ECE 465 Teaching Philosophy

ECE 368
Teaching Philosophy
Shantanu Dutt
ECE Dept.
Teaching Philosophy
• Four Pillars:
– In-depth understanding of basic/fundamental principles:
Besides understanding of fundamental issues, this also allows
you to derive more complex results w/o blind memorization
(you can only memorize so many things, but you can certainly
understand and thus remember basic principles, which are
fewer in number
– Analytical and thinking-based approach: Understand the why
of various techniques, besides the how and what. Pursue the
material to understand designs’ or design techniques’ pros
and cons in depth, and explore alternative solutions
– Mathematical approach: Will also mathematically analyze
various metrics (e.g., runtime complexity, hardware
complexity/cost, delay) of design techniques and designs. Will
also prove properties of designs and design techniques
(correctness theorems, etc.).
– Pursue excellence in whatever we do, and success will follow
Corollaries of Teaching Philosophy
• Problem solving (designing stuff) to be stressed
• Analysis and theoretical point-of-view to be stressed
• Interesting and challenging homeworks:
– Theoretically/mathematically oriented Qs, along w/ design oriented
• Interesting and challenging projects/labs—will test your problem
solving skills, and your abilities to:
– Design stuff in a formal/theoretically-oriented manner (as opposed to
ad hoc)
– Analyze your design
– Use CAD tools to design circuits and to simulate them
– Write well-organized scholarly reports
No multiple choice Qs in exams
Rote memorization undesirable and useless
Pattern matching undesirable and useless
Exams are fair and test your in-depth understanding of material,
and based on this understanding, your ability to solve problems,
design circuits and prove theoretical results
• Exams will not be rewordings of homework problems with
different numbers
Advantages of Teaching Philosophy
• You can become a thinking and darn good engineer!
• The intellectual/theoretical treatment of the material will
tune your mind to think problems through, which will be
beneficial to you in all fields
– Do you know, for example, why top-rated boxers do a lot of runnning
for months before a title fight?
– Ans: To increase muscle strength and stamina that will be useful for
boxing 15 rounds, not for running
– Similarly, a good dose of intellectual thought on ECE 368 material,
will build your “mental muscles”, allowing you to excel in other
areas, including of course digital design (even though you may not
prove theorems in your job, your mental muscles will have been
built up by doing them in ECE 368, and possibly other courses, and
this can help you be a good and skilled engineer)
• Today’s high-tech careers involves complex problem
solving, and the type of issues we will stress in ECE 368,
will allow you to excel in your future high-tech job and
Should you take this course?
• You should take this course if:
You are comfortable with the teaching philosophy outlined
You like (or think can begin to like) intellectual thinking
Find complex topics interesting
Like solving challenging problems
Like somewhat mathematical treatment of material
Achievement of complex tasks gives you internal satisfaction
• This may not be a course to your liking if:
– You only like easy things
– You only like being taught a craft (what to do, how to do), but could
not care less about the scientific/mathematical underpinnings of the
– You do not like to work hard for courses
– Achievement of complex tasks does not give you much internal
• Do note what President Kennedy had said, I think, wrt to the
mission of landing men on the moon (to paraphrase): “We
should do things not because they are easy, but because they
are hard”
• If you belong to the 1st (top) category, you will have fun in this
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