Syllabus Fall 2023
Units: 4 Instructor: Rob Parke Office: OHE 412 Office Hours: TBD Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
IT Help: Provided by Viterbi IT Hours of Service: 8am–5pm M-F Walk-in: DRB 205 Contact Info: (213) 740-0517 Email: email@example.com
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of physical computing systems through hands-on, real-life applications. Physical computing forms the basis of smart devices, wearables like smart watches, e-textiles / fashion, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and hardware start-up
This course is designed specifically for a general audience and all majors. You will learn to design electronic devices that interact with the physical world. Assignments will use motion detectors, robotic arms, and electronic music generation.
This course teaches students to design electronic devices that interact with the physical world by building circuits and developing software algorithms that run on a microcontroller. Students are expected to be familiar with introductory programming, but no prior experience with electronics or microcontrollers is necessary.
- Design a device using a microcontroller and electronic components.
- Produce an embedded device that measures environmental conditions and sends readings to a cloud storage platform.
- Produce an embedded device that produces effects in the physical world to accomplish a task.
- Build an interface app to enable communication between a user and a device.
- Control a device from an interface app.
- Describe accessibility challenges for an embedded device and suggest modifications.
Design a simple device that reads sensor data and communicates with an internet-based storage platform
Determine the appropriate electronic component for specific operations
Use a microcontroller to communicate with sensors and motors
Prerequisite(s): ITP 115 or ITP 165 or ITP 109 (equivalent courses or knowledge will be considered)
This course will make use of Blackboard for content and assignments. Lecture slides and any supplemental course content will be posted to Blackboard for use by all students. Any and all announcements for the course will be posted to Blackboard. All assignments will be posted to Blackboard and will be submitted through Blackboard. Students must familiarize themselves with Blackboard before the course begins.
Students will be required to purchase a kit at the USC bookstore for this course. This kit is created specifically for the course and must be purchased during the first week of class. Additional components will be provided by the instructor
Videos for each week are posted on the course website and should be watched prior to class that week
Scherz, Paul, et. al. Practical Electronics for Inventors (3rd Edition). McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. ISBN: 978-0071771337
Hughes, John M. Arduino in a Nutshell: A Handbook for Technicians, Engineers, and Makers. 2015. ISBN: 978-1491921760
Purdum, Jack. Beginning C for Arduino, Second Edition: Learn C Programming for the Arduino. Apress, 2015. ISBN: 978-1484209417
There will be hardware assignments that are due 1 week after being assigned. These assignments require building a hardware device with the microcontroller. Students will typically submit code, a schematic drawing, a photograph of the finished device, and a video of the device functioning. Code from external sources may be used as a reference, as long as it is properly cited. These are to be completed individually unless otherwise noted.
There will be programming assignments which will focus on a further understanding of problem-solving, algorithms, and logical thinking using C, and are due 1 week after being assigned. Assignments are to be completed individually and submitted on Blackboard.
Final Project Details
- Week 11 – Project assigned
- Week 12 – Submit project proposal
- Week 13 – Receive feedback on proposal; submit device schematic
- Weeks 12 – 16 – Work on project (in-class milestone week 13)
- Final exam period – Final presentation (Graded)
The final project is to create a physical device and interface. The concept of the device is up to the student, but the project proposal must be approved by the instructor. The proposal should include device functionality, part list, cost, and a general description of the app.
The final project will be graded on how it fulfills the requirements and the quality / completion of the device. A project must represent the student’s sole effort; online tutorials or class examples may be consulted, but they must be improved upon and noted in the final documentation. Failure to note and provided links to any reference material will be considered cheating.
Project Grading Breakdown
|Device firmware (C++)||25|
|Web or mobile interface app||20|
Students will sign up for a 10 min window during the final exam time during which their will demonstrate the functionality of their project. No PowerPoint presentation is needed; rather, students will show the how their device fulfills the key project requirements. Additional time slots will be added depending on size of the class.
Course Grading Breakdown
|Item||% of Grade|
|Quizzes and In-Class Labs||15|
|In-Class Polls and In-Class Participation||10|
Course final grades will be determined using the following scale
- A 93-100
- A- 90-92
- B+ 87-89
- B 83-86
- B- 80-82
- C+ 77-79
- C 73-76
- C- 70-72
- D+ 67-69
- D 65-66
- F 64 and below
Assignments will receive feedback after about one week.
Policies and Expectations
Students are expected to:
Attend and participate in lecture discussions
Attend and complete weekly assignments
Students will have one week after graded feedback is given to contest scores (e.g. assignments, midterm, and project). After two week, scores will not be changed.
