With our Pre-University STEM program, through interactive workshops and final competition, students learn to work in a team, exchange ideas, learn to quickly identify and solve a problem and contribute to the final result - the practical implementation of the project. The program is realized in cooperation with the local STEM institutions (University of Nis, Faculty of Electronic Engineering (FEE-UNI), The Center for the Promotion of Science (CPS), Science clubs in Nis and Leskovac).
01. The first meeting of the Organizing team
23. 08. 2021. On Monday, August 23, 2021, the first meeting of the organizing team at the Faculty of Electronic Engineering was arranged. A detailed division of work and responsibilities has been made. Also, the work plan and activities were discussed. The possibilities of realization of all project activities and how the epidemic will affect them were considered.
02. The secondary schools were contacted for possible collaboration
23. 08. -03. 09. 2021. From Wednesday, August 23, to Friday, September 3, 2021, contact was established with the high school principals. The four high schools were contacted for possible collaboration: Electrical engineering school “Mija Stanimirovic” Nis, Electrical Engineering School "Nikola Tesla" Nis, Grammar school “Bora Stankovic” Nis, Technical school “Rade Metalac” Leskovac and Technical school from Vlasotince. The project implementation plan was presented to the schools.
03. The principals have appointed teachers
06. 09. 2021. On Monday, September 6, 2021, school principals have appointed teachers in charge of assisting in the implementation of part of the project in schools. The project was promoted to these teachers and interested students. The concept of teaching is explained, the advantages of additional training and activities in such projects are presented.
04. The postponing
08. 09. 2021. From Wednesday, September 8, 2021, the organizing team decided to postpone the start date of the STEM project for the end of the month due to the negative epidemiological situation, as well as legal obstacles.
05. A new information
30. 09. 2021. On Thursday, September 30, 2021, a new meeting was organized with high school professors and students. It was explained how the workshops would be applied, the frequency and dynamics of learning were additionally clarified. The students were very interested in this topic, asking questions, and giving suggestions on what they would like to do.
06. The first three workshops will be held online
04. 10. 2021. On Monday, October 4, 2021, the organizing team prepared another, new meeting at which the details of the project will be agreed upon. As the epidemiological situation is still not the most favorable it was decided to hold the first three workshops online. These are introductory workshops so it could be interesting for students to see the use of different software tools.
07. We are starting small
08. 10. 2021. On Friday, October 8, 2021, at 8 PM the introductory STEM workshop was held. The number of participants was 60. Firstly, the students got the most important information about the project. What the STEM acronym means and who are the organizers. Most of them heard about the IEEE organization for the first time, its use, goals, and projects. Using the ThinkerCad program, some basic circuit was made to analyze simple things.
08. The first online workshop
11. 10. 2021. On Monday, October 11, 2021, at 8 PM we started the first online workshop The main goal of the class was that students master the terms of basic electronics. It was shown how different colors were used for resistor’s nomenclature, a very good website was presented, http://resisto.rs/, for training. Also, it was explained what the tolerance means, and how resistors should be connected if there is a need for serial and parallel connection. Students were introduced to some examples of resistors, such as photoresistors, PTC and NTC resistors, trimmers, and nonlinear resistance potentiometers. The voltage divider and multimeter, their use, connection to the protoboard, and useful options were explained. The students were very active and interested in giving lectures.
09. The second online workshop
13. 10. 2021. On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the second online workshop. The goal of the second class was to introduce the students to the new tool, the LT Spice XVII simulator. This simulator is very suitable for beginners because it is simple to do a simulation of most circuits. The first task was to understand what the options and possibilities of this program are. After that, some basic circuits were drowned, and students’ assignment was to describe them by mathematical equations and to calculate the proper values. After that, they needed to work on the realization of this circuit in the simulator. After comparing the results of both works, their comments were very positive, and students said that they will use this simulator for the check. In the second part of the workshop, the emphasis was on LED (Light Emitting Diode) diodes. It was shown how to use the multimeter in the circuit where it is necessary to determine the current and the voltage.
