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Improving Student Understanding of Digital Systems Design with VHDL via Inductive Instruction

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Yanxiao Zhao South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Dr. Yanxiao Zhao is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, which she joined in Aug. 2012. She received her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Old Dominion University, USA, in May 2012. Dr. Zhao’ teaching interests are centered on communications, networking and digital system design. Dr. Zhao's research interests include, but not limited to: security on smart grid; security on wireless networking including cognitive radio networks, vehicular networks, wireless autonomous networks, wireless sensor networks, software-defined networks, D2D communications; protocol design, performance evaluation and experimental implementation in various communication and networking systems. Her current research is supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and Air Force grants. Dr. Zhao was the recipient of the Best Paper Award in WASA 2009 and Chinacom 2016. She is serving as TPC members for several international conferences such as IEEE GLOBECOM, ICC, ICCCN, WiCOM and ICNC. She is also a technical reviewer for dozens of international journals and conferences.

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Shaobo Huang South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Dr. Shaobo Huang is an Assistant Professor and the Stensaas Endowed STEM Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Her research interests include student retention and academic performance in engineering, student achievement evaluation and assessment, and K-12 STEM curriculum design.

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This paper introduces inductive instruction strategy that is applied to Digital Systems design with VHDL class. This class demands extensive simulations using Xilinx ISE design suite and FPGA board for implementation and testing, which is tough and challenging for first-time learners. To improve students’ learning experience and outcomes, we integrate inductive instruction, active learning techniques and demonstration-based learning in the Digital System design class. In this paper, a specific circuit, e.g., 7-segment LED time-multiplexing circuit of S3 board, serves as an example to illustrate inductive instruction. The traditional instructional methods are adopted in 2014 while inductive instruction strategy is applied in 2015 for the first time and is further enriched in 2016. Students’ learning outcomes are recorded from 2014 to 2016. We observe that students have better understanding on the topics in 2015 and 2016. In addition, the teaching evaluations have improved over the past three years.

Zhao, Y., & Huang, S. (2017, June), Improving Student Understanding of Digital Systems Design with VHDL via Inductive Instruction Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28496

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