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Attached Learning Model for First Digital System Design Course in ECE Program

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Seemein Shayesteh P.E. Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis

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Lecturer in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue School of Engineering at Indianapolis

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Maher E. Rizkalla Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis

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Dr. Maher E. Rizkalla: received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University in January 1985 in electrical engineering. From January 1985 until August 1986 was a research scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL while he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Purdue University Calumet. In August 1986 he joined the department of electrical and computer engineering at IUPUI where he is now professor and Associate Chair of the department. His research interests include solid state devices, applied superconducting, electromagnetics, VLSI design, and engineering education. He published more than 175 papers in these areas. He received plenty of grants and contracts from Government and industry. He is a senior member of IEEE and Professional Engineer registered in the State of Indiana

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Lauren Christopher Electrical and Computer Engineering, IUPUI

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Dr. Lauren Christopher attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received her S. B. and S. M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1982, specializing in digital signal processing and chip design. She worked at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Labs in the 1980’s developing chips for early digital television, and in the 1990s joined Thomson Consumer Electronics, where she led the first DIRECTV receiver design. She received her PhD from Purdue University in 2003, developing image segmentation techniques in 3D medical ultrasound images toward automatic cancer detection. In 2010, Dr. Christopher has been inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame for her work in leading the development of the DIRECTV set top box. Dr. Christopher joined IUPUI in 2008, and is currently heading the 3D imaging and VLSI research in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Her research continues the 3D medical image registration and image segmentation from her PhD work. Her research interests include real-time 3D systems, 3D image sensors and 3D image processing algorithms.

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Zina Ben Miled ECE Department, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis

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Zina Ben Miled received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from Oregon State University in 1988, her M.S. and Ph.D. also in Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 1990 and 1997, respectively.
She has co-authored several technical papers in journals and conference proceedings and holds one patent. Her research interests include data analytics, knowledge discovery, data models and computational frameworks. She was the recipient of the Indiana Women in High Tech Award and the National Science Foundation Career Award.

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The Introduction to Digital System Design which is a 4 credit hour course, including lab, was upgraded in Fall 2014 to improve student learning. The improvements were based on course outcome surveys, instructors’ observations and industry trend. The digital hardware design in industry is now heavily dependent on Hardware Description Languages (HDLs) for implementing complex digital systems. This course has been revised to prepare the students adequately for upper level courses involving HDL, solving real world problems and ultimately getting them ready for the workforce.

The laboratory upgrades included more of sequential circuit design labs, hands-on labs using Nexys4 board, and the addition of a design project. These additional assignments, in an attached learning style, closely follow the topics taught in lecture. A new textbook is also used that supports the use of HDL in logic design and emphasizes the relationships between HDL statements and the corresponding digital hardware.

The paper addresses the new structure as compared to what was previously offered. In the old style, Hardware Description Language learning was mainly captured in only 1/3 of the labs, with very little HDL in-class learning. The course upgrades now accomplish advancing the HDL in-class and in-lab learning with a project that integrates various components in the course.

The new course offers tutorial sessions that supplement the textbook, and assist students create a design source targeting the FPGA on the Nexys4 board, create a user constraint file (XDC) to constrain pin locations, simulate the design, synthesize and implement the design, generate the bitstream and finally download the design to the board and verify the functionality. Four structured labs related to combinational design and other four labs related to sequential design follow the same pattern, and are designed to assist with simulation and design verification using test benches and downloading the bit stream to the board for the hardware implementation.

The paper details the new model of delivering the course, project samples, and students’ satisfaction with this new approach.

Shayesteh, S., & Rizkalla, M. E., & Christopher, L., & Ben Miled, Z. (2016, June), Attached Learning Model for First Digital System Design Course in ECE Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26343

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