Asee peer logo

Digital Design In Community College Courses

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone/Design Projects: Information/Computer ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.480.1 - 10.480.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Paul Chanley

author page

Michael Pelletier

Download Paper |

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

solutions to complete the project. For example, on the first day of class, the students were given the syllabus and an overview of the course and design project #1.

At first, this seemed overwhelming for the students, but they were assured that both the lab work and lecture course would help them complete their design project. Students worked in pairs, but had to produce an individual project report. They had approximately seven weeks to complete the design. After that time, they were given the second design project. This project was due at the end of the semester. The design projects were based on material covered in the Fundamentals of Digital Logic lecture course with emphasis on the application of that material. An example of a design project is to design a BCD Invalid Code Detector wherein the output for the ten valid BCD codes is a 0 and the output for the six invalid BCD codes is a 1.

Summary of Student Survey in Digital Logic Lab

The following is a summary of student learning for the Digital Logic Lab at Northern Essex Community College in the Fall, 2004 semester. It is based on both the student survey and instructor observations. The students were surveyed on how effective different teaching methods used in the semester were on educating them about specific digital electronic topics. Teaching methods evaluated were: A) class room examples and handouts, B) textbook examples and chapter problems, C) lab experiments, and D) design projects. The survey was intended to include both the Fundamentals of Digital Logic lecture and Digital Lab courses. The degree of effectiveness was based on a scale from 1 through 4 (4= very effective and 1 = did not help).

The digital electronic topics chosen for the survey were those used in the BCD Invalid Code Detector design project. This design project required the students to create a truth table for the BCD Invalid Code Detector, generate a Boolean expression and reduce the expression through Karnaugh maps and/or Boolean algebra. Students had to implement a digital logic circuit using AND/OR logic. Once this was completed, the students converted their circuit to NAND gates only. Finally, the students were required to use an 8-input multiplexer to implement the BCD invalid code detector.

The survey was given to two different sections of Digital Logic Lab, one taught during the day and one taught during the evening, both sections taught by Paul Chanley with a total of 18 surveys returned. The surveys indicated that the design project was the most effective teaching method used to teach the concept of digital circuit design. For “multiplexer application” and “digital logic gate application” the data is as follows:

Class Lab Textbook Design Project Room Exercise Multiplexer Application 3.11 3.00 3.00 3.80 Digital Logic Gate Application 3.22 3.28 2.68 3.70 Ranking key: 4=very effective, 3=effective, 2=somewhat effective, 1=did not help.

The results regarding the application questions were consistent with the instructor’s class room observations during lab work. Students were perplexed by circuit applications. A frequently asked question was “where can I use these circuits?” The design project answered this question Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Chanley, P., & Pelletier, M. (2005, June), Digital Design In Community College Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14713

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015