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Development Of Engaging Projects For Embedded Applications

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Embedded Computing

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.430.1 - 13.430.14

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Paper Authors

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Jeff Wiegley California State University-Northridge

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

Development of Engaging Projects for Embedded Applications


In response to results from assessment activities and the growing industrial de- mand for small, portable embedded devices, CSU Northridge added a course in Embedded Applications to its Computer Science undergraduate and graduate cur- riculum in 2004. The purpose of the course is to cover theoretical and practical topics that address the unique challenges that small, low cost, specialized hardware presents to software engineers. Course objectives are designed to provide soft- ware engineering students with the skills required to provide quality applications in multi-disciplinary, embedded product environments. While theoretical material is presented in a lecture format, practical experience is provided to teams of stu- dents through a set of lab based projects implemented on a variety of embedded platforms and micro-controller architectures. This paper focuses on the challenges faced developing and supporting a set of educational projects that engage and main- tain students’ interest yet are cost effective, flexible and representative of practical commercial products.


The Computer Science Department at CSU Northridge identified a subject area lacking sufficient attention in our department. Assessment feedback indicated stu- dent interest in a larger number of hands-on, laboratory based electives. The trend was reinforced by further survey feedback that suggested possible improvement ty- ing in more electrical engineering fundamentals in its computer science offerings.

Finally, industrial evolution is geared towards increasing the amount and intelli- gence of features in their products while reducing size and extending portability. Several of the industrial partners that serve on the Industrial Advisor Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science have demonstrated a move to- wards providing those features through software modifications rather than hardware modification. A growing need for capable software engineers in divisions that his- torically employed primarily electronic, computer or mechanical engineers can be expected.

The College of Engineering at CSU Northridge is organized as a set of autonomous departments, each of which maintains a highly specific curriculum focused on the depth of its discipline. Students are isolated into knowledge silos. Obtaining a deep

Wiegley, J. (2008, June), Development Of Engaging Projects For Embedded Applications Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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