10. The third online workshop
15. 10. 2021. On Friday, October 15, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the third online workshop. In the beginning, students were asked if they had any questions about the homework which they go had been given at the previous workshop. No one had a problem, so students started with the next chapter. The first new task for them was to understand how the push-button (switch) works and what his role is. After that, their next task was to learn the logical gates. Students started with AND, OR, XOR, Not, and their truth tables. After the theoretical part, the new program, Logisim was presented. Some basic combinations with these digital gates were performed, pull-up and pull-down resistors were explained. By the end of the workshop, commercial integrated circuits were analyzed, which are combinations of one or more components learned in this term.
11. The fourth online workshop
18. 10. 2021. On Monday, October 18, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the fourth online workshop. This was the first time that the Arduino platform was presented to students. The basic thing related to the microcontroller was discussed, it was explained what the input and output pins are, but the difference between the analog and digital pins were also analyzed. The students were very active, they had questions about pins and the software that was used. The second part of the workshop was dedicated to basic circuits for LED fleshing simulation. The first step was to form the circuit in ThinkerCad. The red LED diode and 220 ohm resistor were connected to the Arduino and the corresponding program was written. The students had questions about the duration of the “delay” command, and it was explained in detail. Students were very interested in this topic and showed great interest in the next workshop.
12. The technical meeting
19. 10. 2021. On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 12 PM a technical meeting of the Organizing Committee was held. All members were present. The main topic was the organization of workshops in live. The first major obstacle was the Covid-19 pandemic, so there was a delay of 20 days in the realization of live workshops. The number of infected has dropped, so the situation is much more favorable for workshops with hands-on realization. The first task was to prepare the material for the workshop and to decide what the student’s first task would be. The Organizing Committee made the decision that it would be interesting for students if the live workshops are similar to online workshops. The students were in some way prepared for workshops, and they were able to compare the results from simulations with results from practical realization. Another important task was to prepare material for the quiz, which will be held on Friday. The relevant questions were asked. There were some theoretical and practical questions, some questions were organized to find the intruders, and some questions needed to be answered textually. After all the tasks have been completed, the meeting is over.
13. The meeting with IEEE Regional Student Representative Theodoros Chatzinikolau
19. 10. 2021. On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 15 PM the meeting was held by prof. dr Danijel Dankovic which was attended by the IEEE Regional Student Representative Theodoros Chatzinikolau. Firstly, some historic moments of Faculty were presented, the entire capacity of infrastructure was discussed, and also the laboratories and equipment were shown. Among others, the Department of Microelectronics was presented in detail. Some basic things such as a number of students, where they work after graduation but also, which activities, workshops, and conferences are covered by the staff of the Department. The most important parts of the MIEL and the IEEESTEC conferences, the best realized project, and awards were shown. The guest of our Chapter, Theodoros from the IEEE Greece Section was delighted with all the activities and wished a lot of success in organizing new ones.
14. The fifth online workshop
20. 10. 2021. On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the fifth online workshop. The first task was to make the basic circuit from two resistors, an LED diode, and a push-button with Arduino platform in Thinker Cad. Some of the expert concepts they learned in the previous workshop were updated. The mathematical equations that describe the current flow and why the value of the resistor is important and what is its influence on the light intensity are discussed. After that, the code for this simulation was written. The second task was to update this project logic and two changes in the role of the push-button. So, the circuit was originally designed for the LED to work only when a button is pressed. Now, the task is to change the state of the LED with each click. The final task was to use the potentiometer to change the value of voltage and basically change the light intensity of the diode. In the end, some comments and instructions about tomorrow's first live workshop were mentioned.
