First Advisor

Robert Bass

Date of Publication

Winter 3-14-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering




Electric power systems -- Protection -- Study and teaching (Higher), Curriculum planning, Laboratories -- Design and construction



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 195 pages)


Over the last the last three decades, there has been a significant and documented decrease of power engineering curriculum within U.S. electrical engineering programs. Development of lifelong learners capable of critical and independent thinking is required to replace the large number of upcoming retirees from the industry and to prepare for the engineering challenges new technologies, laws and regulations are bringing to the electrical power system. In response to these challenges, Portland State University redesigned its BSEE and MSECE power engineering programs in order to create a launching pad for successful power engineering careers. A course series on power system protection is part of the requisite curriculum for both programs. Due to the complex and applied nature of this subject, the course features a laboratory component.

This thesis addresses the pedagogical and engineering problems associated with developing power systems protection laboratory curriculum. Laboratory equipment and curriculum design were guided by outcomes defined by ABET EC2000 and specific outcomes defined for the laboratory that we adopted from research commissioned by ABET. Hands-on experience with industry equipment and software enhances classroom-based course curriculum, expanding student understanding of the complexities of the subject of power system protection. Intergroup and intragroup communication is required in the laboratory, as are weekly written reports synthesizing subject material and experimental results. The outcomes of the laboratory are evaluated through a combination of grading rubrics and student participation in individual laboratory assignment surveys.

The laboratory is comprised of three stations consisting of electromechanical (EM) relays and digital relay equipment. The practical experience with industry standard relays types happens in concert with a software-based simulation program. There are three phases of development; Phase I includes the design of the physical laboratory and the procural, or design and fabrication, of necessary equipment. Phase II involves the teaching term of the laboratory and the active assessment. Phase III involves the design and specification of a model-scale laboratory, to be built in future terms, which will provide students with the ability to test power system protection equipment in a physically simulated environment. This model-scale system will also provide a platform for future expansions of the power system protection laboratory in terms of distance protection, generation control, phasor measurement units, and system control schemes.


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