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The first course in computer programming for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers at San José State University is undergoing substantial renovation to better serve the educational needs of the students in the program. The renovated course emphasizes development of algorithmic problem solving skills and familiarity with the C programming language, Excel, and Matlab. Extensive use is made of Ch, a C interpreter, for learning the C language. A major innovation in the course is the use of a microcontroller with a custom-designed sensor/IO board as an experimental platform that the students use for several laboratory experiments. Student feedback regarding the renovations after the first two course offerings during the 2009-10 academic year has been positive. Further enhancements of the microcontroller-based experiments are expected through the use of a second generation sensor/IO board currently under development.