Teaching Real-Time Programming for Embedded Microcontrollers by using Cloud-Based Simulator

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: Teaching Real-Time Programming for Embedded Microcontrollers by using Cloud-Based Simulator
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Samuel Kosolapov, ORT Braude Academic College of Engineering, Israel


In "normal" times electronic students enrolled in the course "Real-Time Digital Signals Processing" (RT-DSP) use real hardware – dedicated development boards containing microcontrollers and additional electronic components, and dedicated software (installed to the personal computer) to program those development boards. However, because of COVID 19 limitations, the distribution of development boards and dedicated software to the students became problematic. Even more, technical assistance in case of installation and/or hardware problems became practically impossible. Learning real-time algorithms and their practical implementation is an important part of Electronic Engineer' education, hence it was decided to adapt the RT-DSP course to distant learning by using a cloud-based TINKERCAD simulator. It was found, that by using some tricks and simplifications, reasonably sophisticated electronic projects can be implemented. Additionally, it was found that cloud-based TINKERCAD simulator can run in parallel with ZOOM session, while the Internet' speed of the lecturer’ computer is at least 50 Mbps – which means that providing frontal lectures and exercises (containing plain PowerPoint presentations and live simulations demonstrations) is feasible, at least for the groups of 30 students. After evaluating and grading homework and micro-projects, created by students in the frames of this course, we may conclude, that the professional level of the designed systems is good enough to continue this course in the frames of distant learning, while “normal” options are not available.

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