In a video interview with Wilson Lee of Tektronix, EE World shows how COVID-19 brought about remote learning, and with it, remote operation of lab equipment at universities.
Learning about electronics engineering without access to test equipment is unthinkable. That’s why universities partner with test-equipment companies to equip learning labs and research labs. One such company is Tektronix. Along with its competitors, Tektronix supplies oscilloscopes, multimeters, power supplies, and RF test equipment to many universities. EE World Spoke with Wilson Lee, who explained how the company works with universities.
Students and researchers use test equipment starting with basic oscilloscopes (Figure 1), moving up to more sophisticated equipment as they progress through their undergraduate and graduate careers and move into industry. Students often need help getting started, which is why Tektronix developed numerous application notes and even a poster showing basic oscilloscope setup (Figure 2). In the video above, Lee explains how students need help with basic activities such as properly using oscilloscope probes.
“Students often need help getting started,” explained Wilson. “They often need help with configuring the equipment, connecting probes, and understanding how probes can affect the signals they want to measure.” To that end, Tektronix provides videos and application notes that students, researchers, and working engineers can use to improve their measurements.
When COVID-19 sent students home, many were attending labs and working on projects. Suddenly, they had little or no access to test equipment. Working engineers faced similar problems. To circumvent the situation, many students were able to get equipment at home or control equipment remotely. Products such as TekScope (Figure 3) let students collect measurement data remotely.
As Wilson notes, Tektronix is working to increase awareness in driving more access for minority serving institutes (MSI), and helping address bias barriers.
In addition to working with associations such as the Inclusive Engineering Consortium (IEC), Tektronix has several employee resource groups who lead an outreach and advocacy effort. These groups include Women in Technology, and Black Excellence Matters. Through these groups, Tektronix employees reach out to minority serving institutions to address their needs. It’s more than just donating equipment, it speaks to deeper engagement, improving access to both technology and industry to prepare students for engineering careers.
Engineering education goes beyond the universities that typically come to mind. As Wilson notes in the video, Tektronix is working to increase awareness in driving more access for the MSI community, helping address bias barriers.