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A First Look At An Internet Enabled Embedded Systems Design Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Embedded Computing

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.38.1 - 10.38.14



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Paper Authors

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J.W. Bruce

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

First Look at an Internet-enabled Embedded Systems Design Course J.W. Bruce and Jordan Goulder Mississippi State University


The proliferation of Internet access has drastically changed the way people do business, recreate, learn, and do their daily tasks. It is widely believed that the Internet and its successors will be called upon to enable interactivity between devices that today are mundane. These interconnected devices are commonly called Internet appliances. Specifically, an Internet appliance is a machine designed for a specific function that also has a built-in Web-enabled computer. Internet appliances include small devices created especially for e-mail and Web surfing, as well as such diverse products as personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones, Web TV, and Web-enabled refrigerators and microwaves.

Mississippi State University’s has recently revised its undergraduate computer engineering (CPE) program with input from alumni and advisory employers. The CPE program will have a focus on embedded computer systems. Embedded systems form a rich application source through which the CPE education can be made relevant. Embedded computer systems are a timely subject that is immediately useful to students in their senior design projects. Furthermore, a large number of our CPE graduates currently use or design embedded computer systems in their jobs. With the availability of low-cost, designer-friendly Internet connectivity, the design course is centered on the design, prototyping, and debugging of an embedded systems for internet appliances. The target application of the first offering is a personal weather station web server.

Evolving from an earlier course on embedded systems that are more traditional, or “free- standing” [1]-[2], this new course relies on cooperative, team-based learning and design, and seamlessly resumes where prerequisite courses ended. Design in the course requires formalized hardware and software design inspections [2]-[4]. The design inspections serve as a convenient time for software product measures to be collected. The quantitative measures document the nature, origin, and other vital characteristics of each design defect and are frequently used in industry [5] [6]. Finally, the design practices described in this paper help students to develop teaming and communication skills that are often neglected by traditional engineering curricula.

1 Introduction

In [1], the author presents a team-based progressive embedded systems design course that, in addition to providing the technical embedded systems knowledge, develops team and communication skills in situations emulative of industry. The course was a success by many accounts; however, student teams abandoned sound design practices in attempt to meet the demanding 16-week “time-to-market” constraint. Team members produced defect-riddled

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Bruce, J. (2005, June), A First Look At An Internet Enabled Embedded Systems Design Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14555

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