VLSI Design (Electronics, Technical University)

Author(s): Tania Vasileva, Vassiliy Tchoumatchenko

Affiliation(s): Technical University of Sofia

Date of publication: March 27, 2015

The Educational Problem

In traditional educational process with face to face teaching, individual student’s tasks and teacher’s guidance for individual students when needed, student cannot obtain necessary competencies. The educational challenge was to meet the requirements of business to future employees for:

  • Abilities to work in group;
  • Networking;
  • Working on multidisciplinary tasks, utilizing multiple knowledge sources;
  • Better practical training (experience in using software and CAD tools);
  • Abilities to resolve complex problems;
  • Abilities to use rich computer technologies and environments.

The problem was how to restructure the VLSI Design course in order to:

  • Increase students motivation providing them with practically oriented projects;
  • Increase students’ knowledge and competencies,
  • Increase students’ abilities to work collaboratively with individual responsibility to quality of common product.

The Solution

To resolve upper mentioned problems we use trialogical approach to learning with using cloud collaborative environment, monitoring of group work and individual contribution to every team member. The problem is how to re-design our courses to better promote students’ knowledge work competencies and how to implement the trialogical design principles in own teaching.

Instead of giving students many separate or loosely connected tasks we provide them with a large task (a three month long project), continuous working process, shared research plan and final presentation in groups. All group activities are organized around shared objects – collaboratively development of common project, and preparation of shared report.

Key Experiences

Project development in such practice permits for self-selected time and place allocation of the participants and teachers. Guidance is provided through systematic instructions and group work rules. This approach permits for educational methods of direct student-educator contact that are not face-to-face, but are mediated through new communications technologies.

Online communication allows students and academics to remain separated by space and time, but to sustain an ongoing dialogue. The immediacy of the help provided via email, compared to the scheduled face to face meeting, was cited as a major plus in the post-course surveys. Students were doing most of the development during the weekends and evenings (some of them are already part-time working in the companies). Being able to receive a timely advice on their design problems was highly regarded. The students were more motivated and challenged to work on relatively complex projects by using up-to-date tools and environments which they see in use in the companies.

Materials and Links

Students are provided all materials for lectures, guidance for exercises, instructions for handling simulation tools, project template, tutorials, supporting materials and libraries.

Presentation material:

Links to full original document: