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It Blinked! Empowering Students with an Improved Microprocessors Course

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ECE Curriculum Improvement

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

25.866.1 - 25.866.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21623

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Arlen Planting Boise State University

author page

Sin Ming Loo Boise State University

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Abstract

It Blinked! Empowering Students with an Improved Microprocessors Course AbstractThe junior microprocessors course at Boise State University was updated in 2007 by adopting asoft-core processor and adding the C programming language to teach the basics ofmicroprocessors and peripheral interfacing techniques. The introduction of soft-core processorswas not the focus of the course, but their usage provides an effective, flexible platform forteaching microprocessor concepts with both the assembly and C languages. Though the courseupdate was begun with a well-defined set of objectives, not all of these goals were immediatelyachieved. The goals have eventually been accomplished through a process of continualimprovements over the past 5 years, and the results are evident in a better grade distribution,increased student enthusiasm, and subsequent student successes. This paper discusses theimprovement since our initial implementation [1,2]. The key improvements include eliminatingthose software layers that hide the underlying hardware and prevent direct interaction with theprocessor, making usage of the soft-core processor transparent, so the students perceive thedevelopment board as a discrete microprocessor, developing an in-house course referencetailored to the desired course objectives, and optimizing the concept presentation sequence.[1] Arlen Planting, Sin Ming Loo, “Synergies Of Teaching Assembly And C In A JuniorMicroprocessors Course,” 2009 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.[2] Arlen Planting and S. Ming Loo, “On the Use of a Soft-Core Processor in JuniorMicroprocessors Course,” 2008 ASEE Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, June 22-25, 2008.

Planting, A., & Loo, S. M. (2012, June), It Blinked! Empowering Students with an Improved Microprocessors Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21623

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