June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.358.1 - 13.358.14
Design and Develop a Cost Effective Microcontroller Training System for Distance Learning Engineering Students
This is the review of a NSF funded project that addresses the hands-on distance learning needs in microprocessor/microcontroller related courses. A research team designed a low cost training system with supporting instructional materials to assist the teaching of these concepts. Individual laboratory activities are being developed to reinforce student learning and skill development in programming concepts. This basic system format eventually will support an array of technology courses. This project involves two community colleges, Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), VA and Olympic College (OC), WA, and a four-year university, Old Dominion University (ODU), VA, in a collaborative research team to design and develop a specific PIC microcontroller training system with customized designed software and curriculum materials to support related engineering technology courses. The functions of the hardware and software cover different areas of engineering technology courses and majors to maximize the use of the microcontroller training system.
Microcontrollers have become ubiquitous helpers in our daily lives. They are compact, single-purpose computers running embedded application software that are widely utilized in modern electrical devices and systems to control operations, such as temperature settings of ovens, remote control of television sets, or extended features of cell phones. Now automobile mechanics must work with microcontrollers to control fuel mixtures and ignition timing. Because microcontrollers are so important to our high-tech world, demand is high for workers trained to design, maintain, and put them to use. But many people who want the training cannot take time away from work or families to enroll in engineering technology programs on university campuses. Digital electronics and microprocessor/microcontroller are a major component of the high-tech world and important subjects in the EET and related curricula. To educate students in these fields and accommodate the growing needs in distance learning, the methods of delivering these educational materials have to be changed. Studies show the obstacles in delivering hands- on education in distance learning environments1, but all of them can be resolved with modified instructional strategies. Currently, most of the solutions to laboratory related courses in distance learning are to use computer simulations and sometimes Internet virtual labs, which have fundamental difficulties in solving this issue2. For example, the circuit design, testing, implementation, debugging, and performance checking can not be covered by pure software simulations and virtual laboratories1,3. In addition, the cost of doing all the learning exercises and experimentation is also another issue for instructors and students. The designing and implementing of this microcontroller training system for hands-on distance learning projects provides opportunities to students in rural and urban areas to learn current technology concepts and become prepared to qualify for high-tech jobs. The training system hardware and software designs are presented.
Hsiung, S., & Ritz, J., & Eiland, J. (2008, June), Design And Develop A Cost Effective Microcontroller Training System For Distance Learning Engineering Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3422
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