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A Digital Electronics Course Using Cplds For Manufacturing Engineers

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.36.1 - 9.36.12



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Paper Authors

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Karl Stephan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session No. 1532

A Digital Electronics Course Using CPLDs for Manufacturing Engineers

Karl D. Stephan and Vedaraman Sriraman

Department of Technology, Texas State University-San Marcos San Marcos, Texas 78666

Abstract: The challenge faced by ECE instructors who teach a one-semester digital electronics course in a manufacturing engineering curriculum is to present a useful fraction of the material to students whose primary interest is not electronics. We have developed a course which accomplishes this goal with the use of complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs) and a term project that involves a robot arm. The term project provides an organizing purpose for the presentation of more conventional digital electronics material earlier in the course.


A notable trend in engineering education in recent years is the growth in interdisciplinary degree programs which draw upon a variety of traditional “core” disciplines such as electrical and mechanical engineering. Programs such as biomedical engineering and manufacturing engineering currently account for a growing fraction of the total undergraduate engineering enrollment at many schools. For this reason, there is an increasing need for educational approaches that convey the essence of a traditional discipline to students who are not majors in that discipline. This paper describes an approach to this problem which may be applied in similar situations in a wide variety of disciplines. The basic idea is to involve the students in a project that is drawn from their own interdisciplinary program while showing them the need for knowledge from the traditional discipline that is the subject of the course.

At Texas State University-San Marcos (which was known as Southwest Texas State University until Sept. 1, 2003), the first engineering degree program on campus was initiated in the fall of 2000, a program in manufacturing engineering. For a number of years, Texas State's Department of Technology has offered four-year degrees in industrial technology and engineering technology. As a required part of these programs, a course entitled “Digital Electronics” (TECH 4374) has been taught in a four-credit-hour format of one two-hour lecture and one two-hour lab per week. When we designed the manufacturing engineering curriculum, we decided to reorient this existing digital electronics course toward the needs of the increasing number of manufacturing engineering undergraduates who will take it as a requirement, while keeping it at a level that is accessible to technology students as well.

In 2001 we began a curriculum-improvement project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program. We chose the Digital Electronics course as one of the main targets of our efforts. In this paper we will describe

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Stephan, K. (2004, June), A Digital Electronics Course Using Cplds For Manufacturing Engineers Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14040

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