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An Online Laboratory-based Graduate Engineering Technology Course in Programmable Devices and Systems

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Embedded System Design

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.194.1 - 22.194.10



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Paper Authors


Warren A. Rosen Drexel University

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Dr. Warren A. Rosen received his Ph.D. in physics from Temple University in 1978. Between 1978 and 1985, Dr. Rosen served as assistant professor of physics at Colby and Vassar Colleges where he carried out research in optical physics, solar physics, and medical physics. From 1985 to 1996, he worked at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division in Warminster, PA where he established an optical communications laboratory for development and characterization of optical components, systems, and protocols for high-performance avionics data networks. Dr. Rosen is currently an assistant clinical professor at Drexel University, where he is responsible for developing and teaching courses in microprocessors, microcontrollers, and FPGAs. Dr. Rosen has carried out research sponsored by the National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and the Missile Defense Agency.

Dr. Rosen is the author or coauthor of over 50 publications and conference proceedings and the holder of five U.S. patents in computer networking and signal processing.

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Eric Carr Drexel University Orcid 16x16

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Mr. Eric Carr is currently the Laboratory Technician for Drexel University's Engineering Technology program. Eric assists faculty members with the development and implementation of various Engineering Technology courses. A graduate of Old Dominion University's Computer Engineering Technology program, Eric enjoys finding innovative ways to use microcontrollers and other technologies to enhance Drexel's Engineering Technology course offerings. Eric is currently pursuing a M.S. in Computer Engineering at Drexel, and is an author of several technical papers in the field of Engineering Technology Education.

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An Online Laboratory-based Graduate Engineering Technology Course in Programmable Devices and SystemsIn this paper we describe the development of an online graduate engineering technologycourse in programmable devices. The course is intended to provide the graduateengineering technology student with an overview of programmable devices and systemsfor industrial and embedded applications. Microprocessors, microcontrollers, field-programmable gate arrays, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are comparedwith respect to suitability, performance, and cost (both device and implementation costs)in industrial and embedded environments. Industry standard development and modelingtools are introduced and used to develop representative control programs and to predictperformance. A key feature of the course is the extensive use of web-based laboratoryexercises using equipment housed in our laboratory. This equipment includes Dragon 12microcontroller development boards, Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA boards, and Amatrol PLCworkstations. For microprocessor experiments students use their own PCs or PCs in ourlab.The implementation of online laboratory exercises was one of the key challenges in thedevelopment of the course. VNC is used to connect to PCs in the lab that host thedevelopment software and control the hardware. Visual feedback is provided using awebcam attached to the host PC. To provide physical inputs to the hardware amicrocontroller-based I/O unit was designed. The unit employs an RS232 connectionfrom the local computer that can be controlled though a virtual onscreen interface. Thisinterface allows students to use virtual switches to manipulate physical inputs to the PLCor development boards directly. 

Rosen, W. A., & Carr, E. (2011, June), An Online Laboratory-based Graduate Engineering Technology Course in Programmable Devices and Systems Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17475

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