Hardware Demonstrations And Experiments For Teaching The Computer Organization Course


Computer Organization is a foundation course for the computer science major. At Valdosta State University, it is the only hardware course in the Computer Science and Computer Information System curriculums. It teaches the students how computers are built, organized, and optimized, as well as how they execute programs to complete the desired tasks. However, because of historical reasons, there was not a hardware lab for this course, so it was taught mainly through classroom lectures and students did not have any hands-on experience to build functional electronic components. In recent years, I collected some old computer hardware and used them to demonstrate how the technologies of building computers have evolved in the past several decades, what components are inside typical computers, and how different components of the computers communicate with each other. I also bought some electronic gates and circuits and designed a few hands-on experiments to teach students how computer components are built from basic gates and circuits. Through building adders, multiplexor, shifter, and various flip-flops, students gain first-hand knowledge on how computer components are built and how they work. In this presentation, I am going to share the hardware, electronic gates and circuits that I collected and purchased, the hardware demonstrations and hands-on experiments I designed, and how I use them to teach the Computer Organization course. I will also explain how these demonstrations and experiments boost students’ interest and improve their learning.

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