Course Syllabus


ECEN 101 is an introductory class in the field of computer and electrical engineering. It is designed to introduce the student to the world of engineering, and particularly how we use computer and electrical circuits and systems to design and build life-changing devices like cell phones, computers, and robots. It is also designed to clarify the curriculum at BYU-Idaho so a student can successfully plan a graduation path and educational experience (1 credit hour).



No prerequisites.

Required Textbook

No textbook is required.

Required Hardware

Arduino Kit

You must purchase an inexpensive hardware kit that will be used throughout the term. Order the kit from the University Store as soon as possible to allow time for delivery. It is labeled ECEN 106 Bundle. If you later take ECEN 106, you will use the same kit.

It contains everything you need:

  • LAVFIN Project Super Starter Kit for R3 (which contains an Arduino Uno embedded processor)
  • 4 x 4 matrix keypad
  • 1602 LCD display with a serial interface,
  • Solderless breadboard
  • Power adapter
  • Some resistors
  • Some LEDs that will be used in the laboratory experiments
  • Variety of peripheral devices that can be interfaced with the Arduino for your project)
    • 74LS04 Hex Inverter (NOT gate)
    • 74LS08 Quad AND gate
    • 74LS32 Quad OR gate
    • 74LS86 Quad Exclusive OR gate.

NOTE: Other Arduino online kits may look the same, but they do not contain everything you need!

Some projects, called “lessons” on the CD, come with your kit.  If you cannot read the CD, you can download its contents using the links below:


Most computers and laptops purchased within the last six years should work well for this class. However, the computer's graphics card must support WebGL. WebGL enables working in 3D in the browser. If you are not sure if your graphics card supports WebGL, go to You should see a spinning cube.

Required Software

During the course, you will be asked to download or access specific free software. While each website offers basic support through tutorials and/or user forums, keep in mind that you will need to explore and discover many solutions on your own.

Arduino IDE

  • You will use the open-source Arduino Software (IDE) to write code and upload it to your Arduino. You will install this during your first laboratory experiment (Week 01).
  • The software is free.
  • No account is needed to download the software,
  • Training and support: You can access documentation and tutorials. If you create an account, you can post questions in the community. 

PhET Interactive Simulations

  • From the website: "The PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery."
  • All simulations are open source.
  • No account is needed.
  • PhET will be used starting in Week 02.
  • Training and Support: The website provides a Help Center.


  • From the website: "EasyEDA is an easier and powerful online PCB design tool that allows electronics engineers, educators, students, makers, and enthusiasts to design and share their projects."
  • This software can be used online or downloaded for free. You will need to create a free account.
  • EasyEDA will be used starting in Week 03.
  • Tutorial and Support: There is an online Help Center and User Forum.


  • From the website: "Tinkercad is a free web app for 3D design, electronics, and coding."
  • This application is available online only and may be used for free. You will need to create a free account.
  • Tinkercad will be used starting in Week 03.
  • Training and Support: The website provides a Learning Center with many tutorials.


  • From the website: "LTspice® is high performance SPICE simulator software, including a graphical schematic capture interface. Schematics can be probed to produce simulation results—easily explored through LTspice’s built-in waveform viewer."
  • This software must be downloaded. It is free.
  • LTspice will be used starting in Week 05.
  • Training and Support: LTspice provides an online user forum, the EngineerZone. The website also has video tutorials, tips, and FAQs.

Course Structure

Course Outcomes

  1. Understand what Electrical and Computer Engineers do.
  2. Plan a graduation path for a degree in Computer or Electrical Engineering.
  3. Design, analyze, and troubleshoot simple electric circuits.
  4. Assemble electric circuits using temporary and permanent construction methods.
  5. Measure electric circuit parameters with electronic test instruments.
  6. Program simple embedded system controllers.

Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes.

Major Assignment Description Course Outcome #
W01 Assignment: Grad plan Create a tentative graduation plan using I-Plan. 2
W02 Lab: Build an Oscilloscope Build an Oscilloscope using the Arduino. 4

W03 Lab: Lab: Basic Circuit Design

Create a basic circuit design. 3, 4

W03 Lab: Basic Circuit Virtual Construction

Use a virtual construction toolkit to build circuits. 3, 4
W04 Lab: Basic Circuit Construction and Verification Build a working circuit and measure voltage. 4, 5

W05 Lab: Power Simulation

W05 Lab: Semiconductor Diode Simulation

Explore jobs and the work of electrical and computer engineers. 

W07 Final Project Build a simple electronics project. 3, 4, 5, 6

Weekly Patterns

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Prepare Study Learn about the week's topic
End of Week Ponder/Prove Lab or Assignment Apply what you have learned
End of Week Teach One Another Discussion Optional discussion board for asking and answering questions about the final project

NOTE: Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

Learning Model

Most weeks consist of preparing by study and an end-of-week assignment in which you prove your learning. 

During Weeks 04–07, an open (and optional) discussion board is provided. You may use it to ask questions about your individual project. You are encouraged to use the discussion board to help your classmates and teach one another by sharing experiences and answering questions.



You can expect to receive grades and feedback within seven days of the due date for all assignments.


 As with all BYU-Idaho online and campus courses, each credit equates to approximately three or four hours of work per week in a semester. However, a seven-week block course doubles the number of hours per credit per week. Therefore, plan to dedicate about six hours of work each week to complete this one-credit course in a seven-week term. Some weeks will take less, some weeks may take a little more.

Late Policy and Retries

You are expected to complete your work on time. However, your instructor may suggest that you try an assignment again. You will have one week to re-submit an assignment from Weeks 01–05. 

Extra Credit

Extra credit is not an option for this course.

Grading Scale

Letter Grade Percent
A 100%–93%
A- 92%–90%
B+ 89%–87%
B 86%–83%
B- 82%–80%
C+ 79%–77%
C 76%–73%
C- 72%–70%
D+ 69%–67%
D 66%–63%
D- 62%–60%
F 59% and lower

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course contains visual elements and activities, including activities involving Arduino hardware and CAD software. If you have a disability that prevents you from accessing or completing these course activities, please contact Disability Services.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

The materials in this course are also intellectual property and taking any materials from the course and posting them outside of this course in any manner (such as posting on Course Hero) will be construed as theft. If you post course materials without authorization, the instructor has the right to impose an appropriate academic sanction (such as giving you a failing grade for the assignment and/or failing you from the course).

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due