Common Misunderstandings and Challenges in Learning Gauss’s Law in a Junior Level Electromagnetic Engineering Course

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 716)


Common misunderstandings when learning Gauss’s Law in a college junior level electromagnetic engineering course are identified by observing normal course assessments and conducting one on one student interviews. Additionally, the extent to which students in this course struggle to translate prior mathematics is investigated by codifying student performance on normal assessments using a rubric developed by the authors based on Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Criterion 3 (a) and (e). Five misconceptions are identified, three of which agree with physics educational literature, as well as a need for better scaffolding the translation of calculus II and multidimensional calculus material. Future work and possible intervention strategies are discussed.


ABET Criterion 3 Engineering education Gauss’s Law Misunderstandings 



The authors would like to thank the members and steering committee of the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) program for the 2016–2017 academic year, as well as the participants in the spring 2017 offering of ECE 305. Additionally, the authors would like to thank The Graduate School at Michigan State for their financial support of the FAST program.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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