The Introduction to Computer Engineering course at the University of Missouri-Rolla provides a thorough understanding of basic digital logic analysis and design. The course covers: digital numbering systems, Boolean algebra, function minimization using Karnaugh maps (K-maps), memory elements, and sequential logic design. Students' grades are determined by their performance on homework assignments, quizzes, and in-class examinations. A laboratory course (optional for all but EE and CpE majors) supplements the lecture by providing experiments that include analysis and design using Mentor Graphics and FPGAs. While the laboratory is a very useful supplement to the lecture, almost half the students taking the lecture are not required to take the laboratory and there is not sufficient time in the laboratory schedule to introduce significant design elements. In Fall 2004, hands-on group projects, for all students, were introduced to the lecture course. The goal was for students to develop a more practical understanding and appreciation of hardware design and to improve motivation. Two projects were introduced that involve design of simple digital systems (based on practical applications), design optimization, and physical realization of the system using logic gates and/or memory elements. Two surveys, conducted during the semester, show the benefit of hands-on projects in gaining experience on basic digital hardware design.

Meeting Name

American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (2005: Jun 12-15, Portland, OR)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Digital Numbering Systems; Karnaugh Maps; Memory Elements; Sequential Logic Design; Algebra, Boolean

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2005 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2005