Asee peer logo

Transformation of an Introduction to Microcontroller Course

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

CoED: Embedded Systems and Robotics

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jeffrey J Richardson Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

visit author page

At Purdue, Professor Richardson teaches courses in electric vehicle technology, prototype construction / project development and management, and courses in embedded microcontroller sequence. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Professor Richardson routinely mentors undergraduate students through his various applied research projects across the university campus. Current research projects include the creation of systems to support autonomous electric vehicles and the creation of a GPS based navigation system to assist students with visual impairments navigate and orient themselves to Purdue’s campus.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This paper outlines the curriculum changes made to a freshman introduction to microcontroller course. The course has undergone a transformation from a standard two hour lecture with a two hour laboratory experience each week to now include an additional arrange one contact hour to the laboratory portion of the course. The additional time requires the students to work outside of their normally scheduled laboratory session in pairs to tackle weekly challenges that go beyond the traditional laboratory activities. These challenges expand upon the concepts covered in the course and require the students to complete small or simplified versions of real-world problems. The outside activities also require the students enrolled in the introductory microcontroller course to complete challenges while working with students enrolled in other freshman courses such as the introduction to analog course. These outside activities take place in a dedicated laboratory for the outside activities. The dedicated laboratory is also utilized by sophomore and junior students working on similar problems and forces all the students to interact with each other. It is believed that this interaction can illustrate to the freshman students the types of things they will be doing during their future studies and help to retain the students in the program. This paper discusses the changes to the courses, the laboratory environment, and the actual challenges that the students complete.

Richardson, J. J. (2017, June), Transformation of an Introduction to Microcontroller Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29040

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015