15. The first live workshop
21. 10. 2021. On Thursday, October 21, 2021, at 11 AM, teachers, and associates of the Faculty of Electronics organized the first workshops for participants in the STEM program. The participants in the first workshop were students of the second and third year of the technical school "Nikola Tesla" from Nis. As special guests, the workshop was attended by representatives of the IEEE Student Branch from Slovenia, Eva Boneš, and the IEEE Student Branch from Belgium, Olivier Leblanc, as well as the IEEE Regional Student Representative, Theodoros Chatzinikolau. The first workshop was attended by 15 participants in order to respect the measures prescribed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first project that the students had the opportunity to do was the realization of traffic lights and similar simpler systems using the Arduino platform. First, the mathematical relations that represent the basis were explained, and after that, the participants started the realization of the project. As there were no laboratory classes for almost two years, they were very interested in the work and realization of projects. As the students had no previous experience, during the workshops, a protoboard was used for the purpose of realizing simpler electrical circuits to prepare the students for future work with the Adruino platform.
16. The second live workshop
21. 10. 2021. On Thursday, October 21, 2021, at 4 PM, teachers, and associates of the Faculty of Electronics organized the second workshop for participants in the STEM program. The participants in the second workshop were students of the students of the second grade of the high school "Bora Stanković" from Niš. As special guests, the workshop was attended by representatives of the IEEE Student Branch from Slovenia, Eva Boneš, and the IEEE Student Branch from Belgium, Olivier Leblanc, as well as the IEEE Regional Student Representative, Theodoros Chatzinikolau. The second workshop was attended by 15 participants in order to respect the measures prescribed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first workshop was dedicated to basic electronics because these students did not have the opportunity to work with electronic components. First, the basic circuit with LED diodes and resistors was implemented in various forms, with a different number of components. Calculations for these basic circuits were also made. All tasks were made in order to prepare the students for their first Arduino workshop.
17. The sixth online workshop - Quiz
22. 10. 2021. On Friday, October 22, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the sixth online workshop. This term was reserved for the quiz. In the beginning, the roles were explained, and 30 minutes were given to solve all 30 problems. After the set time has expired, the right answers were explained. One of the most difficult questions for students was e.g. what determines the color with which the LED lights up; which of the symbols represents the logic circuit AND. Also, in some questions, the task was to calculate the value of the diode throwing current. So, some students made mathematical mistakes, but after a detailed explanation, they understand where their mistakes were. A very tricky question for students was: The mouse cut the wire. In order for the diode to light up again, we need to connect the interrupts with, so the answers offered were - rubber, copper, iron, plastic. After all answered questions, the meeting had ended.
18. The seventh online workshop
25. 10. 2021. On Monday, October 25, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the seventh online workshop. The main goal of this workshop is to realize the use of photoresistor and how to connect it with the Arduino platform. Also, the main part was done using the ThinkerCad program. First, the circuit was drawn, and important mathematical formulas were written. After calculations, the realization of the project started. After connecting all the components and writing the code, a small problem arose. So, the resistor was too big to change the LED brightness, and it was replaced with the smaller one. The second task was to make a circuit with the implementation of a piezo buzzer. The circuit had two push-buttons, two resistors, wires, and a buzzer. After implementing the code, the simulation worked very well.
19. The eighth online workshop
27. 10. 2021. On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the eighth online workshop. The aim of this workshop was to get acquainted with the way of writing a scientific paper. Each part was explained in detail. It was clarified how to determine who should be the first author, how to define abstract, and what is the most important, how to start writing the paper. The students had questions about the introduction, for example how long and extensive it should be, how many pictures the paper should have. But the hardest part was to understand the part about references. It is something new what they haven’t met. After explaining the whole procedure, the peer review process was discussed. What means review, how and why it is done. Students had questions about how detailed descriptions of modules, components, and schematics should be. And usually, how long they need to write a paper. After all the answers, the meeting was over.
