Gas station without pumps

2013 January 5

Updating to-do list

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:40
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On 2012 Nov 1,  made a to-do list for the circuits class: Notes for things to do on circuits course, and on 2012 Nov 20 I updated it: Updated things to do on circuits course.  The time has come for me to check that list and see how much of it I’ve gotten done, now that the course is about to start.

  • Schedule the lecture. Requested 2012 Oct 27, obtained 2012 Nov 9.
  • Schedule the lab.  Requested 2012 Nov 1, obtained 2012 Dec 4.
  • Advertise the course. I’ve sent e-mail to all the bioengineering students and made a few flyers to put up around campus. Here are the two ads as PDF files: ad1 and ad2.
  • Make a template for the lab handouts. I’m using LaTeX, and the graphics is not as painful as I feared.
  • Start making lab handouts. Three done—only seven more to go. My co-instructor is not dropping any of his other 3 courses, so the handouts are pretty much up to me.
  • Get a university credit card for ordering parts and tools for the student kits that the students will have to buy. Can’t be done. Lab fees would have had to been approved last Spring, no “Pro cards” are available, any orders would have to go through Purchasing anyway, who were closed during break, and several of the vendors are not “qualified” vendors. I put up my own money: 20×$65.50=$1310, not counting the extra parts I bought “for myself” to bring the numbers up to 25 when that was a good pricing breakpoint.
  • Make the parts list and tool list for the student kits. Done: see the parts list.
  • Start finding sources for the parts and tools. See the draft and the final orders.
  • Try out the modified pressure sensor lab. Done see Pressure sensor boards arrived.
  • Redesign the instrumentation amp protoboard. Done. I don’t think I ever blogged about the new design, though I finished it 2012 Nov 26. I bought 50 of the boards, so each student gets 2 and I have 10 left over.
  • Decide whether to include a transistor lab and what it should be. We’re going with FETs and a class-D amplifier, but I’m still working on the FET characterization lab. (See FET modeling lab looking complicated, Class D instead of class AB, and Class D works
  • Come up with a photodetector lab. Still no good ideas here.
  • Try to line up a biologist who can give a guest lecture on excitable cells and action potentials before the EKG lab. Not even looked for possible candidates yet, but we need the lecturer near the end of the quarter, so there is time still.
  • Figure out how much to teach about volume conduction for the EKG lab, and how to teach it.
  • Get lab tech staff to install gnuplot, Arduino, and Python 2.7 on lab computers (unless they are already installed). Done, though my son and I had to go around to all 12 machines and finish the installation for Python and the Arduino drivers.
  • Get son to finish his rewrite of data logger code and test on the lab computers (will require getting him access to the lab over break). He’s released beta versions of the code (see Data logging software for circuits course working).
  • Assemble and test Adafruit data logger shield—considuer using it for course. Assembled and tested, but we’re not going to use it this year.
  • Assemble 12 pressure sensor boards.Assembled 2012 Dec 28, Tested 2012 Dec 29.
  • Order parts and determine price for parts kits.See the parts list.
  • Make up part kits to sell to students.Done—except for the comparator chips, which should arrive Monday or Tuesday.
  • Think about a simpler first soldering project for the students.The hysteresis lab is now the first soldering project.
  • Cut out a dozen wire holders for the Ag/AgCl electrodes.Done. Using the laser cutter was fun.
  • Cut and assemble a dozen stainless-steel electrode pairs.I’ve drilled and cut the plastic for the separators, but I’m waiting for some bolt cutters that I ordered on-line before cutting the stainless steel welding rod.

I still have lots to do:

  • Web site for course. I’ve started the web page for the course, but I have to decide whether to move it from my personal web pages to the traditional location for web pages.  That would allow my co-instructor access, but would mean moving over all the files I already have (not a big deal, really). There is still a lot to do on the site.
  • Design homework problems. I hope my co-instructor has some good ideas here.  I’m willing to put a lot of weight on the lab writeups, but there should be some more problem solving than just the lab design exercises.
  • Write midterm and final exams.  If I’m bad at writing small homework problems, I’m even worse at writing timed test problems.  In most of my courses I avoid tests in favor of lots of big projects (computer programs or papers), but the labs in this course don’t test all the skills we’d like checked, so I think we’ll need exams as well.
  • Write up the other 7 lab handouts.
  • Urgent: Design a sampling and aliasing lab (probably using my co-instructor’s PC board) that is appropriate in size and scope for a 3-hour lab. This is lab 4—the first one that I don’t have a handout for.  If the board is only used for part of the lab, the few copies we have can circulate among partners while those without boards work on other parts of the lab.
  • Design the FET and phototransistor combined lab. This is lab 7, so not quite as urgent as the sampling and aliasing lab.
  • Try to line up a biologist who can give a guest lecture on excitable cells and action potentials before the EKG lab.

 

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