Experiments on multimedia support of VLSI design teaching in the MODEM project

This paper presents the results of a two-year effort carried out in the framework of the European MODEM project, aiming at the creation of multimedia learning material for VLSI Design. The specific topic addressed by this experimentation, coherent with timing and man power constraints, is the design of CMOS memory devices. The learning material is organised in subject modules including a tutorial part which presents the design procedures and knowledge the student has to understand and an "exercise" part for reviewing purposes. Each subject module also includes more activelearning oriented parts such as “animation” and/or “simulation” parts and is structured in a set of sections
preceded by a general introduction and terminated by general conclusions. The learning material has been subject to some evaluations at different locations and the conclusions are rather encouraging. Key Words: Computer Aided Learning, Multimedia, VLSI Design, CMOS memory cells
1. Introduction
MODEM (Multimedia Optimisation and Demonstration for Education in Microelectronics) was an European project in the framework of the “Telematics Application Programme” with a timeframe of two years. Among the objectives of this project, it can be quoted · The development of three multimedia based tools for microelectronics teaching: Material characterisation, Simulation assisted learning and VLSI Design · The creation of a courseware development toolbox
· The evaluation of the VLSI Design course · The verification of the tele-teaching environment using the VLSI Design course Each of the multimedia based tools provides a case study for the MODEM toolbox and at the same time, is
intended to serve for demonstration purposes to the wider industrial and academic microelectronics community.
More information about the MODEM project can be found in [1]. In this paper only the VLSI Design multimedia learning
material, that will be called for short “VLSI Design  Demonstrator” is discussed. The partners involved in the corresponding development were essentially Dr. S. Lidholm from the National Microelectronics Research Center at Cork, Ireland and the authors. Two main evaluations have been set up for the VLSI Design Demonstrator, a first one in a stand-alone environment and a second one in a networked environment.

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