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Pedagogy in a Pandemic: Teaching without Exams

Pedagogy in a Pandemic: Teaching without Exams

This is the first semester that I've taught 100% online.  The Fall 2020 lockdown and the YorkU strike in 2018 gave me a taste of what it would be like and alerted me to the need for restructuring of my classes in order to make them more favourable to learning.  During the pandemic, students are struggling but […]

Modifying an Arduino for MPLAB X

Modifying an Arduino for MPLAB X

To allow the UNO to be programmed by the PICKit 4 via the ICSP header (circled in blue, below), we need to cut the reset signal trace that links the '328P processor to the USB Bridging chip that is also found on the UNO, the MEGA16U2. There are also two other wires that we won't […]

2020/21's First Year Students: Arduinos, Matlab and Java

2020/21's First Year Students: Arduinos, Matlab and Java

Introduction The 1st year programming courses in the Lassonde School at YorkU were revamped for the 2020/21 school year so that students could do hands-on lab activities from home.  The students took two programming classes: Matlab procedural programming in Fall 2020 Java object-oriented programming in Winter 2021 In both courses the students used Arduino-compatible hardware […]

“Home Security and Automation” Project Description

“Home Security and Automation” Project Description

[What the project is to achieve, a half to one page. Please describe the educational component of the project.] Home security projects are relatively common for engineering and computer science students.  They typically focus on a superficial and limited technical implementation. The objective of this project is to learn how to design a system that […]

A Project to Compare C and C++

A Project to Compare C and C++

I want to spend my sabbatical year re-thinking my perspective on C++ and Assembler and how to teach engineering and computer science material using those two languages. To keep myself focused I'll need a target application, ideally with hardware.  In fact, two applications would be ideal: Controlling chip heat Alarm system The first application would […]

Rethinking C, C++ and Assembler

Rethinking C, C++ and Assembler

I don't like Assembler programming.  I was forced to use it in 1997 in EE 380 on the Motorola 68000 with Prof NelsonDurdle at the University of Alberta.  Ditto, for C++.  My C professor, Prof. Martin Mintchev, in EE 445 convinced me that it was bloated and terrible.  So, since that time, I've been programming in C on […]

2020/21's First Year Students: Arduinos, Matlab and Java

2020/21's First Year Students: Arduinos, Matlab and Java

  Introduction The 1st year programming courses in the Lassonde School at YorkU were revamped for the 2020/21 school year so that students could do hands-on lab activities from home.  The students took two programming classes: Matlab procedural programming in Fall 2020 Java object-oriented programming in Winter 2021 In both courses the students used Arduino-compatible […]

Simulating Micros from Command Line

Simulating Micros from Command Line

Introduction Microchip's MPLAB X permits simulation from the command line.  This is interesting from the perspective of teaching if we have automatically-graded programming assignments that take the student's program and runs it against a simulated chip in an LMS like Moodle. Background I'm interested in how we can use the MDB in MPLAB X to […]

Recent interviews, podcasts and webcasts...

Recent interviews, podcasts and webcasts...

I had the privilege of participating in three interviews this summer. Podcast or Perish with Prof. Graham Cameron (epidsode link) The Montreal NewTech "Deep Dive" webcast with Simran Kanda (episode link) The Lassonde Engineering Society's inFlux podcast (episode Link) Update: here's another podcast link for April 2021: Stark Talks (Lassonde Students): Spotify link,Youtube link,Apple Podcast […]

Privacy Smart Watches

Privacy Smart Watches

So, you're in the market for a "smart" watch that might do things like tell you where you are and what your heart rate is.  There are two issues with most smart watches that make them bad designs: lack on anonymity (privacy) and terrible battery life.  If you don't want to compromise on those two […]