• PLTW – Digital Electronics (DE) -  1 Semester

    Course Description

    If you are fascinated by today’s ever morphing digital devices, imagine learning how they work – and better still, how they can be improved by YOU. Learn to install, customize, repair, and maintain today’s cutting  edge technology. Configure PC networks and explore the role of engineering design,  robotics, and industrial motors in today’s automated systems.

    What will my classes be like?


    Analyze, design, and build your own digital electronic circuits, the technology that powers your cell phone, MP3 player, tablet, camera, and HD television. The demand for greater signal speed, storage capacity, and applications drives industry’s need for creative problem solvers and innovators like you!


    Start with the basics: theory, terminology, communication methods, engineering standards, and troubleshooting techniques. Before you know it, you will be programming microchips and a basic stamp microcontroller. DE is one of the specialized courses in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) “Pathway to Engineering” course sequence. Prior completion of the IED and POE foundation courses (through TCD or your high school) is suggested, though not required.


    .Course Goals/Objectives: Digital Electronics (DE)

    Digital electronics is the foundation of all modern electronic devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players, laptop computers, digital cameras and high-definition televisions. Students are introduced to the process of combinational and sequential logic design, engineering standards and technical documentation.
    Course Outline
    Digital Electronics is offered Fall and Spring Semesters
    An eagerness to be challenged
    Fundamentals of Analog and Digital Electronics    
    Introduction to Analog
    Introduction to Digital
    Combinational Logic
    Introduction to NAND and NOR Logic
    Digital Design Project
    Combinational Logic Circuits & Application Circuit Design

    Programmable Logic – Field Programmable Grid Array Circuitry

    Sequential Logic

    Asynchronous Counter

    Introduction to State-Machine Design Process

    Microcontrollers – Programmable Interface Controllers
    Robotic Fundamentals
    *Instructor reserves the right to add, delete any of the above, including assignments, quizzes, exams.

    Assessment Standards/Grading Practices

    • Grades will be calculated on a straight point basis.  Projects will be based on a scale of 1 to 100 points depending on the assignment or project.  Daily work and participation grades will be based on completion of the Engineering Notebook and Portfolio.  Weekly quizzes, cumulative Unit exams and National PLTW Assessment will be given during the semester. 
    • All students must maintain an Engineering Notebook and Portfolio to pass the class. They will be checked periodically throughout semester. 

      College Credit Opportunities 

    Dual Credit:  College of DuPage Electronics Engineering Technology Program
    ELECT 1141 Digital Fundamentals (3 credits)

    Minimum grade to earn dual credit in DE is a B.

    Note: Any pre-requisites required by COD are being waived for DE only by the DE instructor. 

    Any prerequisite courses must be taken at COD or TCD via Dual Credit.  Waiving of a prerequisite does not entitle the student automatic credit to a prerequisite course.


    Northern Illinois University College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET)

    PLTW students who have successfully completed all courses in the pre-engineering high school curriculum with at least a grade B in each course will be awarded a maximum of 7 credit hours towards their degree completion in one of engineering or engineering technology programs offered by CEET.  Students must have completed ALL FOUNDATION COURSES AND THE ONE CAPSTONE COURSE with a grade of B or better in order to be eligible for the 7 credit hours. PLTW students will be awarded a maximum of 7 credit hours from the following list of courses:

    UEET 101: Introduction to Engineering (1 credit)
    TECH 294: Technology and Cultural Relevance (3 credits)
     MEE 270: Engineering Graphics (3 credits)
    TECH 211: Computer Aided Design (3 credits)
    MEE 101: Energy and the Environment (3 credits)


    For further information, please contact the Associate Dean's office at Northern Illinois University at (815)753-9961. 


    NOTE: *IED and POE are the foundation courses in the PLTW “Pathway to Engineering” course sequence. In order to receive recognition or credit from PLTW-affiliated colleges or universities, a student must successfully complete these two foundation courses, one specialized course, and one capstone course.

     Field Experiences / Competitive Opportunities

    Internships or job shadowing may be allowed pending on the student's grade, daily attendance and employability grade.

    The PLTW Engineering programs offer students an array of advantages, from career readiness and hands-on experience to college preparatory–level classes, labs and creative exercises.  PLTW students succeed in the classroom and in life.


    Our programs are designed to appeal to all students, from those already interested in STEM-related fields, to those whose experience in the sciences and math has been less comprehensive or who find themselves uninterested in traditional science and math curricula.


    PLTW classes are hands-on, based in real-world experience, and engaging for students and teachers. We set the highest standards for rigorous, focused and relevant study, and develop students’ innovative, collaborative, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills.


    Our relationships with teachers, parents, local and national business leaders and university partners allow us to offer a complete experience both for students wishing to pursue a post-secondary degree in a STEM-related field and for those planning to join the workforce after high school. STEM literacy reduces dropout rates, increases attendance and helps students find better-paying jobs after school.


    College and Career Pathways

    • Science & Mathematics
    • Engineering & Technology

    Forsample occupations and postsecondary educational requirements, visit: www.careertech.org and click

    on “Career Clusters & Pathways”

    Upon successful completion of Digital Electronics, students can directly transfer to College of DuPage to complete a Certificate or Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electronics Technology. College Credit earned via Dual Credit can also be transferred to a State of Illinois college that offers degree programs in Engineering Technology.

    Students enrolling in DE should also consider enrolling in other PLTW – Pathway to Engineering Courses that include: Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Principles of Engineering (POE) , Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA), Aeronautical Engineering, and Engineering Development and Design (EDD).


    We are confident that the Technology Center of DuPage experience is a positive and productive learning opportunity for DuPage County students. With this in mind, the following academic guidelines are recommendations intended to assist in scheduling students for success.




    ·        Attendance:  Being present and actively participating in class. If absent, it is the student's responsibility to see what he or she has missed and make that work up as soon as possible.


    ·        Mathematics:  It is suggested that students have Algebra and Geometry completed with a grade of B or better. 


    ·        Reading/Writing: It is suggested that students have a 9th -10th grade reading level.  Technical writing in this class is required.


    ·        Science:  No prerequisites for this course.


    Professional Skills


    ·        Time Management:  Students need to apply themselves on a daily basis.


    ·        Personal Motivation:  Actively seeking and taking part in any undertaking relating to the chosen skill area. 


    ·        Problem-Solving Ability:  This course encourages and teaches students to problem solve and use critical thinking to solve problems.


    ·        Reliability/Dependability: Demonstration by the student that he/she can be relied upon to do what is expected in class and in group work. This includes completing assignments on time in a professional manner, and working with his/her group or partner.


    ·        Ability to Work with Others:  A variety of skills including teamwork are addressed.  In this course, students must work in groups on various tasks and projects for solving problems, generating ideas, and stimulating critical thinking by unrestrained spontaneous participation in discussion.  Students will acquire strong teamwork and communication skills throughout this course.