Teaching computer hardware and organization using PIC-based projects
Sarkar, NI; Craig, TM
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Until recently, it has been difficult to motivate students to learn about computer hardware because students find the subject rather dry and theoretical. We have prepared a series of interesting projects that give students a hands-on introduction to computer hardware and organisation. Our projects are designed around the PIC16F84, a powerful 8-bit microcontroller chip that sells for less than $10. The projects are suitable for classroom use in introductory-level courses about computer hardware. The effectiveness of these projects has been evaluated both formally by students (student-evaluation forms) and informally through discussion within the teaching team. The feedback from students indicates that the development and the implementation of the projects were successful. This paper describes the details of the projects completed to date, their overall effectiveness and our plans for further projects.