20. The third live workshop
28. 10. 2021. On Thursday, October 28, 2021, teachers, and associates of the Faculty of Electronics organized the first workshops for participants from technical high school “Mija Stanimirovic”. The students were very pleased that they are at the faculty, many of them had never visited this facility, so many things were completely new for them. After they had explored the Innovation Center of the Faculty, the workshop started. The goal was to realize the traffic lights using the Arduino platform. First, the basic things were done, such as the implementation of push-buttons, diodes, resistors. Also, there were some difficulties with the code, the way of thinking, how to spot the mistake on the protoboard. After completing all tasks for that workshop, students sad that they are very motivated to work even harder for Conference’s projects.
21. The fourth live workshop
03. 11. 2021. On Wednesday, November 03, 2021, at 12 PM the group from technical school “Mija Stanimirovic” started with the workshop about the realization of their project at the Faculty of Electronic Engineering. The students wanted to make a traffic light with an additional part for pedestrians. For the project, they needed the LED diodes, push-buttons, resistors, protoboard, connectors, and the main part is the Arduino platform. The simulation in the Thinker Cad was perfectly done, and after that, the realization on protoboard started. Also, that part was done without any problems. The code for Arduino also was made entirely by the knowledge acquired in lectures. It is interesting that students will make 3D models for traffic lights, and it will be part of their project. Using the knowledge from the eighth online workshop, students will prepare the paper for publication at the conference.
22. The fifth live workshop
03. 11. 2021. On Wednesday, November 03, 2021, at 5 PM the group from grammar school “Bora Stankovic” started with the workshop about the realization of their project at the Faculty of Electronic Engineering. Their idea was to realize several different binary adders. Mostly ideas they already had before they came at the faculty. After the theoretical part and mathematical relations, students started the practical realization. They used 4 switches, pull-up resistors, and 3 LED diodes. The idea and realization seem to be easy for realization, this project requires knowledge from all workshops. After practical realization and writing the software, students started with preparing the scientific paper. For each part of the paper, they made what it would look like, and from what would it consist of. After making a plan for all parts of the paper, students finished the workshop.
23. The sixth live workshop
04. 11. 2021. On Thursday, November 04, 2021, at 12 PM the group from technical high school “Mija Stanimirovic” started practical realization of their project. All students wanted to know more about RFID, so they decided that it should be their project. The paper presents a prototype of a system for unlocking a lock using RFID technology. The system is based on Arduino, uses a RIDM6300 RFID module with 125 kHz RFID tags and a servo motor to control the lock. Also, the software was completed, and the prototype worked. In order to prepare the paper, students began to explore the principle of operation of the RFID system and UART communication. The students wrote what they plan to describe in each part of the paper and agreed on who will write about what. After the division of tasks, the workshop was over.
24. The seventh live workshop
04. 11. 2021. On Thursday, November 04, 2021, at 5 PM the group from grammar school “Bora Stankovic” came to prepare their project for the conference. Their task was to realize a smart home. They used a photoresistor, a temperature sensor, an LCD display, a gas sensor, piezo buzzers, an ultrasonic sensor, a switch. Everything was connected and realized on the Arduino platform. Before students started practical realization, they prepared the ThinkerCad simulation and the code for the Arduino was also ready. All pins on the platform were used. This project was one of the most complex, but the students successfully completed it. They created the concept of writing the paper and what every part will consist of. After all preparations, the workshop was completed.
25. The eighth live workshop
04. 11. 2021. On Thursday, November 04, 2021, at 5 PM the second group from grammar school “Bora Stankovic” came to prepare their project for the conference. The main component in their work was the fan. There is a temperature sensor, a DC motor with a propeller, and an LCD display. Before the practical realization, the simulation was prepared in ThinkerCad, and software implementation was finished. After realization on protoboard, the students started preparing the paper. They finished one part on the spot, and for other parts of the paper, they made a plan and the deadline by which everything should be finished. After all preparations, the workshop was over.
