An Embedded Systems Course for Engineering Students Using Open-Source Platforms in Wireless Scenarios

M. C. Rodriguez-Sanchez, Angel Torrado-Carvajal, Joaquin Vaquero, Susana Borromeo, Juan A. Hernandez-Tamames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a case study analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of using project-based learning (PBL) combined with collaborative learning (CL) and industry best practices, integrated with information communication technologies, open-source software, and open-source hardware tools, in a specialized microcontroller and embedded systems engineering Master's course. In addition to addressing industry requirements in both contents and methodology, the course develops capabilities and competencies in problem solving, independent learning, teamwork, and technical knowledge. Since PBL methodology alone does not ensure teamwork, it was complemented with CL. Design review meetings (as described in IEC 61160), deliverables, and organizational resources were also introduced to mirror industry demands. This structure integrated course content and student academic achievement in a simulated industrial environment. The course had students build a modular management system for home appliances, implementing control software on the "Arduino" open-source platform, as well as using wireless communications. The results show that teaching, learning, and student assessment processes can be improved by using PBL with CL. In addition, the introduction of industry practices, such us peer review meetings, brings academia closer to a real-world context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7422092
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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