Paper Title
A Gateway to Electrical Engineering: Students Build a Radar System Guided by Early Curriculum Experiential Learning and Just-In-Time Teaching

Undergraduate electrical engineering students typically enter college with limited knowledge of the field or appreciation of what they would be studying. At The Cooper Union, we set out to develop a gateway course that exposes students to the broad field, to instill an understanding and appreciation of their chosen major early in the curriculum. The solution was to introduce a project based course in the sophomore year that employs a combination of just-in-time teaching and experiential learning. The project for the first offering of the course was a coffee can radar system. By focusing on the principle that students should not build a system they do not understand, and by closely coordinating the sequence of lectures with the laboratory tasks, our approach proved to be very successful. We believe this can inform the gateway educational experience in all engineering majors, not just electrical engineering. Index Terms- Engineering Education, Curriculum, Experiential Learning, Just-In-Time Teaching, Team Projects, Radar