potentiometers
8 Photo Resistors lab session. The 40% assessment of the coursework comes
9 Temperature Sensor from the two tests which contribute to 20% while another 10 %
10 Controlling Relay For Larger Loads from the lab session and another 10% from assignment. The

978-1-5386-0900-2/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE 12-14 December 2017, The Education University of Hong Kong
2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
Page 176
content of lab session and question for assignment are already March ± June 2017 (N=121), from group EE241E6B,
explained in the previous section. The two tests were EE241M6A, EE241M6C, EE241S6A, EE241S6B and
conducted during week 6 and week 13, where the questions are EE241S6C. The survey is developed as to obtain a student
designed based on the lectures and lab sessions during the face- feedback on the teaching and learning activites that help them
to-face session. Table IV highlights the course outcome and the to develop a good miniproject. The students¶V RSLQLRQ ZHUH
question number tested to measure the outcome of the course also asked in terms of their engineering skill ability upon
together with the program outcome. For the miniproject completing the miniproject. Table VI shows the engineering
assessment, the evaluation are done based on Table V. Total skill obtained upon completing the miniproject. The students
percentage for the miniproject is 60%. As shown in the table, need to rate from excellent, very good, good, weak and poor.
the assessment for the miniproject includes progress, To study on the effectiveness of the miniproject in enhancing
presentation of project and the prototype as well as the the engineering skill with respect to the programming skill,
technical report. Based on the item evaluated, the students are result Test 1 and Test 2 for students in Group EE241S6B and
able to show their communication skill, writing skill and also EE241M6C. The tests marks are compared based on the Q3
their creativity when developing the prototype. This is an PDUNV¶DQGHYDOXDWHG
important activity which can give exposure and benefit to the
students with regard to the work-related skills. By having this TABLE VI. QUESTIONNAIRE ON ENGINEERING SKILLS
course, a good designer and innovative engineer can be
No. Engineering skills
produced. This will enhance their engineering skills, whereby
the university is not just producing engineers with 1. Communication skills
mathematical expertise without real exposure towards the 2. Planning and organisation skills
industrial engineering skills [1]. 3. Hand-eye coordination
In this work, the PO5 is measured based on the question 3
4. The ability to undertake detailed and elaborate work
for the two tests. Result from test 1 will be compared to test 2
for question 3. Question 3 is focusing on the programming skill 5. The ability to identify, analyse and solve problems
in which the students are given a situation to be solved. They 6. To enjoy computing and technical design
need to write the source code based on the Arduino 7. Programming skill
programming to provide a solution based on the situation
given. The reason why the comparison is made is because to
justify if there is significant skill increment in terms of III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
programming skill after the students finish their miniproject.
A. Background of the Students Participated in the Survey
TABLE IV. COURSE OUTCOME, QUESTION NUMBER AND A survey was distributed to six classes with three different
RESPECTIVE PROGRAM OUTCOME lecturers. Fig. 1 shows the percentage of students took part in
No Course Outcome Question PO2 PO5 the survey. The highest percentage students who took part are
Ability to describe microcontroller and from the class EE241S6B and EE241M6C. Therefore, the
1 how they are applied in various Q1 ¥ results for Question 3 in Test 1 and Test 2 will be analysed
Ability to explain the architecture,
based on these two classes.
2 programming language and application Q2 ¥
of microcontroller
Ability to design electronic circuit and
3 Q3 ¥
controlled by microcontroller


Part Actitivities Percentage
Presentation 40
B. 30%
Product / Prototype Evaluation 60
C. Mini Project Report Evaluation 20 20%

D. The Survey, Participants and Scope of Study Fig. 1. Percentage of students from each class take part in the survey
The participants for this research are the semester six
students in the undergraduate program in the Electronic
Engineering of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. There are Fig. 2a and 2b show the education background for the overall
121 VWXGHQWVZKRWRRNWKH³(PEHGGHG'HVLJQDQG,QWHUIDFLQJ´ students participated in the survey and the total students from
course completed the survey. The students were in semester class EE241S6B and EE241M6C respectively. For Fig. 2a, the
highest percentage is 42% from Diploma holder UiTM

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2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
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Dungun, followed by Diploma holder UiTM Penang, Pasir miniproject proposal, technical paper preparation, video and
Gudang and Matriculation KPT which contribute to 14% each. miniproject proposal presentation.
7% from Diploma holder UiTM Sarawak while 6% from
Matriculation UiTM. For Fig. 2b, the highest percentage which
is 49% from the two classes are also from Diploma holder
UiTM Dungun. The relationship between the students
performances and their education background will be studied
in terms of their programming skills and ability to work
independently based on students in class EE241S6B and
EE241M6C. The correlation between the students major and
ability to increase engineering skills and work independently
will be studied. Class EE241S6B is majoring in System
Engineering while class EE241M6C is majoring in
Communication Engineering.

effectiveness of teaching and learning activities

We extract the percentage of the most effective method

chose by the students as shown in Fig. 4. The most effective
method chosen by 60% of the overall students is the lab
session. More than 50% of the overall students think that the
Internet youtube is the most effective method to complete their
miniproject successfully. 45% of the students choose IOT
assignment and internet online tutorial as the most effective
method which help them to develop their miniproject. More
than 30% of the overall students specify that the most effective
(a) methods for other teaching and learning activities implemented
throughout the course which signify that the activites are
relevance with their needs.

Fig. 2. a) Percentage background of overall students take part in the survey b)
Percentage background of students from class EE241S6B and EE241M6C
Fig. 4. Analysis based on the most effective method in teaching and learning
take part in the survey.
activities for this course.

