Instructions for Completing ECEN 323 Laboratory Assignments

The lab associated with ECEN 323 is a major part of the course. You will learn to practice the concepts of computer organization taught in the class by implementing these concepts on an FPGA using digital design skills. It is essential that you carefully read through these laboratory instructions in order to understand how to successfully complete a lab assignment.

ECEN 323 Laboratory Instructions

Each lab assignment has a corresponding web page that contains the instructions for completing the lab. These laboratory web pages are carefully written to help you learn specific skills and apply material you learn in the classroom. Each lab web page is organized with the following sections:

  • Learning Objectives: a brief summary of the main points at the beginning of each lab.
  • Preliminary: prerequisite material or work that should to be completed before you start working on your lab.
  • Exercises: a number of steps to be completed in order to pass off the lab assignment. These exercises build upon each other and should be completed in the order in which they are presented. Most exercises will have questions or design/simulation tasks that are required for the lab report.
  • Pass Off: describes the completed materials you need to finalize the lab. More details on the pass off are described in the Pass Off section of this document.

The lab descriptions on the web contain a variety of resources to help you complete the lab exercises. In addition, you will need to have access to the ECEN 323 ‘starter code’ git repository to access the files needed to complete the lab (this will be described in more detail below). You should be able to access all resources necessary to complete the lab from the instructions on the web page and the resources provided in the ‘start code’ repository.

Some labs also contain tutorials. These are intended to teach needed concepts so that the lab itself can focus on putting them into practice. In many cases, tutorials developed for the 220 class are linked for you to review materials that you may need to understand to complete a lab. There is a dedicated page for all the tutorials in ECEN 323. A link to the tutorials page is also included in the sidebar to the left. You can also access the following page to obtain a list of all of the tutorials used in the 220 class.

Many of the labs discuss topics that are taught in the textbook. References to these sections will be presented with footnotes. You will need to have access to your textbook to complete many of the labs.

Completing Laboratory Assignments

Each laboratory assignment is split into two parts: the Lap Report and the Pass Off. The laboratory grade will be split between these two parts as follows: 40% for the Lab Report and 60% for the lab Passoff. There is a corresponding exam/assignment in learning suite for each of these parts. The requirements of each of these components are described below.

Lab Report

Each laboratory assignment involves completing a laboratory “report”. The lab report is completed online as a Learning Suite exam. This learning suite exam includes a number of questions including short answer, multiple-choice, true-false, amd open answers. Most of the questions in the lab report will be graded automatically by learning suite. You are allowed to ‘retake’ the exam as many times as you like before the lab report due date.

As you complete the exercises of each lab you will be asked to answer a number of questions to test your understanding of the concepts needed to complete the lab.
These questions are to help test your understanding and should be completing before proceeding farther in the lab. Students who skip over the questions and proceed directly to the lab exercises will not be prepared to complete the exercise. If you do not know how to answer a question, consult with a teaching assistant, other students, or the instructor. It will be very difficult to complete the lab exercises properly without having a good understanding of the answers to the questions in the lab.

All questions that need to be answered in the laboratory report (Learning Suite Exam) are included in the laboratory write-up web page as questions colored red. The red text in your laboratory page is a reminder that you are supposed to answer a corresponding question in Learning Suite. You are encouraged to complete these questions while reading the laboratory and in the order in which they are presented. You may want to record your answers to these questions in a text file or other document and then transfer your answers all at once so you don’t have to keep Learning Suite open while you complete the lab.

We are constantly trying to improve the laboratory experience and will ask questions at the end of the report that we can use as feedback to improve the lab for the next time the course is taught. You will be asked the following two questions at the end of each lab report (any answer to these questions will receive full credit):

  1. How much time did you spend completing this lab? This question is important for us to gauge the difficulty of the lab and identify when lab assignments are taking too long. Please track the account of the time you spend in the lab in order to accurately report this. Report your result in number of hours (with fractional hours if necessary).
  2. Please provide any suggestions for improving this lab in the future. This gives you an opportunity to provide feedback for improving future labs. Student feedback is essential for helping us to improve the labs. An answer to this question is optional.

Lab Report Due Dates

The laboratory report for all students is due at midnight on the Wednesday during the week after the laboratory is introduced. For example, the first lab is introduced on Monday, January 3rd and its associated laboratory report is thus due on Wednesday, January 12th at midnight. This due date is the same for all students no matter what section you are enrolled in.

If you are running behind on the lab you are encouraged to submit as much of the report as you can on time to get as much partial credit as you can before the laboratory due date. Students that do not submit a laboratory report by the posted due date will receive a zero for the laboratory report portion of the lab. There are no makeup laboratory reports.

Pass Off

The second part of each laboratory assignment is the “pass off”. The pass off portion of the lab will make up 60% of your laboratory grade. In this part of the lab, you will be submitting a number of files that you created for your laboratory assignment for grading by the TA. You may be asked to include SystemVerilog files, Tcl simulation files, assembly language code files, and even digital photographs of your working FPGA circuits. As you complete the exercises in the lab, you will be notified when a particular file needs to be included in your pass off submission. This notification will highlighted as green text.

There will be a dedicated section in the laboratory instructions titled “Pass Off” that will describe exactly what files are needed for your pass off submission. All of your files will need to be submitted using a personal GitHub repository. You will need to create a GitHub account for use in this class. Instructions for setting up your repository and submitting laboratory files is described in the Git Tutorial.

A script will be provided to you that you can run to make sure your laboratory assignment is submitted properly and passes all of the relevant tests. You are strongly encouraged to run this script to find any problems with your laboratory submission. After you have submitted your files to your GitHub repository, the TAs will download your repository and grade your files based on the published requirements of the lab. You will lose a significant number of points on your submission if your submission is missing files, is not properly tagged, or fails to fails the pass off test.

All of the code that you submit will need to follow the class coding standards. Your code will be reviewed by a TA and graded according to this coding standard. Any deviation from these standards will result in lost points in your lab write-up grade. Some labs may have additional coding standard requirements and you will be expected to follow these standards as they are presented.

Pass Off Due Dates

The laboratory passoff files will be due at midnight one week after the laboratory is introduced. This deadline is different than the due date for the laboratory report. Because the class is organized into more than one lab section, students in the class will have different due dates for the pass off section of the lab. For example, the first lab for section 1 is held on Monday, January 3rd. The laboratory pass off submission is thus due at midnight on Monday, January 10th. Students in other sections will have different due dates (Tuesday, January 11th for Section 2).

Unlike the laboratory report, the laboratory pass off files may be submitted late after the due date. Late laboratory pass off assignments will be accepted until midnight on the last day of the semester (Wednesday, April 13th). Laboratory pass off assignments submitted after the due date will be treated as follows:

  • Subject to a 30% late penalty (i.e., may receive up to 70% of the pass off credit for submitted files),
  • may not be graded until after the semester is over, and
  • may not receive TA feedback.

Last Modified: 2022-05-31 12:23:24 -0500