Course Syllabus

ECE 1250 – Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering

Course Taught:  MWF 9:40-10:30 WEB 1250

Professor: Dr. Cynthia Furse


Office: 210 Park Building (801) 581-7236 OR (after I get moved back in) MEB 2280 (801) 581-7234

Office Hours:  MWF after class until noon

Academic Calendar: (dates to add/drop/withdraw, etc.)

Undergraduate Policies on Appeals, Withdrawals, Equal Access, etc.:

Textbook and Materials Needed for this class See page: Textbooks And Other Resources Needed For This Class


MATH 1210 or 1310 or 1311 (grade of "C" or better) OR AP Calc AB score of 4 or better OR AP Calc BC score of 3 or better.  If (when?) you find you may have forgotten some math information you need in this class, check out the Khan Academy and others linked in the RESOURCE section of the assignments for help.  The MATH tutoring center and TAs are also available to help you.

No previous experience with electronics or programming is assumed or needed in this class. We will be starting from scratch. However, many students in this class will have had some experience, either formal or informal, and a few students will have had a lot of experience.  If you are someone with little or no experience, do not be intimidated!  We will be working together, and the course is designed to start from the beginning. If you are someone with some or much experience, do not be bored!  It is likely we will be looking at the concepts in somewhat different ways than you have in the past, and I hope you will gain new ideas from this way of thinking.  The applications I have included in nearly every lecture are likely to be of interest to students at all levels.  Please do not feel you have to limit your exploration of electrical engineering to only what is in the homework.  Extra credit assignments are given specifically to enable and encourage you to explore areas you are interested in in more depth.  I hope you will enjoy this class as much as I will enjoy teaching it. 

 ECE 1250 Canvas Website:  A link to the course website on Canvas should appear on your CIS login page (the same place you login to register for classes).  When you need to login to Canvas, you use the same username (uID number) and password as you use to login to CIS.  You can also go directly to the Canvas site login: (paste this URL into your browser).

 Course Outcomes:

My big goal is that at the end of this class, you will successfully invent a sensor system of your own choosing.  

At the conclusion of ECE 1250 students should be able to: 

  • Design, evaluate (with theory/math and simulation), build, test, and debug simple electrical/computer engineering circuits using voltage and current sources, resistors and capacitors, op amps, and diodes to accomplish specific engineering tasks. 
  • Explain applications in electrical and computer engineering including: electrical circuit design, sensors, signal processing, communications, electromagnetics, control and embedded systems.
  • Program Matlab for applications in electrical & computer engineering.

FLIPPED CLASS (Step-by-Step) -- ECE 1250 is NOT your average lecture class: What Students Should Know about the Flipped Classroom

 Step 1: 1-2 days BEFORE class... Look at the Question of the Day (QOD).  This is material you will learn in the video lecture/text for that day.   For each lecture, you should make notes in your own words.  This should be about 1 page, but more is allowed.  You will be able to use these notes on the exams. You can add to these notes in class, as you do the homework, or as you study for the exam. Any notes you write can be used on the exam.  The textbook cannot.

 Step 2: 1-2 days BEFORE class ... Watch the lecture videos (OR read the textbook section).  Take notes that answer the QOD. You can use these notes on the exam, but you cannot use your textbook.

 Step 3: Come to class and bring questions from videos.  Class will NOT be a repeat of the lecture videos.  We will work together actively solving examples and some of your homework problems, and answering questions (so bring your questions with you).  And we will talk about how to apply what you are learning in real-world applications.  Teaching this way approximately doubles the amount of time we have together, and gives me time to really work with you on the common problems that crop up in your homework.

 Step 4: Finish your homework THAT DAY.  If you can spend some additional time that day (or at least before the next class) finishing the homework for that day, you will be well-prepared for the next day, which typically builds on the previous day. If you wait until the homework is due the next Monday, you will probably feel somewhat lost as the week progresses. Sure, you can pick this up on the weekend, but that is less efficient. It is fantastic if you can work with other students on your homework, so get a study group together.  You will learn from other people's questions and problems as much as you learn from your own successes.