B. Students Perception on the Effectiveness of the Teaching C. Students Perception on the Effectiveness of the Miniproject
and Learning activities in developing the miniproject Implementation in the Course towards their Development
To investigate the effectiveness of the teaching and of Engineering Skills
learning activities implemented in the course, the results from
the questionnaire distributed to the students is shown in Fig. 3. Development of miniproject is well-known to be as one of
The teaching and learning activities listed in the figures consist the education method to increase the capability of students
of lab session, internet Youtube, IOT assignment, internet work-skill [1], [3]. Hence, as VKRZQ LQ )LJ  WKH VWXGHQWV¶s
online tutorial, final miniproject presentation, lecture, perception toward this course implementation is obtained. It
shows that 94% of the overall students agree that this course

978-1-5386-0900-2/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE 12-14 December 2017, The Education University of Hong Kong
2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
Page 178
can train them to be a good engineer. Only 6% of the students D. Effect of teaching and learning activities on the
are not sure if this course can train them to be a good engineer. programming skill students in Class EE241S6B and
Based on the results in Section C, there are 4% of students
still think that they acquire weak programming skill upon
completion of the miniproject. 16% students think that they
have an excellent programming skill and 40% of the students
think that they acquire a very good programming skill. In total,
more than 50% students are able to enhance their programming
skill. As the question 3 in Test 1 and Test 2 focusing on their
ability to write an Arduino programming code as for solution to
the problem, the marks obtained during Test 1 and Test 2 are
extracted and analysed. Fig. 7 shows the percentage difference
of the marks from Test 1 and Test 2 that indicates an increase,
decrease or unchange upon completion of the miniproject.
can train them to be a good engineer. Based on the results, both classes shows more students
obtained better marks upon completion of the miniproject.
)LJ  VKRZV WKH VWXGHQWV¶ SHUFHSWLRQ WRZDUG WKHLU About 80% and 44% students from class EE241S6B and
development of engineering skills upon completion the EE241M6C respectively obtain higher Test 2 marks as
miniproject work. The questions on the engineering skills are compared to Test 1. 37% students from class EE241M6C
as shown in Table VI. More than 20 students think that they obtained lower Test 2 marks as compared to Test 1 marks and
have develop excellent engineering skills except the only 13% students from class EE241S6B obtained lower Test 2
programming skill. Only 19 students think that they develop marks as compared to Test 1 marks. In general, more students
excellent programming skill. For all the engineering skills obtained higher Test 2 than Test 1 from class EE241S6B as
except the communication and programming skill, more than compared to class EE241M6C. While more students obtained
60 students think that they have develop a very good less Test 2 marks than Test 1 from class EE241M6C as
engineering skills. 58 students think that they develop a very compared to class EE241S6B. Hence, we can conclude that the
good communication skill while only 49 students think that students majoring in System engineering have better
they have develop a very good programming skill. About 5 programming skill as compared to the students majoring in
students think that they have weak programming skill. Based Communication Engineering because they get more exposure
on the results, the programming skill needs to be improved to programming subject during their study.
and more courses related to the programming and Another interesting data that we correlate between the
development of project should be given to the students. The students in both classes who took part in the survey with
method to teach programming needs to be enhanced and respect to their education background; 100% students from
effective as to ensure the students are able to obtain a good Diploma Engineering in Penang, Pasir Gudang and Sarawak
skill of programming. In [4], [2] they describe the methods in obtained Test 2 marks higher than Test 1. About 60% students
teaching programming to the engineering students which from Diploma Engineering in Dungun obtained higher marks
involves the miniproject and hands on lab session. for Test 2 as compared to Test 1 and another 40% obtained less
marks for Test 2 as compared to Test 1. However, for
Matriculation students from KPT, only 25% increased and the
remaining 75% unchanged. For Matriculation UiTM, 100%
unchanged which shows no improvement with regard to the
programming skill upon the completion of miniproject. Noted
that, the students that obtained unchange for their results have
not obtained full marks for that particular question. We can
conclude that the students with diploma education background
have better understanding as compared to matriculation
education background. This is most probably the ex-diploma
students had the experience of using Arduino and had more
exposure of the programming course during their previous
Fig. 6. Response to questions reflecting WKHVWXGHQW¶VYLHZRQWKH study.
development of their engineering skills

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2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
Page 179
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EE241S6B and EE241M6C
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Fig. 8. Percentage Test 2 compared to Test 1 for Question 3 for class
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development in this course. They are also satisfied with the
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implementation. Hands on lab session in face-to-face H[SODLQV´  >2QOLQH@ $YDLODEOH
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Management and Innovation (IRMI) UiTM and Ministry (63´  >2QOLQH@ $YDLODEOH
of Higher Education for the financial supports. This
research work is conducted at the Faculty of Electrical Humidity-Monitor-With-ESP/.
Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), [15] 0 , RI 7HFKQRORJ\ ³7XWRULDOV IRU $SS ,QYHQWRU´ Creative
Malaysia under the support the ARAS Grant 600- Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, 2000.
RMI/DANA 5/3/ARAS (18/2015). [Online]. Available:
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[1] 90XUUD\60HPEHUDQG&0DWVXQR³5HVHDUFK6NLOOVDQG experiences link to nontechnical skill development for African-
Conference Papers as Part of the Undergraduate Engineering American engineers: Communication, teamwork,
3URJUDPV´Sp. 96±101, 2016. professionalism, lifelong learning, and reflective behavior
[2] $ 6XOLPDQ DQG 6 1D]HUL ³7KH HIIHFWLYHQHVV RI WHDFKLQJ DQG VNLOOV´ Proc. - Front. Educ. Conf. FIE, vol. 2015±Febru, no.

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2017 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE)
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