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Teaching the Internet of Things (IoT) Using Universally Available Raspberry Pi and Arduino Platforms

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Two-Year Engineering and Engineering Technology Programs

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

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Paper Authors


Gary J. Mullett Springfield Technical Community College

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Gary J. Mullett, a Professor of Electronics Technology and Co-Department Chair, presently teaches in the Electronics Group at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) located in Springfield, MA. A long time faculty member and consultant to local business and industry, Mullett has provided leadership and initiated numerous curriculum reforms as either the Chair or Co-Department Chair of the four technology degree programs that constitute the Electronics Group. Since the mid-1990s, he has been active in the NSF’s ATE and CCLI programs as a knowledge leader in the wireless telecommunications field. A co-founder of the long running National Center for Telecommunications Technologies (then the ICT Center) located at STCC, Mullett also played a principle role in the development of the innovative and long running Verizon NextStep employee training program. The author of two text books, Basic Telecommunications – The Physical Layer and Wireless Telecommunications Systems and Networks, Mullett did both his undergraduate and graduate work (in Remote Sensing) in the ECE Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he also taught the undergraduate sequence of courses in electromagnetics. He has presented at numerous local, regional, and national conferences and also internationally on telecommunications and wireless topics and on the status of the education of electronics technicians at the two-year college level. His current interests are: the development of novel and innovative systems-level approaches to the education of technicians, applications of the emerging field of wired and wireless networked embedded controllers and sensor/actuator networks, and cyber-physical system applications in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Teaching the Internet of Things (IoT) using universally available Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms

Major technology corporations like IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others have taken direct aim at the rapidly developing Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. These corporations believe that the next major technologic evolution (and hence their future markets and customers) will revolve around this newest application of the Internet. These companies and most involved in the technology fields believe that we are on the cusp of the next transformation of machinery: the process of adding intelligence and connectivity to small to large-scale technology systems and in this process creating the Internet of Things. Already, academic and industry experts in various technical fields have given catchy names to these proposed systems: autonomous cars, Smart Grid, Smart Buildings, Smart Homes, e-health care, are but a few terms that have made it into the popular press. These large-scale and not-so-large-scale applications are becoming possible due to the convergence of several key technologies. Essentially, through the use of networked embedded controllers (ambient intelligence) and complex sensors and actuators (sensor networks) one is able to create intelligent infrastructure systems (i.e. cyber-physical systems) that have the potential to change almost every aspect of mankind’s interaction with the environment and most all other human endeavors.

Presently, formal education in these Internet applications is lacking. Cisco, through its online Networking Academy offers a short overview course about the Internet of Everything (IoE) and has announced its intent to offer more online courses about the topic. However, access is restricted to colleges that have networking academies. IBM has recently launched its Internet of Things Foundation that offers business and industry partners, as well as, educational entities, development tools to implement and test out their IoT applications with the further ability to visually display acquired data in real time. However, most colleges that offer engineering technology education at the two-year college level, as of yet, do not have educational courses or programs to teach this new technology. This paper will present our experience in our initial attempts to teach an introduction of this technology to our students and to also possibly induce students to become interested in STEM fields. A new four credit course ELE-111 (three hours of lecture and three hours of lab), entitled, Internet of Everything, has been offered to our students this past year. This paper will recount our experience with this particularly hardware centric hands-on course. Course and lab content will be covered and our experience with what worked and what did not will be discussed. This effort to produce technicians with the skill sets needed to install, evaluate, maintain, and up-grade these IoT systems as they are envisioned is destined to be an ongoing process at our institution.

Mullett, G. J. (2016, June), Teaching the Internet of Things (IoT) Using Universally Available Raspberry Pi and Arduino Platforms Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26053

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