With the increased utilization of microcontrollers in a wide range of situations, there is a need for engineering students to have a solid foundation of understanding in the theory and use of these devices. Applications in the fields of communications, control, computation, robotics, bio-medical research and consumer electronics are demanding versatile engineers who can design across a wide spectrum of market needs. Since English is widely used in the literature of the subject, and is the preferred medium for international conferences, the exposure of students to technical material in English will be of value for the future. With the expansion of contact with overseas organizations and academics the ability to converse on technical subjects in English will become increasingly important.
This course has been tailored to meet the needs of students who will be practicing their engineering in environments where English will be used, either orally or in written form. The methodology for teaching the course is the use of a purpose-written English-language textbook, comprehensive Power Point presentations with both English and Chinese labeling, and oral lectures and tutorials given in English or Chinese. The lecture part of the course is reinforced by a set of relevant experiments designed to clarify the details of the theory. Experience with the pilot lecture course has shown that the students in general welcome the use of English, and that their ability to comprehend, answer questions and interact with the lecturer is of sufficient standard to make the course of high educational value.
The topics covered in the lectures and textbook include the history of microcontroller development, the hardware configuration of the MCS-51 devices, the instruction set, special function registers, assembly-language programming, the handling of interrupts, timer and counters, the serial port, memory and port expansion, interfacing to electrical, optical and mechanical devices, C-language programming, fuzzy-logic control with microcontrollers, and system design methods.