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Paper ID #8459Using Practical Examples in Teaching Digital Logic DesignDr. Joseph P Hoffbeck, University of PortlandJoseph P. Hoffbeck is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Portland inPortland, Oregon. He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He previously workedwith digital cell phone systems at Lucent Technologies (formerly AT&T Bell Labs) in Whippany, NewJersey.His technical interests include communication systems, digital signal processing, and remotesensing.c American Society for Engineering Education, 2014
Using Practical Examples in Teaching Digital Logic Design Abstract Digital 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 if there is time may finish up with the basic components of microprocessors. With the bottom up approach, it may be a fairly long time before students see a complete system that performs a recognizable 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 is crucial 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 example circuits that are simple enough to cover in the first logic design course, but yet are complete systems that perform useful functions. The proposed circuits are a game show buzz-in system that determines which of two contestants rings in first, a standard 12-hour digital clock, and a car alarm that could honk a car horn if someone enters the car without resetting the alarm. The proposed circuits can be used as examples or homework problems in addition to the standard circuits to increase students’ interest in the material and to show how useful the design techniques can be. Surveys were given to the students after the proposed circuits and the standard circuits were covered to assess the level of student interest generated by the examples. The results of the surveys are presented in the paper along with detailed descriptions of the circuits. Background There have been many previous papers describing methods for teaching logic design using breadboards1, using software to aid in the design of digital circuits2-5, using FPGA or CPLD to implement designs6-14, and using remote implementation of digital circuits15. Regardless of how the circuits are implemented, it is desirable that the circuits be interesting to the students. This paper presents three of the example circuits that are used in a three credit hour lecture course called Digital Logic Design. This introductory, semester-long course consists of standard lectures along with in-class exercises where the students work in groups to analyze and design digital circuits. There is no lab component of the course, so one of the goals of the examples is to tie the material to real world systems as much as possible.

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