Go to Step 1 to Prepare for the next day  ...

To do well in this class:  Keep up in class, study hard, do well on  your midterms, and you do not have to take the final exam.  That's right, it is optional.  The final basically serves as a 'retake' for any or all midterms.  But, if you bomb a midterm, or all of them for that matter, all is not lost.  You can completely erase mistakes made during the semester and make up your grade on the final.  The time allotted for the final exam is approximately 2.5 midterm exams, however, so trying to take all the exams during the final exam time is unlikely.  If you do retake an exam at the final, you will automatically receive the higher of the original and retake exam scores.

Homework:  Assignment due dates are noted in the schedule. Turn them in online (preferred method) or in the lockers located on the 2nd floor of the MEB by midnight on the day noted. Homework will not be accepted late.  Details on: How to Turn in Homework

Although collaboration with fellow students on homework assignments and studying is encouraged, you will benefit most from the homework if you attempt to do the problems before consulting with your friends.  While it is perfectly reasonable to discuss your approach to solving the problems with a friend, the final write-up of the solution must be your own work.

Homework will be your main study guide.  Therefore, think of it as preparation for each exam.  Please write clearly, show all of your work in an organized manner, and put problems in the proper order.  Make sure you understand all of the homework.

For most problems the grader will simply check to see that you’ve done it and that your paper shows the necessary work to get the answer. Only a few problems will be checked in greater detail. You should review the homework solution provided to be sure your method is correct. You may collaborate with others to learn how to do the homework, but you must write down your solution in your own hand.

You will probably learn more from doing the homework than any other part of this class. If you thoroughly understand the homework, you will know what the class is about, and the exams will be easier for you.  Solutions to the homework will be posted on the course website.

Matlab Homework:  These assignments are similar to other homework assignments but involve writing code in MATLAB.  Matlab assignments are required.  You will be given a failing grade for the course if Matlab work falls below 70%

Labs:   Lab will be held weekly. This week (Week 1), there are no labs. Next week (Week 2), do the labs at home (learn to use Multisim, and install your MyDaq). The third week, ATTEND your regular lab session to start on Lab 1. Many of the subjects covered in lab aren’t covered anywhere else in class, so make sure you pay attention and read the lab handouts.  All lab work must be done in the lab under the supervision of your lab TA. You must have the lab TA initial or grade your work before leaving the lab each week or you will not receive credit for that lab. You must do your OWN lab work.

Labs: TA's and Overview

Lab attendance is mandatory.  Be sure to make-up any labs you miss or fail by making arrangements with your TA.  You will be given a failing grade for the course if lab work falls below 70%.  Lab work is due the following week. Labs that are late up to one week receive 75% credit, labs that are late up to two weeks late receive 50% credit, labs that are late up to three weeks late receive 25%, and labs that later than three weeks late receive no credit.  

Permission codes and Lab Waiting Lists: If you want to change your lab section, and the one you want is full, please submit a permission code request form (use 2nd link) to get on the waiting list.  Mandi Peterson processes the requests and can let you know how many are ahead of you, so you have an idea if you are likely to get into that section or not.  Mandi also handles permission codes for the class, with the permission of the professor.  If you are needing special permission for some reason, please email me.

Exams:  Four midterms are scheduled as shown on the class schedule.  Please check your personal schedule to be sure that you do not have conflicts with these exams.  You must take exams on the day listed in the schedule on the Home page unless you have a university excused absence.  At the instructor's discretion, student may be allowed to take oral make-up exams in cases of emergency and with advance notice.  The final exam will give you a chance to improve earlier exam scores, as described above in "To do well in this class."

Extra Credit:  Extra Credit can be used if you forget to turn in your homework, if you just don’t do it, etc.   These can be used to give you a maximum of 100% on your combined HW/Lab scores.  Extra credit assignments can be turned in  through the last day of class.  You can find extra credit throughout the semester on the class website.

