It's August 30, 2022 and we'll be starting class in just over a week. The eClass page will be available shortly, but I wanted to reach out to let you know what we have planned.
The EECS 2021 course is about how microprocessors work. We will examine both the hardware and software behind modern microprocessors. In the first part of the semester we'll do that using the lab kit that you used in EECS 1011 and EECS 1021. At the heart of that kit is an ATMEGA328P processor that contains all the important ingredients that contemporary processors use. Plus, because it's only an 8-bit processor, it's complexity is appropriate for a second year course like this one.
You already have the EECS 1011 lab kit, hold on to it. We'll be using it again in EECS 2021. But you'll also need to get two more things:
- The EECS 2021 programmer kit from the Bookstore. It contains a Snap programmer, an adapter and important cables.
- The textbook, "The AVR Microcontroller & Embedded Systems Using Assembly and C" by Naimi, either from the Bookstore or online (e.g. Amazon).
The course delivery
We will follow a mostly online model for teaching this course. That means that there will not be any in-person lectures. There are three reasons for this: COVID is still around, the lecture time for EECS 2021 overlaps with EECS 1011 (the other class I teach), and online delivery has been shown to be effective. We'll be using zoom sessions at alternate times in lieu of the standard lecture hours, time to be determined.
Regarding labs, we will be focused on mostly online sessions, similar to how it was done for EECS 1011 and 1021 in the 2021-22 academic year. There may be a need or usefulness to do some sessions in-person and this will be communicated to you later on in the semester. One such session, the one in which we modify your EECS 1011 lab kit to permit it to be programmed by the Snap programmer, may be one such instance.
Apart from that, we'll be following the delivery and assessment model that you experienced for EECS 1011 and 1021. That is, no exams, a focus on online delivery and assessment and an optional major project at the end of the semester.
James Andrew Smith is a Professional Engineer and Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department of York University's Lassonde School, with degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta and McGill University. Previously a program director in biomedical engineering, his research background spans robotics, locomotion, human birth and engineering education. While on sabbatical in 2018-19 with his wife and kids he lived in Strasbourg, France and he taught at the INSA Strasbourg and Hochschule Karlsruhe and wrote about his personal and professional perspectives. James is a proponent of using social media to advocate for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as well as evidence-based applications of research in the public sphere. You can find him on Twitter. Originally from Québec City, he now lives in Toronto, Canada.