Learning and Practicing Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering through Building and Programming a Microcontroller Board

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

40th ASEE/IEEE Frontier in Education (FIE) Conference


ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division (ERM), IEEE Education Society & IEEE Computer Society


Arlington, VA

Conference Dates

October 27-30, 2010

Date of Presentation



A required sophomore course on microcontrollers and computer architecture was designed and offered for the first time in 2009 to expose our electrical engineering (EE) sophomore students to microcontroller-based applications so that they could appreciate and be exposed to fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) through hardware and software design and interfacing. The course also helps students to obtain a broad view of various subjects of ECE from circuits, signals, digital logic, microcontrollers, C and assembly language programming to system design, implementation and measurement so that they can make a well informed decision on whether to continue to major in EE. The course builds a foundation for future classes that may require instrumentation or microcontroller-based applications such as those on communications, control, power electronics as well as junior and senior design courses. In addition, the students are required to purchase most of the hardware components for the course so that they can use the components for future projects.