Deeds:E-Learning Environment for Digital Design Deeds:E-Learning Environment for Digital Design Giuliano Donzellini & Domenico Ponta DIBE – Department of Biophysical and Electronic Engineering University of Genoa, Italy
Deeds is the acronym of Digital Electronics Education and Design Suite… “The Deeds of Gallant Knights” This image from a picture of G. David, XVI Century Paris, Musèe de l'Armèe
Deeds is a set of educational tools for Digital Electronics, characterised by a “learn-by-doing” approach. Deeds covers the following areas: combinational and sequential logic finite state machines microcomputers What is Deeds?
Deeds is conceived for E-Learning applications. Deedsis integrated within the “NetPro” NBPL (Network Based Project Learning) environment. Deedshas been extensively tested in our courses in Genoa. What is Deeds?
Deedstools areavailable to the community of Digital Design teachers. Deedslearning materials can be shared within the community. Deedswebsite…………….. What is Deeds?
The Main and the Assistant browsers, to navigate among lessons, exercises and laboratory assignements A Digital Circuit Simulator, that includes: A schematic Editor An interactive circuit Animator An interactive Timing Simulator What Deeds includes? (1)
A Finite State Machine designer A Microcomputer Board Emulator (include a code editor, an assembler and an interactive debugger) A Student Report Builder What Deeds includes? (2)
The Main and the Assistant browsers can launch the other tools The browsers interact with editors and simulators, providing a true interaction between internet text and experiments Simulators interact with each other Interaction among the tools
The schematic editor allows to merge standard logic circuits with one or more Finite State Machines and an Emulated Microcomputer Board It is possible to experiment with digital systems controlled by state machines and microcomputers, port interfacing and low-level programming of embedded systems The integrated simulation
A collection of tools and text material that help students acquiring: Theoretical foundations of the subject Analysis capabilities Ability to solve problems Practical synthesis and design skills Deeds as Learning Environment
Deeds is a set of tools that teachers can complete with their own materials to suit their pedagogical needs There is no need for a specific authoring tool, because the “lecture space” can be composed with any HTML editor Deeds as a common resource
A lecture based on Deeds appears as web HTML pages with text and figures It looks like a normal document, but many of the figures and visual objects are “Active”: they are connected to the editing and simulation tools of the environment Deeds to teach theory
Exercise assignments are presented as web HTML pages with text and figures The role of Deeds is: To suggest operative guidelines and solution templates (for schematics, diagrams, reports...) To allow the student to check the correctness of solutions before delivering To provide graphical tools for editing and deliver their reports as web pages Deeds to solve exercises
A known issue: with the availability of simulators, students may be tempted to skip manual analysis Deeds suggests a different approach to the exercise structure Exercises can be targeted more to the real understanding of the issues than to the execution of repetitive tasks Downloadable solution templates speed up understanding and solution conceiving A new approach to exercises
The development of a digital system design project is the field where Deeds can fully be exploited Deeds allows the simulation of today’s systems, where standard digital components can be controlled by state machines and/or an embedded microcomputer Deeds to learn to design
Students use the Main browser to download the web pages containing the project assignments Project development phases are guided through the Assistant browser, by giving instructions, help, circuit and diagrams and solution templates Deeds for NBPL project work
In the following, we provide a glimpse on how Deeds tools can be used for a project, combining different techniques of digital design Deeds for practical design
The Main and the Assistant Browsers are opened, showing an index page with aside a project assignment All text and objects in the page can be Active. By clicking on the schematics, the circuit shown will be loaded in the Digital Circuit Simulator, ready to be tested or modified Deeds -The browsers
The basic operations of professional tools have been adapted to the educational needs The components available on the bin are simple to understand We avoided complex real components, that could confuse the beginner Two simulation mode are available:a) Interactive Animationb) Timing diagram Deeds-The d-DcSDigital Circuit Simulator
Timing simulation can be executed in various operation modes Clock and input signals can be easily edited Timing simulation can be interactive, for the beginners, with a event-by- event approach, or can be launched defining a time interval, as in professional tools Deeds- The d-DcS Timing Simulator
Finite State Machines (FSM) can be graphically designed using ASM charts A FSM can be functionally tested , and then stored as component Deeds- The d-FsM Simulator • A d-FsM component can be inserted in the d-DcS schematic editor • A d-FsM component can also be exported in VHDL, to allow reusing it in professional design tools
The Microcomputer Board Emulator includes an 8-bit microprocessor, a RAM and ROM memory system and a simplified parallel I/O ports The 8-bit micro-processor is the DMC8 (a revised and simplified version of the well-known Z80-CPU) Deeds -The d-McEmC Emulator(1)
The Microcomputer Board Emulator allows to edit assembly code with syntax highlighting Assembly code can be partitioned in multi-file projects Assembling, linking and loading operation are transparent to the student Deeds -The d-McEmC Emulator(2)
The Microcomputer Board Emulator allows to debug the assembly code at memory and register level with an interactive visual debugger The debugger allows a full control of the microcomputer operations, including I/O operations Deeds -The d-McEmC Emulator(3)