May 2021

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2021

Volume 38 | Issue 3

Signal processing (SP) is at the very heart of our digital lives, owing to its role as the pivotal enabling technology for advancement across multiple disciplines. Its prominence in modern data science has created a necessity to supply industry, government labs, and academia with graduates who possess relevant SP expertise and are well equipped to deal with the manifold challenges in current and future applications.
In this article, we describe and discuss the design-based approach for signal processing education at the undergraduate level at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney. The electrical engineering (EE) undergraduate curriculum at UNSW Sydney includes three dedicated signal processing courses as well as a design course that involves a major signal processing task.
Signal processing is an engineering discipline known to involve abstract and complex concepts. Curriculum development should be informed by an understanding of the most critical and challenging learning in the field. Threshold concept theory and threshold capability theory provide a framework describing the features of the most critical and challenging learning in any discipline.
The effectiveness of teaching digital signal processing (DSP) can be enhanced by reducing lecture time devoted to theory and increasing emphasis on applications, programming aspects, visualization, and intuitive understanding. An integrated approach to teaching requires instructors to simultaneously teach theory and its applications in storage and processing of audio, speech, and biomedical signals.
Despite the impressive technological strides made over the years, human lives still depend very much on the natural environment. Fortunately, technology can now be used to help address critical environmental concerns in air quality, soil condition, and weather events.

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