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Designing An Evolving System On Chip (Soc) Laboratory

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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

ECE Online Courses, Labs, and Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.420.1 - 10.420.10

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Paper Authors

author page

Justin Davis

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

Designing an Evolving System-on-Chip (SoC) Laboratory Justin S. Davis Mississippi State University


In the digital age, information is very easily accessible. This creates many problems for the traditional classroom which uses the same exam questions and lab assignments from one semester to the next. Instead of fighting the flow of information (which industry has found to be exceptionally hard), the learning environment must adapt to not only tolerate this, but use it to further educate. We have redesigned our digital systems design course to incorporate these changes.

In traditional digital systems design, silicon chips from different manufacturers are brought together onto a printed circuit board. In modern digital systems design, software code describes the functionality of each chip. The code for these chips is available (usually for purchase) so multiple chips can be fabricated in one chip (called a System- on-a-Chip). Our digital systems design course incorporates this concept. Students learn to integrate 3rd-party modules into their own digital designs and are encouraged to use any free modules they find on the internet. However, every module must be documented and cited correctly for good engineering ethics. Students may use modules developed by other students in previous semesters as long as proper documentation is included.

Since previous laboratory work is available to next semester students, the laboratory is designed to continuously evolve. Each semester has ten one-week fixed assignments with a three-week design project at the end of the semester. The fixed assignments are individual and have specific learning objectives dictated by the course outline. The design projects are team-based and use the same learning objectives as the fixed assignments. The finished design projects are then used as next semester’s fixed assignments. This paper will provide the details and evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.

1. Introduction

The development of the Internet has created a very efficient method of disseminating information. It is so efficient, that stopping the flow of protected information is extremely difficult. This has been proven in many media sources in regard to copyrighted works. Many lawsuits and regulations have emerged because of the unlicensed distribution of music, video, and software code. This effect also extends to the classroom which causes many problems for the teacher.

The primary responsibility of a teacher is to disseminate information to the students effectively so they will absorb it. However, when it comes to exams and laboratory work there is an opposite effect. The material and solutions remain secret to

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

Davis, J. (2005, June), Designing An Evolving System On Chip (Soc) Laboratory Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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