Fall 2017 Schedule and Syllabus

8/28 – Welcome!
– What topics are you interested in?
– What do you need to learn to build your project(s) this semester?
8/30 Circuit Measurement 1:
How many LEDs can a cellphone charger light up?
Circuit construction and measurement.
Slides: .ppt .pdf
9/4 No class – Labor Day
9/11 Night Light Circuit, Transistors + Soldering
Slides: .ppt  .pdf
Please register ($5) for the
Tue, September 26, 2017 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM MDT
9/13 Project 1 planning
Making noise with the 555 timer 
9/18  Making noise with the 555 timer
9/20 Project 1 planning
Motion and Servos
9/25 Circuit Measurement 2: Using Multimeters to Measure Circuits
10/2 Printed Circuit Board Design Using EAGLE
with Jiffer Harriman
10/4 TBD
10/11  TBD
10/16  TBD
10/18   Project 1 Lab Time
10/23   Project 1 Lab Time
10/25 MIDI and Arduino
10/30  TBD
11/1  TBD
11/6  TBD
11/8  Project 2 planning
11/13  TBD
11/15  TBD
11/20 No class – Fall Break
11/22 No class – Fall Break
11/27  TBD
11/29  TBD
12/4 Project 2 Lab Time
12/6 Project 2 Lab Time
12/11 Project 2 presentations
12/13 Project 2 presentations – last class


Attendance is mandatory. Students are allowed three absences* after which their final grade will be reduced by 10% for each additional absence. Tardiness (arriving more than 10 minutes late or skipping out early) counts as a .333 absence.

As unavoidable circumstances might occur, 3 absences are allowed during the semester. Every additional class missed causes a 10% reduction in a student’s final grade. Extreme lateness counts as 1/3 of an absence. You are responsible for all material and announcements made in class. Do not expect me to catch you up for classes you’ve missed – that’s your responsibility. Critique days are required; an absence that day will impact your grade for that project.

ALL absences fall under these three absences (this includes minor illnesses and injuries, oversleeping, vacations, job interviews, ski-days, family obligations and situations, etc.) so it is not wise to use them all at the start of the semester. In extreme situations such as major illnesses, death in the family (or close friends), religious observances (see below), or school related absences, please talk or email me before your absence.


This is an extremely participatory course. You are expected to participate in discussions and give feedback to other students both in class and participate with their projects. Be cognizant of how you interact in class discussions. If you find yourself commenting more frequently than most other people in the class, step back and give others a chance to contribute (even if you have something to say). If you tend to hesitate to join discussions, challenge yourself to jump in. Additionally, I encourage you to utilize the blogs as a way to connect with your classmates and share your ideas.

I take critiques very seriously. Even if your project is not fully completed, it is required that you come to class to give feedback on your classmate’s projects. It will affect your grade negatively if you do not show up for critique. Work is expected to be completed prior to the critique, do not attempt to finish your project during critique, have everything you need prepared, tested and ready to present. Student computers will be shut off and full participation is expected when projects are being presented.

15% of your final semester grade is based on participation. If you consistently come to class prepared, you are guaranteed to receive a C in this category. Full credit for Participation is reserved for those who go far above and beyond.


Students will be assessed on conceptual ideas, technical skills, critical thinking, documentation, participation and attendance. Projects will be assessed on conceptual thought, creativity, originality and aesthetic qualities, experimentation and use of creative engineering solutions.Work must be presented on the date it is due (even if something isn’t working!).

If you turn in all your work on time (and if it is satisfactorily completed), and if you attend class and participate, you are ensured a C. A’s and B’s are reserved for students who excel beyond average and competent work. Individual projects that are turned in late will result in the grade being lowered for that project. Feedback through the form of critique is also essential; absence from any of the class critiques will result in a drop of one letter grade for that assignment.

Major projects turned in late will be graded 10% lower for each day that they are late. Small weekly lab assignments turned in late will be accepted for half credit for one week after their initial due date. After one week, late small assignments will no longer be accepted for credit.

