Skip to Main Content
Embedded systems courses and labs teaching hardware and software design are a necessity in many technical university programs. The attendees of these courses train their skills and expertise on hardware platforms available for the students only during the phase of attendance. To gain practical skills in building such systems, lab courses are required and appropriate parts have to be supplied. To train the same skills and expertise in distance learning courses, a new approach is necessary, as everything has to be supplied to the students "at home". Apart from detailed hands on tutorials and teaching materials, a hardware platform for every student is mandatory. To keep the motivation for the subject high, a start at Operating System level (nowadays well known to all the students) and gradual decent to bit-level and the attachment of external hardware to a microcontroller, is the introduced approach. This is standing in opposition to common concepts that start at pin-level and progress up to Operating System level. To train practical skills in assembling an embedded system a HW/SW co simulation tool comes in handy. The students can prepare and test a self designed electronic completely in the simulation environment and hands-on skills with real components can be gained quickly in a very short attendance phase. The concepts and recommended tools for such a distance learning course are described in this paper.