26. The ninth online workshop - 3D modeling
17. 11. 2021. On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 8 PM we started with the ninth online workshop. The aim of this workshop was to develop knowledge and skills about 3D printing and software used for preparing the models. At the beginning, the roots of developing of 3D technologies are presented. How technology has advanced, and which scientists have been most responsible for development. Companies engaged in the production of printers were also presented. Some modern models were analyzed, and very important parts of the 3D printers were examined. Different qualities of plastic were discussed and why support is needed for the realization of the model. Finally, some popular sites for finding models are analyzed. Students were very interested in this topic because 3D printing is very practical and in great expansion in recent years.
27. Awarding diplomas
17. 11. – 19. 11. 2021. From Wednesday, November 17, to Friday November 19, 2021, the awarding of diplomas was carried out in all schools that participated in the STEM project. The students who were the best on the quiz received well-deserved prizes. Among other things, they were given various promotional materials (caps, thermo cups, writing pads) as well as examples of proceedings from previous conferences. It is a good stimulation for students who are at the beginning of their career. To continue to work and improve their knowledge in the field of electronics. Surveys were conducted in all schools, to see if participants are satisfied with the implementation of the project, as well as with the acquired knowledge. It was also useful for them to hear how to make presentations about their projects and works, what is important and what should be emphasized. In these three days, all five schools were visited, Electrical Engineering School "Nikola Tesla" Nis, Technical school “Rade Metalac” Leskovac and Technical school Vlasotince and electrical engineering school “Mija Stanimirovic” Nis and Grammar school “Bora Stankovic” Nis.
28. The ninth live workshop
18. 11. 2021. On Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 12 PM to 2 PM the ninth live workshop was held in Technical school Vlasotince. The goal for this hands-on workshop was to combine the basic electronic components and to learn how to control them throw the Arduino platform. The participants in this workshop were first, second, third and fourth grade students. In two hours, students worked on basic circuits for LED blinking, and the software for its management. After that, the realization of traffic light was carried out. In the end, a survey was conducted, and results were very positive. The students said that this way of interactive learning is the best and that they learn the most from it.
29. The tenth online workshop - Quiz
19. 11. 2021. On Friday, November 19, 2021, from 8 PM we started with the tenth online workshop. The aim was to check the knowledge of students acquired during the whole project. The students were very motivated to show their knowledge and everything they learned. The results are much better then for the first Quiz, the best participants will receive the appropriate prizes. The student’s comments were that they are satisfied with everything they saw, learned, and practiced.
30. IEEESTEC 14th Student projects conference
25.11.2021. The fourteenth student conference, "IEEESTEC 14th Student projects conference", was held on November 25, 2021. Since the whole world was hit by a difficult situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this year the conference was held online on the IEEESTEC conference website (http://ieee.elfak.ni.ac.rs/). The conference was organized by the student branch of IEEE SB Nis, EESTEC LC Nis, and the Faculty of Electronics in Nis, in cooperation with IEEE Serbia and Montenegro Section, IEEE Electron Devices / Solid-State Circuits Chapter, Computational Intelligence Chapter and IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Chapter, with the support of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and of Arts (SASA), as well as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.
The total number of received papers is 70 (in the field of: electronics, microelectronics, telecommunications, automatics, power engineering, informatics, physics, student mobility, etc.). All papers passed the review phase, with a minimum of three reviews being provided for each paper. In the review process, 37 professors and teaching assistants of the Faculty of Electronic Engineering in Niš helped us. Based on the received papers, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Niš published the “IEEESTEC 14th Student projects conference”, ISBN: 978-86-6125-242-6. Editors of the Proceedings are prof. Dr Vera Marković, prof. Dr Danijel Danković, prof. Dr Zlatica Marinković, Miloš Marjanović and Biljana Stošić.
Since this year the entire organization of the conference was presented on the website of the IEEESTEC conference, the opening ceremony and the entire program was led by the vice president of the conference Miloš Marjanović and president of this conference prof. Dr. Danijel Dankovic. All participants had the opportunity to present their work online, through a video presentation they recorded.