Another semester has begun, and it is thus time for my class impressions post. The chain to previous semesters’ before/after posts begins here. I have only the one class left toward my masters’ degree, plus working on the project, and teaching.
EE611: Deterministic Systems/ Zhang
This class is looking a lot like a warmed over version of the first 2/3 of controls, which I took several semesters ago as EE572 Digital Controls from Dr. Walcott. It took me about half the semester to get the hang of things in there, so another opportunity to solidify my understanding of systems manipulation isn’t a bad thing. The early indications are that the lectures are …discombobulating… rather than useful, but between the book, notes, and materials from last time I think I can handle it anyway. It doesn’t look to be unreasonably difficult, and the elastic grading policy puts a safety margin in place in case it turns out to be. Somewhat disappointingly, this class glosses over the modeling process too; I’d love to actually learn how to formally develop models of existing systems so the analysis/control techniques are actually useful, rather than just elaborate exercises in linear math.
EE281:Digital Logic Lab /Me (+Jeff Ashley)
Based on feedback from students and faculty, I seem to have the system down pretty well for running this lab, and actually do feel like I have a pretty good handle on it. With a few changes to the class to address problems that cropped up last time (no, you can NOT start that lab from 5 weeks ago that you never made up…), I think things should run pretty smoothly. Dr. Ashley has indicated he’ll be a little more hands off this semester, and I think I’m up to the greater autonomy. I’d like to make a few changes on the same scale as last time, and now that I have some of the nontechnical matters situated more to my liking (ex: my nice formal (work saving) grading scheme), the changes can be more material-oriented. Perhaps getting HD44780 character displays (nice, simple parallel protocol with good visual feedback) into one of the later labs, or some similar practical tools with good theoretical underpinnings. I have every expectation that I will be spending an absolutely obscene amount of time in the lab again, but I actually feel good about the whole thing. I really rather like teaching.
My research is starting to make decent progress, I’m optimistic about teaching, and the remaining class looks perfectly tolerable; it should be a good semester.