cpe229_lec01 - CPE 229 Course Notes: Lecture 1 Copyright:...

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CPE 229 Course Notes: Lecture 1 Copyright: 2005 Bryan Mealy CPE 229 Course History CPE 229/269 was originally taught in the Fall of 2003. This being the case, the course can still be considered young. And being that it’s a young course, there are still bugs that need to be worked out of the course and the associated laboratory. Here’s the real story. It goes something like this… Several years ago, a bunch of --- 1 guys sitting around a table dreamed up a change in the CPE and EE curriculum that was perceived to improve the quality of education in the respective departments. The idea was to do-away with EE 319 (hardware-based state machines and advanced digital design) and CSC 215 (software-based 68000 assembly language programming) and compress those topics into a single course. Both of these courses went fairly deeply into their respective topics. As if this was not enough, they also decided to add an element of computer architecture to the course also. The end result is a highly specialized course that covers finite state machine design, basic computer architecture, and assembly language programming. This change in curriculum created several problems. The gory details of these problems are listed below: 1. The first problem is that there is no book in existence that is appropriate for the entire class. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a compromised learning experience for the students taking the class. One of the instructors involved in this change promised to provide teaching materials for the instructors teaching the course, but this material was not only worthless, but a on-going joke 2 amongst the students taking the course. There was never any plan on providing learning materials for students. Likewise, the accepted CPE 129 text was severely limited as a text for CPE 229. 2. The second problem that this curriculum changed caused was tremendous overlap in the topics taught in this course for CPE and CSC majors. Although the course can be considered nicely designed at a low level, it was poorly thought-out in the context of the CPE and CSC curriculum. This is not the case for EE majors though. Although about 1/3 of the course is mostly likely new material to all the students, the material in the other two thirds of the course has probably been seen by most of the non-EE students. The overlap in topics is bad enough to essentially make the class a non-valuable waste of time for most of the students in the class. 3. The third problem presented by the curriculum change is the fact that there has consistently been too few sections of the class offered to meet student demand. This exacerbates the second problem listed above and causes general frustration to the students. There are undoubtedly many students in this class who are graduating soon and have been trying to enroll in this class for many quarters. The sad part about this is that the topics in this course probably could have helped these students
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cpe229_lec01 - CPE 229 Course Notes: Lecture 1 Copyright:...

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