Points will be allocated based on the following distribution pattern:

Project 1 30%
Project 2 35%
Participation 35%

Letter grades will be assigned based on the following breakdown:

A          94 – 100
A-        90 to 93
B+       87 to 89
B         84 to 86
B-        80 to 83
C+       77 to 79
C         74 to 76
C-        70 to 73
D         60 to 69
F          0 to 50

You are required to earn a C letter grade or higher in order to continue course work in the TAM program.



You will complete two detailed production assignments over the course of the term. You are expected to push your abilities to produce something that utilizes what you have learned in the class and that is useful in some manner to yourself or the world.

Projects are graded based on their concept, creativity/design, and technical sophistication.

Readings & Assignments

Assignments will include relevant readings, videos, and observation exercises. You are expected to document all work to your blog. This includes your successes, failures, reading responses, project ideas and inspirations.

Readings are mandatory! Come to class prepared to discuss any assigned reading materials.

Blog & Documentation

You are expected to keep an online journal of your progress in this course. At a minimum, you are expected to summarize any insights you have in each week’s work, to discuss any readings, and to thoroughly document your labs, projects and technical research. I encourage you to read and comment on each other’s posts.


You’ll need to provide your own  Sparkfun Inventors Kit ($99) (or an equivalent). You can order one and pick it up at Sparkfun in Niwot. [or have it shipped to you.] This kit which will allow you to complete all necessary labs and homework assignments. You are required to bring the materials given to you each class period!

Any additional parts or materials required for projects will be your responsibility to acquire. It is advised to budget approximately $200 for this course to account for materials expenses. Some projects can be completed for less than $15, others might require components and materials costing as much as $150+. You will have full access to the BTU Lab and you are welcome to use the materials there, but you should not rely on these supplies to produce your assignments.


This lab is your maker space! In the second week of the semester we will run a lab orientation session during class. After completing this orientation, all enrolled STUDIO: Electronics students will officially become lab members.

For more about the lab visit BTUlab.com

Course Content

The instructor of this class reserves the right to show a broad range of course materials, some of which assume the audience to be adult in age and demeanor. Should a student feel offended by something they have seen or heard, it would appreciated, but not required, to stay to be part of the dialogue to offer your perspective. However if the student feels that they cannot stay, they are welcome to leave the classroom as discretely as possible.

Freedom of Speech

This class is held in an academic university setting and due to the inherent nature of the internet and broad range of topics that your project work will explore it is inevitable that we will come across issues dealing with politics and religion. My role during such discussions will be a facilitator, a mediator, and as impartial as humanly possible. All students are encouraged to participate in open discussion and academic discourse.


A full list of CU’s academic policies can be found online at http://www.colorado.edu/policies.

Honor Code

All work/ideas/code must be original and created for this class. All code should be written from scratch by you – meaning that although some code is repeatable you should never copy and paste code from other sources and then find and replace your content into it.

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (honor@colorado.edu; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html and at http://www.colorado.edu/academics/honorcode/.

If you fail to meet a guideline by accident, we’ll discuss the situation without taking it to the Honor Council. But if I discover willful intent on your part, I’m obligated to report that to the Honor Council, which has the authority to enforce non-academic corrective action. I retain the authority to enforce academic sanctions, which will range from an F on the project to an F in the course, depending on the severity of the breach of trust.

Classroom Behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html and at colorado.edu/studentaffairs/judicialaffairs/code.html#student_code.


If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner (for exam accommodations provide your letter at least one week prior to the exam) so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at dsinfo@colorado.edu. If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Medical Conditions: Injuries, Surgeries, and Illnesses guidelines under Quick Links at Disability Services website and discuss your needs with your professor.

Religious Rights

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. See full details at http://www.colorado.edu/policies/fac_relig.html.

Discrimination and Harassment

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. (Regent Law, Article 10, amended 11/8/2001). CU-Boulder will not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. For purposes of this CU-Boulder policy, “Protected Classes” refers to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) at 303-492-5550.

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