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Innovative Design Techniques In A Freshman Class

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.238.1 - 2.238.4



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Paper Authors

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Ravi Pendse

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Everett L. Johnson

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

Session 2653

Innovative Design Techniques in a Freshman class Ravi Pendse Ph.D. , Everett Johnson Ph.D. Department of Electrical Engineering Wichita State University


At Wichita State University, we have a three course sequence in the Digital Design area with the first course taken by incoming freshman students. This course entitled “Introduction to Digital Design” is a very popular course among students. The average enrollment each semester is about 60 students. Most of these students go on to take the other two courses in the sequence. In this paper, we will report on different methods used to teach Digital Design to a typical freshman student. The design team concept, which is emphasized throughout the semester, will be presented in this paper. Different innovative ideas used in this class include, use of design teams, peer design team conferences, cost evaluation, and industry interfacing. All of these ideas will be presented in this paper. Comments from students suggest that they find this course to be fun and challenging. What makes this course fun and challenging? How is the design team concept working? Some possible answers to these questions are also presented.


An informal poll of Engineering educators indicates that it is a great idea to teach design techniques as early as possible to Engineering students. In the Electrical Engineering(EE) Department at Wichita State University, we have a freshman level course in Digital Design. This is a required course for EE majors. Different techniques are used in this course to emphasize working environment of the “real world.” In this paper, the course structure and ideas used in this freshman level class are discussed.

About the course

Course goal: On the first day of the class, the goal of this course is mentioned and emphasized. The goal is “By the end of the semester, a student will be able to design, simulate, build, and cost a simple (not trivial) digital system.” To further emphasize the type of digital system designed, several examples are discussed. Some of which are, a vending machine controller, traffic light intersection controller, and other control circuits. Following the discussion of the examples, the “goal” is further elaborated to emphasize that design does not just mean paper design. What the students will learn will include different phases of design, just as in the “real world.”

Course Pre-requisites and hours: This is a freshman level course and has a pre-requisite of basic algebra which most of our incoming students have already taken. This is a one semester (16 weeks) four-hour course which includes three hours of lectures and one hour of lab work.

Pendse, R., & Johnson, E. L. (1997, June), Innovative Design Techniques In A Freshman Class Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6618

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