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Introduction

Problem based learning (PBL) has been generally utilized as a part of the expert improvement of the
wellbeing science courses and medical course. Its promising trademark is further improved by its
execution in other expert courses, for example, those in the administration and leadership [1-3]. It can
be portrayed PBL as an apparatus that can advance the sort of dynamic learning knowledge that
planned instructors ought to leave on amid their underlying educator readiness and experience all
through their expert lives. Hence, PBL approach can be used to improve the level of teaching and
learning at university level [4-6].
In this paper, we present the effect of PBL that has been implemented on selective course at School of
Microelectronic, Universiti Malaysia Perlis.

Signal Analysis Course at SoME , Unimap

The Signal Analysis course is compulsary subject for second year student at SoME, Unimap for
completing the degree. The outcome of the course is given as follows:
I. Ability to reproduce, analyze and solve signal waveforms in analog form.
II. Ability to identify, analyze and solve signals and systems via Continuous Time Fourier Series
and Transform.
III. Ability to identify, analyze and evaluate signals and systems via Z-Transform for analog
filter application.

The lecture with a minimum three-hour per week (for 14 weeks) has been arranged in order to attain
the ourcomes which can be described as in table 1

Study Week Course Content

1-4 Time Domain of Linear Time Invariant

5-8 Fourier Representation of Signals

9-11 Laplace Transform (LT), Z Transform

12-14 Filters

Course design using the PBL approach

Since this is the first case study utilizing PBL approach, it was determined to only 30% of the course
should be incorporated with PBL. The last topic of the subject has been chosen. The duration of the
study is about 4 weeks. In the first meeting, the students has been divided into small groups consisting
4-5 people within each group. Then, the problem/scenario has been introduced followed by discussion
among the groups under the supervision of the selected tutor. Students were then given the
opportunity to investigate further using appropriate resources. The last session was the presentation.
Several important points were outlined:
What do we know?
What do we need to know?
What are the issues?
Where will we find more information?
How to apply the knowledge from the previous chapter to solve the solotion?

Each group was asked to elect a leader and the tutor moved around the room listening to the
discussion of each group and asking questions to help them clarify ideas and think more deeply about
the issues. Lists of internet sites and reference books were provided to the students. The students
were also allowed to interview teachers and experts who can provide perspectives on their problems.
The list of triggers can be list as shown in table 2.

Group Triggers
1 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.2
digital IIR low pass filter with 3-dB cutoff frequency .
Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter.
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
Plot the magnitude response of the filter
2 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.6
digital IIR low pass filter with 4-dB cutoff frequency .
(i) Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
(iv) Plot the magnitude response of the filter
3 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.4
digital IIR low pass filter with 5-dB cutoff frequency .
Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
(iv) Plot the magnitude response of the filter

4 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a


c 0.4
digital IIR low pass filter with 5-dB cutoff frequency .
Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
Plot the magnitude response of the filter
5 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.6
digital IIR low pass filter with 3-dB cutoff frequency .
(i) Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
(iv) Plot the magnitude response of the filter
6 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.8
digital IIR low pass filter with 4-dB cutoff frequency .
Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter.
Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function
Sketch the block diagram of transfer function.
(iv) Plot the magnitude response of the filter. (6 Marks)
7 1. By using an analog filter with a Butterworth response of order 3, design a
c 0.8
digital IIR low pass filter with 2-dB cutoff frequency .
(i) Evaluate the transfer function of the analog filter
(ii) Evaluate the inverse z-transform of the transfer function.
(iii) Sketch the block diagram of transfer function
(iv) Plot the magnitude response of the filter

Finding and Discussion

Adopting PBL approach has proven in developing student to become independent. The students will
independently finding knowledge from various of sources such as internet, library, experienced people
and etc. This will encourage the students to enhance the knowledge beyond the expectation. The
presentation session will encourage the students to speak up and convey the result that has been
achieved. PBL approach makes the students more proactive and innovative in class. It is totatally
different with conventional approach where the students inactive during the class session.
Additionally, the students result in the final show some improvement as shown in table 3.

Table 3 : Examination marks


Final examination of Signal Analysis Course

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5

Highest Mark 20 20 20 20 20

Lowest Mark 4 2 2 2 2

Average Mark 9.5 5.83 6.25 8.29 13.46

The final examination paper for Signal Analysis consists of 5 questions which 1-4 reflect with the
conventional teaching method while question 5 adopts the PBL approach. It clearly seen the average
marks for question 5 shown the highest compared than the others. It prove the success of the PBL
method that been adopt in the teaching and learning process.

Conclusion

In summary, based on the results given in table, it shows a significant increase in final exam question.
It shows the PBL method successfully suited with the philosophy of young generations. The inclusion
of PBL approach in teaching and learning for engineering courses should be recommended.