Concluding with IUPUI

Today I received my Purdue BS EE diploma in the mail, which was very nice. That degree took some real effort, and I am proud of having done so well academically and met so many interesting and inspiring people.

I also received an email informing me that my senior design team had won the Spring 2016 Dunipace Senior Design Award, which I understand to be the Engineering and Technology Department's Bepko Award for Spring 2016, which meant we each received an award applied to our Fall 2016 tuitions. As I no longer live in Indiana, I will regrettably be unable to attend the award ceremony on April 7th in Indianapolis.

Taking a Course through Udemy

Toward the end of the past semester and through Christmas and New Year's, I purchased a couple of Udemy courses in response to some discount price campaigns. Everything I purchased is of a technical bent, such as VHDL or digital signal processing, with the possible exception of one on Excel 2013. At $10~12 for each course, I felt there was little to lose, but the direct out-of-pocket cost would add incentive. Most of the courses I chose were not offered at IUPUI or Ivy Tech Community College, at least not when I wanted to take them.

Udemy was not my first experience with online learning. I have used YouTube lectures, industrial firms' lectures and training videos, and Khan Academy. As an IUPUI student, I have unlimited access to Lynda.com courses, a few of which I have registered, one or two of which I have begun, and none of which I have completed. YouTube lessons have been good for specific topics, not for sustained study. With Lynda, I forget I have it once engineering classes start. When engineering courses get rolling, I lose the time for Lynda courses.

After logging into Udemy, I choose my course, which is currently Digital Signal Processing with MATLAB. This opens the Course Dashboard window with two functional columns. The course name is at the top left, beneath which is a column with, from top to bottom:

  1. A clickable area for the current lecture's video, which includes its name and the time remaining for the lecture.
  2. An overall course progress bar with a trophy at the end to dignify completion.
  3. A list of course section, inside each of which are the lectures. Each lecture is shown with its title (e.g., "Lecture 3: Convolution"), completion status, lecture length, and icons for whether you have taken notes or asked questions.

Exactly where you are in the course--what percentage you have completed--is very clear.

On the right are three options: Discussions, Announcements, and the number of students (currently 373). The Discussions are questions asked by students; replies are links to be clicked to read. To date, I have asked just two questions. The first, on a weekday, was answered by the next day, and was polite and clear. The second question, asked on a weekend, will perhaps take a bit longer. The Announcements come from the course author(s). Clicking on the number of students reveals a roster, and students can be clicked on to see what they choose to reveal about themselves.

When you choose a particular lecture, you get a window similar to that below, which shows the video lecture screen and the right column, which I will discuss below. At the top left of the video is the Course Dashboard button, which returns you there. In addition to the video's progress bar below it, moving the cursor over the screen brings up the three grey buttons that let you back up 15 seconds, play (or pause), and move ahead 15 seconds. I have found the 15 second repeat to be quite handy for taking notes. At the bottom left, you can opt, as I have, not to immediately load and play the next lecture when you complete the current one. The checkmark at the bottom right turns white on a green background when you complete a lecture.

Udemy_screen_blurred

The right column has four tabs at the top. The leftmost tab lists the course sections and their lectures. The next tab allows the download of relevant lecture material, if any is provided. There is a comment tab, although posting a comment apparently does not automatically provide the section and lecture information, so provide it yourself. The rightmost tab is for notes, which are timestamped by section in the video. The notes can be downloaded, though I have yet to do so. Notes can be edited and deleted, but they cannot be moved around; for example, if you back up in the video to 1:01 to make a note after a note made at 2:13, the notes' times will be out of sequence. Clicking on a note's time takes you to that point in the video lecture.

Spring 2014 Term Completed

My spring 2014 terms are over. All my Ivy Tech grades are in:

  • DESN 103, A: This AutoCAD class was enjoyable and useful for laying out 2D designs.
  • ENGR 272, A: A pioneer offering, this was a fast-paced digital logic course with a substantial lab component. We did plenty of interesting things, including Mealy and Moore machines and VHDL.
  • ENGR 279, A: The capstone course required for graduation, also a pioneer offering.

Final grades have now been submitted at IUPUI. Both ECE 202, circuit analysis II, and ECE 210, sophomore seminar, wound up as A+ classes. That makes me quite happy.

Today was also the graduation ceremony for Ivy Tech. I completed my AS in Pre-Engineering (Electrical) Magna cum Laude but opted not to attend the ceremony. One reason is my computer crashed during finals, so I spent a good part of today resurrecting it. Another is that my summer courses will start Thursday, so it does not feel as though I have completed anything.

That said, I hope my fellow graduates enjoyed the ceremony. Below is Daniel Rodriguez, a Peruvian EE student, who wore the Peruvian sash shown below over his graduation robe.

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CPR Certification

Today I attended a CPR and First-Aid Training session at Ivy Tech for faculty and staff. I was the only registered person of six to attend, so I had plenty of time to work on the CPR mannequins and learn to use an AED under direct supervision. At the end of the period I paid $7 for a two-year certificate from the Americani Heart Association.

There were some interesting related bits of information. Indiana has a "Good Samaritan" law, so my CPR efforts are protected from gross litigation; however, EMTs do not get the same legal protection, which is apparently one reason why they cannot even administer aspirin in Indiana. It is now considered acceptable to break the breastbone when pushing on the adult victim's chest; if you've not broken it, you probably have not pushed deep enough to cause the heart to pump effectively.

Anyway, I am quite glad I attended the course.

Graduation Request Filed

This week I filed a request for spring graduation at Ivy Tech. I have just two more courses to complete this term: "Engineering Capstone" and "Introduction to Digital Logic Design." Those will conclude all the requirements for the AS in Pre-Engineering (Electrical Engineering). The capstone meets the last eight weeks of the term and serves as a review of all I've done as preparation for the FE exam; the digital course will last the full term and has a lab component.

While my particular AS likely will not mean much in the way of work options, since it is not as applied as the AS in Electrical Engineering Technology (EET), it closes one door and opens another.

Welding Certificate

My last welding course at Ivy Tech, WELD 209, finished in August. I applied for an audit of my work, which was delayed by the retirement of the industrial technology program head. Every so often I would check the certificate's progress: pending.

Today, however, I finally received an email confirmation from the registrar that my Technical Certificate in Structural Welding has been conferred. Outstanding!

However, it has since turned out that there is excessive ambiguity at work here, so I don't really know what is going on.