CSC 1650
Digital Electronics
A required course in the CS major in the Fitchburg State BS program
Spring 2017 -- 4 credit hours

Lectures9:30AM-10:45AMWed, Fri: Jan 18-May 10Edgerly 203
Lab11:00AM-1:30PMThu Jan 25-May 4 Edgerly 203
Lab11:00PM-2:30PMFri Jan 26-Apr 28 Edgerly 203

Contact Information

Instructor:Stephen Taylor
Office: Edgerly 312A and sometimes Edgerly 101
Office hours: W: 11:00-2 (and by appointment)
Web page:
Office phone: 978-665-3704
Home phone: 508-867-9288

Course Description: (From the catalog) This course provides a study of the fundamental circuit building blocks that are used in the development of digital computers. The theory and practical application of both asynchronous and synchronous electronic logic circuits are covered. Topics included are: binary representations, data transfer methods, error detection and correction, logic gates, logic families, programmable logic devices, Boolean algebraic simplification, Karnaugh maps, combinational logic circuits, adders, comparators, encoders, decoders, multiplexers, demultiplexers, sequential logic circuits, latches, flip-flops, counters, shift registers and memory. Extensive laboratory work supplements the topics studied.

Course goals

Course Goals: The purpose of this course is to develop students' understanding of digital logic and techniques for analyzing and designing circuit implementations of combinational and sequential logic. Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to do the following:

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, a student will have:

Attendance policy

There are two class meetings and a lab each week. I expect you to attend them all. Please talk to me if this creates a schedule conflict for you.

This is partly a lab course. You can't do the labs if you aren't in the lab. My grading reflects my expectation of seeing you regularly:

Quizzes and exams are ordinarily due in the period in which they are given, and may not be turned in later, although they may be excused if you have a convincing story, such as your grandmother getting married in Provincetown.

Labs reports are due a week following the day on which they are assigned, but not necessarily in class; they should be turned in on Blackboard. That means they should be machine-readable; I prefer either Word documents or .PDF files. However, many reports will contain tables, diagrams, or calculations. Although it is certainly acceptable to carefully build those diagrams using MS Word, it is also acceptable to include cell-phone photos of diagrams or calculations.

One advantage of turning in labs on-line is that you can easily keep a copy to refer to the following week. For this reason, I won't necessarily give you information like chip pinouts again when the need comes up for it in a subsequent lab. I'll assume that you've kept track of these things. Keeping track of a little extra information will also come in handy when you are explaining the lab to your grandchildren (see below.)

Most labs have several steps in them which say: Demonstrate to instructor. When you come to one of these steps, you should call me over, so that I may enjoy your success with you. I don't have any mechanism to add my presence to your lab report, but I'd still like to see the appropriate pieces of your lab work.

Anything turned in by midnight is on time, and unless I am actually in my office at midnight, anything I find in the Blackboard dropbox on the following morning is assumed to have been turned in on time.

Papers and programming assignments are similarly due by midnight. Late papers and programs may be accepted after their due date, but I am likely to mark them down for lateness.

Course resources

The textbook for this course is

Thomas L. Floyd, Digital Fundamentals Pearson/Prentice Hall

The book is fairly expensive new from the bookstore. If you are willing to wait a few days to order it online, you can obtain more cheaply used. I usually buy used books from, but Ebay and Amazon both carry used books.

There are many editions available. I planned my syllabus using the tenth edition, and there isn't a whole lot of difference between the later editions. The bookstore will probably carry only the eleventh edition. You won't be surprised to learn that the newer edition is usually more expensive used.

From time to time I will put programs from lectures on the web.

I usually record grades in blackboard.

Reading and Lab Project Schedule:

Final Exam

There is a final exam, and three mid-term exams, all of which are in very similar formats, although of course they cover different material.



Tentative grade rubric:

  1. There will be several pop quizzes, making up in total 10% of the final grade.
  2. There will be a final exam and three midterms, which will make up 40% of the final grade
  3. Your lab reports will constitute 40% of the final grade. The lab grade will be based partly on your participation in the lab, partly on the general neatness of the presentation, and mostly on how well the report reflects the purpose of the lab.

    My goal is that you should finish the term with a folder of lab reports that you could re-read and explain to your grandchildren fifty years from now. Your grandchildren may turn out not to be interested, but perhaps you may be able to turn to those labs while solving similar problems, maybe even in the following weeks of the term.

  4. The remaining 10% of the grade will be based on homework assignments, class participation and other utterly subjective measures.

Late work

Deadlines are made to be bent, but exceptions create extra work for me. Assignments are due at the beginning of class. I may give credit or partial credit for late work, but you should talk to me as soon as you know it will be late. I will always give at least partial credit for partial work turned in on time, so turning in something incomplete but on time is a sensible strategy.

I do not consider homework which is emailed to me to be turned in on time, no matter when you sent it. Instead use the Blackboard dropbox.

There are no makeup or early exams, but I may excuse an exam for a good story, presented in advance, like your grandmother getting married that day in Provincetown.

Each student is responsible for completing all course requirements and for keeping up with all activities of the course (whether a student is present or not).

Academic Honesty

I expect you to be so interested in your projects and labs that you discuss them with everyone, including your mom, your little brother, and other members of the class (who will at least know what they're being sympathetic about.) So I won't be too surprised if several people come up with the same idea, or even the same programming trick. But I want you to do each homework yourself, and I don't want you to share typing, even if you both worked on the problem together, and you can't really tell anymore who came up with what. (Except of course for group projects, for which the group will be designated in advance.) To keep from confusing me, your homework should mention everyone you talked to and every web site you looked at. You can only skip mentioning your little brother, if you think he wasn't any help at all...

I consider it plagiarism to share typing or fail to give credit to other peoples' ideas.

Fitchburg State has an Academic Integrity policy, which can be found in the college catalog. Penalties for academic dishonesty, including submitting work which is not your own, and assisting other students on examinations, can be severe.


If you require course adaptations or accommodation because of a disability or acute medical condition or if you require assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation of the classroom, please see the instructor as soon as possible. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the Office of Disability Services on the 3rd floor of the Hammond Building.