June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Computers in Education
11.898.1 - 11.898.13
“Lions and Tigers and Testing…Oh My!”
The proper testing of a digital hardware and software design is often considered a dry and boring task for instructors to teach students. Anecdotally, we found students also share this perception of this important concept. A design, however, is only as good as the test plan that validates and supports it. We realize that entire textbooks and courses have been devoted to this topic, but, often, an engineering program does not have room for a standalone course on this topic. In our institutions, we elected to emphasize and allow students to practice some of the basic tenets and proper procedures of testing and documentation in several senior and graduate level design, microcontroller and hardware descriptive language courses. In this paper we will briefly review the basic tenets of testing and documentation and present some innovative methods of extracting test data from a hardware/software based project often found in a digital controller based system. We discuss how these tenets and techniques were adopted in several senior level courses and the overall results.
In the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow are making their way through a dark, dangerous forest. Around every turn they are worried about what they might encounter. There could be “Lions and Tigers and Bears…oh my!” The proper testing and documentation of a digital based system is also fraught with a variety of “dangers.” Frequently the subject of project testing, test plans, and documentation is often treated as a dry and boring task in academia. A tedious and monotonous task of extracting system data from a complex digital design such as an embedded controller has contributed to this view. However, we all know that it is one of the most important concepts that must be taught in the engineering discipline.
Our accreditation body, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Incorporation, Engineering Accreditation Commission (ABET/EAC), recognizes the importance of these concepts. In their “Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs,”
Barrett, S., & Pack, D. (2006, June), Lions And Tigers And Testing...Oh My! Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--163
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