Advances in the use of online classes have been a recent revolution in the university system. Perhaps you have already benefited from taking classes online from Stanford or Yale in topics as diverse as Game Theory or Security. I have been very impressed with the quality of these types of classes and the variety of engineering related topics that are available.
Perhaps you didn't know that there are a variety of classes, both live and archived, offered via the Design News Continuing Education Center (CEC) sponsored by Digi-Key. These classes take about an hour a day and run for a week covering a specific topic. The classes are audio broadcasts using Power Point slides you download just prior to the class. You follow along with the lecture by viewing the slides and listening to the lecturer. After the lecture you can ask questions via an online chat function so you can get questions answered or add your thoughts to the discussion.
Many of these classes are directly related to programmable logic -- either MCUs or FPGAs or both. You can view the entire list of archived classes here. Here are some short descriptions for several classes that I think would be interesting to most readers of Design News -- all are available immediately via the archive: Designing with ARM® Cortex®-M4 (& a Real Dev Board): This class illustrates the entire development flow for a typical ARM Cortex-M4 design using the (optional) STMicroelectronics STM32F3 Development board. Shows everything you need to download the free development tools and use several reference designs to show you how to get a head start on your own design.
Design Products with Blue Tooth Low Energy: This class shows how to easily implement Blue Tooth low-energy designs using several available reference design including TI MSP430, Digilent ChipKIT PIC 32MX320F128H development board, Anaren A2541 BLE reference design hosted on a PIC32MX695F512H, and the Em-Browser targeting a B-SMART reference design.
Embedded Software Development With Python and Raspberry Pi: This class covers everything from the Python language itself, where to get it, how to target the Raspberry Pi, how to control Raspberry Pi peripherals, and even shows an example Internet of Things weather station design. By the end of the class you will be ready to do your own designs.
MCU Software Development- A Step-by-Step Guide (Using a Real Eval Board): This class uses the Atmel XMEGA MCU family as an example target for developing embedded code. Students follow along with the step-by-step process by downloading and installing their own software tools (free) so they can run the example designs.
An Introduction to FPGAs with Embedded Processors: This class describes the variety of FPGA devices that now have embedded processors on-chip. Several design examples are used to show where you might best use these types of devices in your designs.
An Introduction to Programmable Logic: This class covers programmable logic from the look-up tables and switches that define the basic programmable fabric to the software tools and "hard" blocks that extend programmable logic into complete system building blocks.
Check out the full curriculum -- I’m sure you will find something of interest. I have been teaching classes, about one a quarter, for the past couple of years and I’d be interested in leading any additional classes you, our readers, are interested in. Leave your ideas in the comments section below and I will do my best to add them to one of my future courses!
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