June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
NSF Grantees Poster Session
24.87.1 - 24.87.14
The goal of the Progressive Learning Platform (PLP) pilot project is to teach students how theunderlying hardware building blocks relate to organization and architecture ofmicroprocessors. PLP helps students link computer engineering concepts—logic design,microprocessors, computer architecture, embedded systems, compilers, operating systems, andhigh-level language constructs—in order to be able to construct a deeper understanding of the fieldof computer engineering. This deeper/richer understanding is expected to improve theirknowledge retention, and their ability to assimilate new knowledge when they enter theworkforce. PLP is based on the theoretical framework of conceptual blending—how human beingssynthesize new knowledge by assimilating and blending what they already know. Since someaspects of this framework are similar to constructivism, PLP-based courses utilize project-basedlearning, collaborative learning, and an emphasis on students being able to articulate designdecisions. To test the effectiveness of PLP pre/post tests in a number of courses served as quantitativedata while qualitative results were obtained from linguistic analysis of student reflective essays andvideo transcript of students from lab sessions, and through focus group interviews. The qualitativemethods allowed us to stand in the students’ shoes and provided deep insights into how theyacquired procedural and conceptual knowledge. Our results show that students viewed PLP-basedcourse projects as authentic tasks representative of real engineering projects. The results alsoshowed that the PLP environment served to push students to go back and review concepts fromcurrent and previous courses that they would need to apply in their projects. The project has produced a number of products including tutorials for instructors and students,research papers, PLPTool Java code, the PLP instruction set, and the PLP reference implementationin Verilog. All these are available on the PLP website to facilitate easy adoption of PLP at otheruniversities. We are looking for partners to adopt PLP in their courses. The long-term vision forPLP is to be a free and scalable platform for face-to-face and online education in computingworldwide. We are at the initial stage, where our platform is mature and tested at our own sites,but has not been adopted at other institutions. Expected future direction for PLP includes three lines. Visualization tools that use PLP as theunderlying engine aim to allow students at all levels (middle-school through practicingprofessionals) to understand how computers work. We are also working on creating literature,website materials, and tutorials to facilitate PLP’s adoption by other instructors. This work willhelp in the third line of exploration- research on impact of PLP on student learning.
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015