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Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Simulation in engineering education
Dave Palmer   2/26/2013 2:01:26 PM
Simulation tools in the engineering classroom are a good thing, given the ubiquity of these tools in modern engineering practice.  When I was in school a decade ago, there was minimal coverage of simulation techniques.  In school, finite-element analysis was still considered a specialized topic for graduate students, while in industry, it was already well-established as a regular part of the design process.

While it's good to see students being introduced to simulation tools early on (especially in core courses such as circuit analysis, rather than specialized courses focused on computational methods), it's also important for students to understand the limits of a given simulation.  They need to learn not to believe things just because they see them on a screen.

I hope that the use of MapleSim in this class is not intended to replace a more traditional electronics lab.  It should not be an alternative to building the circuits on a breadboard.  That's an inductive learning approach that has been around for a long time.

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