ECE 198JS James Scholars Honors Course

NOTICE: ECE 198 JS1 will have its first meeting on Tuesday, August 29, from 6-7:50pm.

NOTICE: ECE 198 JS2 will have its first meeting on Thursday, August 31, from 6-7:50pm.

There will be no meeting the first week of classes.


Important Course Sites

For ideas, check out our Wiki of Past Projects



Prof. Christopher D. Schmitz





Course Outline:


Credit: 1 hour

This course will provide resources for first-year students to apply electrical and computer engineering concepts to an open-ended project design in their first year on campus. Students will generally work in pairs to plan and execute the project, resulting in a working prototype. For James Scholars only; must be co-enrolled in ECE 110 or ECE 120. Repeatable once.



1.      Overview of Engineering Design

2.      Engineering trade-offs, seeking alternative solutions, and a minimum viable product

3.      Overview of popular IC solutions and datasheet exploration

4.      Best practice in circuit construction through a mini project

5.      Soldering

6.      Hardware debugging

7.      Introduction to PCB design (Eagle, KiCAD)

8.      Benchtop Equipment usage (basic through intermediate level)

9.      Setting project goals, responsibilities, and timeline

10.  Flowcharts

11.  Introduction to 3d printing

12.  Introduction to laser cutting (pending access to a laser cutter)

13.  Introduction to Computer-Aided Design

14.  Circuit Simulation (LTspice)

15.  Logic design (Quartus)

16.  FPGA (optional)


Course Structure:

Students will attend one of two full-term laboratory sections:

JS1 T 6-7:50 pm, 1001 ECEB

JS2 R 6-7:50 pm, 1001 ECEB



There are no exams, but two low-stakes midterm reports and demonstrations and an end-of-term report and demonstration.



Project proposal and peer reviews (10%)

Biweekly journal and mentor assessment (20%)

Mini project and demo (5%)

Midterm progress reports and Checkpoint demonstrations (20%).

Final report (25%) and demonstration (15%)

End-of-term peer-review (5%)


Relation with other ECE courses:

Corequisite: ECE 110 or ECE 120 as it is designed to allow students to apply topics from these courses as they cover them.


ENG 177   Engineering First-Year Experience Seminars   credit: 1 to 2 Hours.

Like this honors course, ENG 177 is designed for first-year students to work in teams. The different sections of ENG 177 correspond to different disciplines and every team does the same predefined experiments. ENG 177 may be repeated in the same or separate terms for a maximum of 4 hours. ECE 199 JS is different in that it allows for open-ended projects increasing autonomy and self-efficacy, while leveraging the learning objectives specific to ECE 110 and ECE 120.



Tuesday or Thursday, 6-7:50 pm.

Activities by Lecture (tentative schedule):

1.     Lecture 1: Intro to Honors and design, student meet-and-greet to brainstorm on project ideas.

2.     Lecture 2: Proposal outline. Introduction to basic electronics through mini-project workshop 1.How to use basic electronics and lab equipment, debugging.

3.     Lecture 3: 

a.      Mini project workshop 2,

c.      First-draft project proposals to be submitted

4.     Lecture 4: 

a.      Mini project workshop 3, Soldering, same circuit from Lecture 3.

b.     CAD and 3D print tutorial

c.      Last-draft Project proposals to be submitted

5.     Lecture 5: 

a.      Mini project workshop 3: how to use microcontrollers (Arduino), same circuit.

b.     Mentor assignment

c.      Parts to be ordered

d.     3D print requests to be submitted to a queue

6.     Lecture 6: 

a.      Mini project report and demo

b.     Benchtop equipment deeper study

c.      Team mentoring

7.     Lecture 7: 

a.      Review rubric and expectations for first mid-term report and demo with students

b.     PCB design tutorial

8.     Lecture 8: 

a.      First mid-term report and demo

b.     LTspice tutorial

9.     Lecture 9: 

a.      Project work period

b.     Optional: Logic design (Quartus) tutorial

10.  Lecture 10: 

a.      Project work period

b.     Optional: FPGA tutorial

11.  Lecture 11: 

a.      Second mid-term report and demo

12.  Lecture 12: 

a.      Explore rubric and expectations for final report, video, and presentation with students

b.     Train students for peer-review process

13.  Lecture 13:

a.      Project work period

14.  Lecture 14:

a.      End-of-term report, demonstration, and video