Assignments are due on the stated day on Blackboard (typically at 11:59 pm)
Students are given 3 “grace days” (self-granted extensions) which may be used for extra time without penalty
Grace days may be used for assignments only, not the final project
Grace days may be used for one assignment, distributed them across several assignments, or even better, saved them for a crisis that thankfully never comes
Instructor-granted extensions are only considered after all grace days are used and only given in rare, exceptional situations
Late work will not be accepted after all the grace days have been used
Important: it is the responsibility of the student to state in their Blackboard submission that they intend to use a grace day.
(Adapted from Stanford’s EE365 policy)
Course Schedule: A Weekly Breakdown
|Week||Topics/Daily Activities||Pre-Lecture Videos and Readings||Assignment (given out on Monday; due one week Sunday @ 11:59 pm)|
|Week 1||Intro to Internet of Things (IoT), electricity, microcontrollers, Ohm’s Law, LEDs||Posted online||A0 and A1|
|Week 2||Analog to digital conversion, pulse width modulation, serial||Posted online||A2|
|Week 3||Digital input, buttons, RGB LEDs||Posted online||A3|
|Week 4||Voltage dividers, photoresistors, multitasking, cloud publishing||Posted online||A4|
|Week 5||Temperature sensors, SPI communication, OLED, webhooks, dashboards||Posted online||A5|
|Week 6||Cloud subscription, mobile app integration||Posted online||A6|
|Week 7||Finite state machines||Posted online||A7|
|Week 8||DC motors, servos||Posted online||A8 (due in two weeks)|
|Week 9||Bluetooth, remote controlled car||Posted online||Continue working on A8|
|Week 10||JSON, APIs, dashboards||Posted online||A9|
|Week 11||Ultrasonic sensors, OLED graphics||Posted online||A10
|Week 12||Wearables, heart rate sensors, debouncing||Posted online||(work on project)|
|Week 13||RFID, accessibility||Posted online||Project milestone|
|Week 14||Accelerometers||Posted online||(work on project)|
|Week 15||Digital temperature sensors, passive infrared sensors||Posted online||(work on project)|
|Final (Week 16)||Final project presentation||Posted online||Project code, device, app, in-class demo|
|Date: For the date and time of the final for this class, consult the USC Schedule of Classes at www.usc.edu/soc.|
The University of Southern California is foremost a learning community committed to fostering successful scholars and researchers dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and the transmission of ideas. Academic misconduct is in contrast to the university’s mission to educate students through a broad array of first-rank academic, professional, and extracurricular programs and includes any act of dishonesty in the submission of academic work (either in draft or final form).
This course will follow the expectations for academic integrity as stated in the USC Student Handbook. All students are expected to submit assignments that are original work and prepared specifically for the course/section in this academic term. You may not submit work written by others or “recycle” work prepared for other courses without obtaining written permission from the instructor(s). Students suspected of engaging in academic misconduct will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity.
Students must complete their own work without assistance from other students or any outside sources. Other violations of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication (e.g., falsifying data), knowingly assisting others in acts of academic dishonesty, and any act that gains or is intended to gain an unfair academic advantage.
The impact of academic dishonesty is far-reaching and is considered a serious offense against the university and could result in outcomes such as failure on the assignment, failure in the course, suspension, or even expulsion from the university.
Use of AI Generators
- AI generators such as ChatGPT are powerfully useful tools that have great application in software and engineering
- However, the purpose of this class is to specifically to develop creative and critical thinking skills as well as practical knowledge of building devices
- Therefore, using AI-generated tools is prohibited in this course, will be identified as plagiarism, and will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity
Course Content Distribution and Synchronous Session Recordings Policies
USC has policies that prohibit recording and distribution of any synchronous and asynchronous course content outside of the learning environment.
Recording a university class without the express permission of the instructor and announcement to the class, or unless conducted pursuant to an Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS) accommodation. Recording can inhibit free discussion in the future, and thus infringe on the academic freedom of other students as well as the instructor. (Living our Unifying Values: The USC Student Handbook, page 13).
Distribution or use of notes, recordings, exams, or other intellectual property, based on university classes or lectures without the express permission of the instructor for purposes other than individual or group study. This includes but is not limited to providing materials for distribution by services publishing course materials. This restriction on unauthorized use also applies to all information, which had been distributed to students or in any way had been displayed for use in relationship to the class, whether obtained in class, via email, on the internet, or via any other media. (Living our Unifying Values: The USC Student Handbook, page 13).
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Counseling and Mental Health - (213) 740-9355 – 24/7 on call
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988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline - 988 for both calls and text messages – 24/7 on call
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