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CSEET 2010: Day 2 - Papers

Summary notes from paper presentations on 2nd Day of CSEET 2010...

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Arosha K Bandara
10 March 2010

Summary notes from paper presentations on 2nd Day of CSEET 2010

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A Comprehensive Embedded Systems Lab for Teaching Web-based Remote Software Development

Janusz Zalewski, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA

Real-time systems are embedded in very demanding applications and are taught mainly from the perspective of specification and design, rather than implementation and testing of such systems.  

Reasons for this includes:  Hardware/Software maintenance issues, need local expertise in low-level programming to support the system, etc.

This work shows how it is possible to use web-based development and testing of real-time embedded systems.  Lots of different hardware platforms are available for students to use.

Projects focus on remote access to data acquisition, instrumentation and control.  Develop software at home, cross compile and upload to an actual device in the lab.

Paper presents a number of demonstration projects - including FPGA programming, wireless sensor networks and others.

FGCU has built and tested an extensive infrastructure for this type of project.  The infrastructure supports over 36 students undertaking project courses.

The FGCU team are interested in finding international collaborators for developing and applying this technology. At present it is only a proof of concept, and needs more infrastructure to allow it to be scaled to larger student numbers.

Arosha K Bandara
15:02 on 10 March 2010 (Edited 15:17 on 10 March 2010)

Using LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and LeJOS in an Advanced Software Engineering Course

Michael W. Lew, Thomas B. Horton, Mark S. Sherriff, University of Virginia, USA

Mindstorms NXT - programmable 'brick' (microcontroller, sensor a/d converter), bluetooth and USB communications.  Education kit includes, brick, three motors, sensors for distance measurement (sonar), etc.  Relatively cheap - approx. US$300 for a educational kit.

Mindstorms NXT are used widely in entry level computing courses, and at UVa are also used in 1st year Engineering courses.  Also sometimes used for AI, Embedded Systems, Computer Architectures and OS courses.

Early courses use these for simple applications, aimed at learning problem solving skills, algorithms, learning to use an IDEs.

LeJOS: Allows programming of the 'brick' using Java (replaces standard firmware with a JAva VM.

UVa project course emphasises using software engineering process, team working etc. to build a single large systems using the Lego Mindstorms NXT kit.  Not using robots for the sake of learning about robotics, AI, etc., but to teach software engineering.

Robotics platform present a number of real-world challenges - equipment doesn't work as expected, communications delays need to be handled, use of 3rd party libraries.

Project course has a lecture component, hands on labs and studio labs (students prepare some prototype demo, or other software engineering artefact, such as a test plan, requirements document, etc, and present it to the class for critical feedback).

Minor project: Control robot on a course, simple sensing and data transmission. Quite well specified, giving students a chance to become comfortable with the development platform.

Major project: Autonomous robot, searching a maze and communicating with other robots.  Goals include producing all requirements and design artefacts, presentation and reviews, working in small groups on overall project goal.

Assessment based on: Grading of all the deliverables, End of term 'Robot games' - lots of fun and gives students a lot of satisfaction.  Does take a lot of time though!


  • students liked the platform for software engineering project and really do engage with these project.  However, some didn't feel that all course learning objectives were met. Bluetooth communications don't always work as expected and led to a lot of frustration.
  • instructors didn't find the project hugely useful for teaching concepts such as threading, protocols or communications.  It was better at teaching software engineering techniques.  However, it was a very useful experience for teaching students the overall software development process.


Arosha K Bandara
15:22 on 10 March 2010 (Edited 15:49 on 10 March 2010)

Information Systems Application Development  Courses: Experiences in Global Pedagogy

Randy Weinberg, Raja Sooriamurthi, Jeria Quesenberry

CMU has made a significant commitment to global education. Information Systems have been leading the way in this area - and have developed a curriculum that can support students in both the US and Qatar.

Requirement is that CMU curriculum, degree and awards are all the same wherever the student is studying from.

Information Systems curriculum focusses on using technology to help improve the processes people use.

CMU in Qatar: Full degree programmes in Pittsburgh and Qatar. Common curriculum, common assessments, common student services, distant student collaboration.  Students should be able to change locations without noticing!

Differences between the programmes in Pittsburgh and Qatar are necessary due to cultural differences.  Qatar Foundation has established a University City which has invited different universities to offer programmes in particular areas of expertise.  For example CMU does CS, Business and IS, but Georgetown does International Relations and Foreign Policy education.  Courses in the CMU IS programme are:

  • IS Millieux
  • Fundamentals of Systems Development: includes business process re-engineering, computer architectures, creative design.
  • IS Application (capstone project course with real client)
  • IS Concepts (taught by CMU CS Dept)
  • App D&D
  • SD Project (realistic junior project, but no real client)
  • Global Systems Delivery Models (elective): half-semester (2 credit) course that covers different systems delivery models for software around the world.  Initially based around case studies but later revised to use more learning by doing.
  • Global Project Management (elective)
  • Special Topics (elective)

Course development process needs to blend backgrounds of each member of the course team.  Course materials need to be sensitive to the differences in local context - e.g., paying for parking is different in the US and in Qatar.

Challenges posed by needing different study calendars due to local customs and holidays.

VLE used is Blackboard - although the Qatar system cannot share information with Pittsburgh system.



Arosha K Bandara
16:15 on 10 March 2010 (Edited 02:26 on 11 March 2010)

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