Red Light-Green Light: Using a Model-Eliciting Activity in a Logic Design Course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal Title

2010 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)


This paper outlines the use of a Model-Eliciting Activity (MEA) in a logic design course that introduces students to design through an authentic client-driven problem. The MEA involved creating a model of a traffic signal controller for an intersection of a U. S. highway and a county road near the university. Students were given background information on traffic signal controllers and actual traffic flow data for the intersection and were then asked to analyze the data, transform the problem to the digital design space, and create a state diagram for a traffic signal controller that would be effective for the given intersection. The results using the MEA in the course were very encouraging. All seven groups in the class created valid traffic signal controller state diagrams and six of the seven groups were able to create working implementations in a programmable logic device. In addition, on the course's final exam, a similar modeling problem was included and the students who participated in the MEA scored higher on the problem than last year's students that did not have the MEA experience.

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