National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education
Digital Logic Design: Meeting Industry’s Needs
Through University & Community College Collaboration

Digital Logic Design: Meeting Industry’s Needs
Through University & Community College Collaboration

This project will reshape the way digital logic design is taught in the electrical engineering technology programs at Michigan Technological University and the College of Lake County. Instead of teaching topics and skills that are quickly becoming out-of-date and less important to employers, curriculum revisions will match current industry needs for skills in hardware description language and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) design. The new curriculum will provide students with a hands-on educational experience that is well-respected and desired by industry. Results from this project will provide a replicable model for electrical engineering technology programs at both two-year (community college) and four-year institutions. Resources will be disseminated through a variety of means including workshops, conferences, and publications.

The project objectives are:

  1. Provide Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) two-year and four-year students with current and relevant skills in digital logic design by:
    • Updating both the two-year and four-year electrical engineering technology curriculum with new concepts and skills in logic design.
    • Establishing Re-Configurable Computing Labs at each institution to demonstrate the value of state-of-the-art, hands-on training experiences and support the course changes.
  2. Develop faculty expertise in teaching VHDL and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) design by participating in FPGA vendor training workshops.
  3. Train faculty members at similar institutions (both two-year and four-year programs) to build expertise in logic design using VHDL.
  4. Contribute to the advancement of programmable logic design by providing the Electrical Engineering Technology Program undergraduate students (and students at partner community colleges) research opportunities in hardware modeling and Field Programmable Gate Array design.
  5. Develop a pipeline and encouragement for two-year students to explore options in four-year EET programs.
  6. Utilize new facilities (re-configurable computer lab) for outreach to impact long-term diversity of the undergraduate student body in EET programs at the ATE partner institutions.
  7. Disseminate newly developed course content widely to significantly impact the future electrical engineering technology workforce by encouraging course enhancements in other EET programs.

Michigan Tech University

Michigan Tech is a public university committed to providing a quality education in engineering, science, business, technology, communication, and forestry. The fall 2011 enrollment showed a total of over 7,000 students, including 1200 (~19%) graduate students. Over 61% of Michigan Tech students are enrolled in engineering and technology programs. The School of Technology offers programs covering the entire spectrum of technology. The School awards bachelor’s degrees in Computer Network & System Administration, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Surveying Engineering.

The School of Technology offers high-quality academic programs that strive to meet the immediate and future needs of industry. Our strategic plan calls for us to be nationally recognized for programs that advance technological education through excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement. Our technology program is unique in that we offer significant hands-on lab experiences and applied research opportunities. These experiences complement the classroom experience and prepare students for careers in a wide range of industries.

College of Lake County

The College of Lake County (CLC) serves a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse county located north of Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1969, CLC offers the following degrees: Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Fine Arts (AFA), Associate in Science (AS), Associate in Applied Science (AAS) and Associate in Engineering Science (AES). The college also provides courses leading to many certificates, continuing education classes, distance learning, Internet/hybrid courses, and field study. The college’s fall 2011 headcount enrollment was over 18,000.