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International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing
Volume 2014, Article ID 287205, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/287205
Research Article

Practical Education Fostered by Research Projects in an Embedded Systems Course

1Department of Computer Systems, Institute of Mathematical and Computing Sciences, The University of Sao Paulo, 13560-970 São Carlos, SP, Brazil
2Department of Computer Science, Federal University of São Carlos, 13565-905 São Carlos, SP, Brazil
3Department of Informatics Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal

Received 30 January 2014; Accepted 21 May 2014; Published 29 June 2014

Academic Editor: Michael Hübner

Copyright © 2014 Vanderlei Bonato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The very nature of universities makes them unique environments for research and teaching. Although both activities constantly borrow from each other, a deeper level of interaction is not always achieved for several reasons. This paper presents a successful experience on conducting an undergraduate course on embedded systems, based on strong interaction with related research activities previously conducted by the authors. Known for being everywhere, embedded systems are constantly expanding in both complexity and volume production. In addition, heterogeneous systems are becoming prevalent in modern applications, standing as an additional difficulty to students in this area. In this context, this paper presents experiences in teaching embedded systems using a project-based learning pedagogical approach, with strong emphasis on mobile robotic applications previously developed by MSc and PhD students. As a result, it has been observed that undergraduate students have the opportunity to build a strong background and feel better prepared to face the challenges to be found in their future professional activities.