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Using Practical Examples in Teaching Digital Logic Design

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Innovations in Computer Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1340.1 - 24.1340.14



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Paper Authors


Joseph P Hoffbeck University of Portland

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Joseph P. Hoffbeck is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He previously worked with digital cell phone systems at Lucent Technologies (formerly AT&T Bell Labs) in Whippany, New Jersey. His technical interests include communication systems, digital signal processing, and remote sensing.

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Using Practical Examples in Teaching Digital Logic DesignDigital logic design is often taught from the bottom up starting with the simplest components(transistors and gates), proceeding through combinational and sequential logic circuits, and ifthere is time may finish up with the basic components of microprocessors. With the bottom upapproach, it may be a fairly long time before students see a complete system that performs arecognizable function. Most of the standard example circuits, such as binary adders, decoders,multiplexers, etc., are parts used in a larger system, While knowledge of the standard circuits iscrucial for building more complex circuits, these standard circuits might not capture the students’interest as much as a complete system. Therefore, this paper describes three proposed examplecircuits that are simple enough to cover in the first logic design course, but yet are completesystems that perform useful functions. The proposed circuits are a game show buzz-in systemthat determines which of two contestants rings in first, a standard 12-hour digital clock, and a caralarm that could honk a car horn if someone enters the car without resetting the alarm. Theproposed circuits can be used as examples or homework problems in addition to the standardcircuits to increase students’ interest in the material and to show how useful the designtechniques can be. In the author’s logic design course, the proposed circuits are used along withthe standard circuits in an attempt to better relate the material to real world systems. Theauthor’s course is lecture-based with no companion laboratory and is taught to sophomoreelectrical engineering and computer science students. Surveys will be given to the students afterthe proposed circuits and the standard circuits are covered to assess the level of student interestgenerated by the examples. The results of the surveys will be presented in the paper along withdetailed descriptions of the proposed circuits.

Hoffbeck, J. P. (2014, June), Using Practical Examples in Teaching Digital Logic Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23273

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