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Lab at Home: Hardware Kits for a Digital Design Lab

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2 Author(s)
Juan P. Oliver ; Inst. de Ing. Electr., Univ. de la Republica, Montevideo ; Fiorella Haim

An innovative laboratory methodology for an introductory digital design course is presented. Instead of having traditional lab experiences, where students have to come to school classrooms, a ldquolab at homerdquo concept is proposed. Students perform real experiments in their own homes, using hardware kits specially developed for this purpose. They analyze given problems, design the appropriate solutions, and test the actual circuit in a distance learning context. Four course offerings were successfully accomplished with this methodology, and more than 65 kits with a programmable logic board were given to groups of students for the whole semester in each of these. An opinion survey showed that the experience was very successful among students. Laboratory learning objectives are analyzed to validate this experience. This paper also discusses scalability and different students' work evaluation approaches, in order to facilitate the application of this methodology to other contexts. Moreover, the ldquolab at homerdquo is shown to be very suitable for high enrollment courses and easy to scale, providing actual hardware platforms for students at an affordable cost for the institution.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 1 )