Errors: If you find a mistake in the online lecture notes, textbook, solution manual, lab handouts, etc., email me the mistake (details, please, so I can fix it!) plus your corrections.  You may receive extra homework points for mistakes found, if you are the first person in the class to notice them. Here are errors already found in the textbook (sorry, no extra credit points for these!) 

Schedule:  Refer to the course Schedule on the Home Page for due dates of homework and labs. This information is subject to modification by announcements in class or by information sent via email or by changes in the online versions of the schedule.

HOMEWORK, LAB & EXAM RETURN: Items you turn in on canvas will be graded on canvas, no paper required. Items turned in on paper will be returned in the ECE homework return room across from the ECE office.  It is open 8am-5pm. Work for ECE1250 will be returned in the black file cabinet, in a folder with your "homework return number" on it. You can find your number in the first column of the canvas grade sheet, or posted on the side of the file cabinet. PLEASE WRITE YOUR NUMBER ON ANY PAPER YOU TURN IN. IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR ITEMS RETURNED THIS WAY, please notify me by email.


Midterm 1 or Final Part 1          17%

Midterm 2 or Final Part 2          17%

Midterm 3 or Final Part 3          17%

Midterm 4 or Final Part 4          17%

Homework                                  7%

Matlab Homework                      10%

Labs                                          15%

Total                                         100%

Extra Credit                                 can bring your total HW / Lab score up to 100%

Grades are assigned by an absolute grading scale based on percentage total for course:

≥ 93%    A       ≥ 90%    A-

≥ 87%    B+     ≥ 83%    B      ≥ 80%    B-

≥ 77%    C+     ≥ 73%    C      ≥ 70%    C-

≥ 67%    D+     ≥ 63%    D      > 60%    D-

≤ 60%    E 

** MATLAB and LAB scores must be >70% to receive a passing grade in the course.

Work Load:  It is anticipated that a typical student will need to spend the following amount of time each week:

3 hours watching videos

3 hours in class

3 hours in lab

6-9 hours on homework

1-2 hours on prelab and writeup

Additional time studying for exams.

16+ hours per week

 PLEASE plan your schedule so that you have time to learn the material.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to teach you about electrical & computer engineering, which I hope you have as much fun with in your career as I have in mine.  I am very confident that you will find many times in your career when you will be able to apply this material, and I hope that you will not only learn from the class but enjoy it as well.  

Disability Accommodations:  The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities.  If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD).  CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.  All written information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.

Please also see: College of Engineering Course guidelines (withdrawal dates and policies, etc.)  If the dates in the guidelines have not yet been updated, please see the Academic Calendar for this semester.

Cheating Policy:  Just don't

Here are some things that constitute cheating in this class:

1)     Copying someone else's work on an exam.  If you accidentally see another student's work on an exam, WRITE a NOTE in your exam and tell me during the exam.  Honesty is of great value.  You will not be penalized for this.  Do not pass any papers to anyone for any reason during the exam.  Do not sit near your study partners during the exam.  If you use any scratch paper for doing exam problems, please just staple it at the back of your exam.  Loose scratch paper could look like notes passed between students.

2)     Copying someone else's work on homework or labs.  I hope you WILL work in groups on your homework, labs, Matlab assignments, etc.  And I hope that every team member will contribute to this work.  If you do not contribute (had to work late, missed the lab, and couldn't make the group meeting), then don't copy their work. 

What happens if you cheat?  Under UofU policy, you can (and will) receive an E in the class, be suspended from school, or be expelled from the university.  So just don't cheat.

What happens if someone else cheats?  Statistically, this could lower YOUR grade.  Please tell me or the TA or any other professor or TA (anonymously is fine) if you see instances of cheating in this or any other class.  The ECE Department is committed to reducing instances of cheating in our labs and classes in order to provide the best possible education for all students.  I have worked to set up my class so that there is no need nor reason to cheat.  Just learn the material, and let me give you the credit for what you have learned.

I'm glad to have you in my class!  I hope this will be a great semester for you, that you will learn a lot of really interesting things, and that you will fan the spark of interest you have in engineering into a good flame!

-Your Professor, Dr. Furse



Course Summary:

Date Details Due