Course Syllabus


ECEN 106: Computer Systems will teach you how computers work, from the charge on a computer chip to pixels on your device and everything in-between. You will get a high-level overview of all these parts so you can develop a conceptual understanding of how everything fits together.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Hardware

You must purchase some inexpensive hardware that will be used in the laboratory experiments and for the project. Order the ECEN 106 Bundle kit from the University Store as soon as possible to allow time for delivery.

It contains everything you need: LAVFIN Project Super Starter Kit for R3 (which contains an Arduino Uno embedded processor), a 4 x 4 matrix key pad, a 1602 LCD display with a serial interface, a solderless bread board, a power adapter, some resistors, some LEDs that will be used in the laboratory experiments, and a variety of peripheral devices that can be interfaced with the Arduino for your project), a 74LS04 Hex Inverter (NOT gate), a 74LS08 Quad AND Gate, a 74LS32 Quad OR Gate, and a 74LS86 Quad Exclusive OR Gate.

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

There are some projects called Lessons that come with your kit. If you cannot find them, you can download its contents using the links below:

Super Starter Kit for Uno R3.pdf 

Required Software

Kahoot! app: Your instructor may use Kahoot. Download it onto your phone so you can play along. It's free!

Arduino IDE: We will install this during our first laboratory experiment. It's free!

Course Outcomes (CO)

  1. Identify and explain the major computer components (power supply, motherboard, CPU, hard drive, memory, etc.).
  2. Explain electrical charge, current, voltage, resistance, and power.
  3. Describe how data is represented and stored.
  4. Identify logic gates and explain their function.
  5. Create SOP equations from truth tables and vice versa.
  6. Perform binary addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  7. Explain a circuit for binary addition and subtraction.
  8. Describe, explain, and sketch a CPU.
  9. Explain how a keyboard, display, and mouse work.
  10. Explain networks, data transfer on the internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). 

Major Assignments

The table below connects each major assignment (labs and tests) to the course outcomes (CO).

Major Assignment Week Description CO#
Arduino Setup Lab Week 02 Download and install and configure the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Run example programs on your Arduino and connect buttons and a buzzer. CO #1
Arduino I/O and Network Lab Week 03 Connect a keypad and LCD display to your Arduino. Communicate between your Arduino and laptop using ASCII code in Hexadecimal. CO #1, 3, 9, and 10
Test 1 and Reflection 1 Week 03

Complete an open-book, open notes, open internet test. Complete an end-of-unit reflection assignment.

CO #1 and 3
Arduino Voltmeter Lab Week 05

Measure voltage with your Arduino. Connect a simple resistor circuit. Verify Ohm's law.

CO #2
Logic Gates Lab Week 06 Create your own NOT gate with a transistor. Test the operation of pre-built NOT, AND, OR, and XOR gates. CO #4
Logic Circuits Lab Week 07 Connect logic gates together to create logic circuits. Design and test your own logic circuit. CO #4 and 5
Test 2 and Reflection 2 Week 07 Complete an open-book, open notes, open internet test. Complete an end-of-unit reflection assignment. CO #2, 4, and 5
Two-bit Adder Lab Week 09 Construct and test a two-bit binary adder circuit and verify its correct operation.  CO #6 and 7
Test 3 and Reflection 3 Week 09 Complete an open-book, open notes, open internet test. Complete an end-of-unit reflection assignment. CO #6 and 7
Test 4 and Reflection 4 Week 12 Complete an open-book, open notes, open internet test. Complete an end-of-unit reflection assignment. CO #1, 3, and 8
Project Week 14 Apply some of the principles learned during the semester. The LAVFIN Project Super Starter Kit for R3 comes with ideas and parts for a variety of projects. Use one of the suggestions or devise your own. Do something fun! Variable

Weekly Patterns

The table below describes a typical week.

Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Mid week Prepare Study Complete readings and watch videos. 
Instructor scheduled Teach

Synchronous Session

Join the instructor and classmates for fun, games, and learning exercises.
End of week Prove Quiz Complete 1-2 quizzes.

*Set your I-Learn time zone in user preferences so the dates and times will display correctly.

Learning Model

  1. Prepare by reading assignments and watching videos.
  2. Teach by participating in optional weekly instructor-scheduled Zoom sessions.
  3. Ponder by discussing quiz questions with your instructor and classmates during optional weekly Zoom sessions.
  4. Prove by completing tests, labs, and projects.

Workload Expectations

ECEN 106 is a two-credit course. This course requires 4–6 hours each week.

Weekly Zoom Sessions

Your instructor will host an optional weekly Zoom meeting. 

Late Work Expectations

Assignments are not accepted for full credit after the deadline. 

This policy may seem harsh, but future employer(s) will be just as strict about finishing tasks and projects on time. Don't believe it? Look at the following:   

"HP attempted to put in a bid to construct a geographical information system for the Polish Power Grid but missed the deadline. According to the Warsaw Business Journal, the courier dispatched with the bid got stuck in a traffic jam, invalidating the bid. Eight bids were received on time" (INSIDE HP, Traffic Stymies HP Bid in Warsaw, Tuesday, March 2, 2004). 

The reason for being late did not matter. All the time and hard work Hewlett-Packard put into the bid did not matter. The bid was not accepted because it was late.

Many of the class activities cannot be completed if assignments are not finished on time. Your classmates are counting on you!

If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances that are completely beyond their control, they should talk to the instructor.

Academic Integrity

Grading is a tool that has two different roles. First, grading is a feedback mechanism that can provide you with valuable guidance on your learning path throughout the semester—helping you fix misconceptions and identify opportunities to improve. Please do not rob yourself of the valuable feedback and learning opportunity that your grades can provide throughout the semester by substituting your work with someone else’s. Second, grading is a measurement that indicates to the university and to future employers how effectively you have mastered the course content. Cheating to get a better final grade corrupts this process by placing you into a situation for which you are not prepared. This also casts doubt on the validity of the grade of every other student, harming your fellow students and the integrity of the instructor and of the university. Any instance of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Honor Office and may result in failure of the course. Cheating and plagiarism also offend the Spirit, who is a valuable companion during the learning process.
Use of A.I. tools like ChatGPT
Think of A.I. tools like a tutor. For example, it would be appropriate for you to ask a tutor to help explain a concept, but it would be inappropriate for you to ask a tutor to give you the answer to a specific homework question or to write part of a report for you. Unauthorized use of A.I. tools is considered plagiarism, and inappropriate use of A.I. tools could be detrimental to your learning and job preparation. Appropriate use of A.I. tools is encouraged and can amplify your learning. If you are unsure how or when you may use them, ask the instructor to clarify.
What you may use A.I. tools for: As you study and prepare for quizzes and tests, you may use A.I. tools to learn more about concepts you are struggling with. Also, for the Final Project, you may use A.I. tools to write the Arduino code, as long as you cite the tool. 
What you may not use A.I. tools for: For anything you need to write in your own words, such as Reflection documents or lab/project reports, you may not use A.I. tools to write them for you. For quizzes and tests, you may not ask the questions to an A.I. tool. 

Grading Weights

Quizzes  16%
Reflections 4%
Labs 30%
Tests 40%
Project 10%
Total 100%

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

BYU-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by BYU-Idaho Disability Services. If you need assistance or feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established policy and procedures.

If you have any disability that may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact Disability Services as soon as possible, preferably before the beginning of the semester, in order to ensure that you receive appropriate accommodations.

Disability Services Contact Information:

Other University Policies

Go to the Student Resources module to review BYU-Idaho's university policies regarding honesty, online etiquette, communication expectations, Title IX, etc.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due