Gas station without pumps

2021 December 2

Help needed with writing blurb

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 08:56
Tags: , , ,

I need to write a draft blurb for my textbook as part of the “promotional questionnaire”, and that is something I’ve always been bad at.  I’ve not been able to make the book sound as good as I think it is. Can anyone provide some suggestions?

Here is what I have so far:

2. Book Information

2.1. Describe the aims and scope of the book.

This textbook is for a first course on electronics. It assumes no prior electronics experience, but does assume that students have had calculus 1 (single-variable differential calculus) and high-school physics. A key idea of the course is that students need a lot of design experience and hands-on work, rather than a lot of theory. The course is centered around the labs, which are a mix of design labs and measurement/modeling labs.

The book is also intended for hobbyists and students on a limited budget to be able to learn from without a course. The inexpensive equipment needed is described in the Preface.

The book is intended to take students from knowing no electronics to being able to design and build amplifier and filter circuits for connecting sensors to microcontrollers within 20 weeks.  Students design a digital thermometer, a blood-pressure meter, an optical pulse monitor, an EKG, an audio preamplifier, and a class-D power amplifier.  They also learn how to measure and characterize components, including impedance spectroscopy of a loudspeaker and of electrochemical electrodes.

2.2 Explain why the book is important in the field or market. Feel free to elaborate on the value it can provide to the readers.

Many educators have seen the need for getting engineering students to do hands-on projects early in their education, but few textbooks exist to support ambitious projects with few prerequisites—most either develop foundational math and never get to design or assume that the foundations have already been covered in a previous course.  This book was deliberately written for a design-first approach, in which the design projects are the center of the course, with just-in-time teaching of concepts as they are needed for the projects.

The book focusses on three building-block concepts that are used over and over: voltage dividers, complex impedance, and negative-feedback amplifiers.  Despite the simplicity of these concepts, they provide powerful tools for doing design.

The book does not shy away from non-linear components, as it has students design a log-transimpedance amplifier for the optical pulse monitor and uses FETs as switches in the class-D power amplifier.

Although the book can certainly be used for teaching electrical engineering majors, it was aimed primarily at non-EE engineering majors (bioengineers).

2.3. Describe 3 key selling points of your book (e.g., how it differs from competing titles; unique treatment of certain topics; new edition/material; prominent authors or contributors).

  1. This book is centered around the design labs, rather than using labs just to illustrate concepts, the concepts are introduced just in time to support the work of the labs. Design is started right away, rather than building a lot of foundations with the usual empty promise that they will be useful “later”.
  2. The labs are mostly centered around the small amount of analog electronics needed for connecting sensors to computers and are chosen to appeal to a wide range of  engineering students, not just electrical engineers. In fact, bioengineering students were the primary audience for the first several years, and many labs are measuring heart function (blood pressure, optical pulse measurement, and EKG). The class-D power-amp lab also introduces H-bridges, which are a major concept for motor controllers and mechatronics.
  3. Three basic concepts (voltage dividers, complex impedance, and negative-feedback amplifiers) are used over and over in different ways, encouraging students to learn engineering as creative reuse of building blocks, rather than as memorizing piles of unrelated formulas.

5 Comments »

  1. Hello,

    Just impressed by your electronic projects on your website!

    We would like to support you to finish the project with providing free PCB
    board or maybe cooperate in other terms you may be interested in.

    Hope to get your reply.

    Comment by wendy wen — 2021 December 2 @ 22:33 | Reply

    • I have no need of free PCBs—the small boards I occasionally use are dirt cheap. For example, the half H-bridge boards for the power-amp lab cost about 1¢ each (with 6¢ each for shipping). The biggest boards I use are 2-layer 50mm×50mm and cost about 50¢ each. I’ve not designed any new boards for a while—I think that the last one was in 2017—but I might do some in the coming year. I’ll probably have to learn KiCAD, as I don’t like the license now required to use Eagle.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2021 December 2 @ 23:11 | Reply

  2. My book is still in production, but my editor helped a lot with the marketing blurb. Basically she took all the text I spewed out for the marketing survey, and she somehow selected bits that made a plausible blurb. Which I then edited. So maybe your publisher can help here.

    Comment by Norman Ramsey — 2021 December 6 @ 11:25 | Reply

    • My publisher is helping, but their first rewrite of the blurb is no better than mine.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2021 December 6 @ 11:35 | Reply

      • Their second rewrite of the blurb by the editor was ok, though I think it will still need work. They have not gotten their marketing experts involved yet.

        Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2021 December 10 @ 21:28 | Reply


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