|14 Jul 2009
Students must understand the principles of digital communication before they work on actual systems. When digital communication coursework is nothing but theory, however, students leave their core classes swimming in information and unsure how all the pieces fit together. They know how to manipulate equations, but have no idea how a real system works.
In ECEn 485: Introduction to Digital Communication Theory, a senior-level elective at Brigham Young University, I present the theory and its implementation at the same time. Students use MATLAB® and Simulink® to design and test digital modems and communication systems. Simulink enables me to link theory to concrete implementation in an interactive environment. I can respond to a question in lecture by quickly assembling an example in Simulink and running a simulation. The students see the theory embodied in the system on the screen. I ask them to predict what will happen if we change this parameter or that, and then show them the results of each change in the output. In this way, the theory becomes tangible, and they are no longer intimidated by the math.
By Michael Rice, Ph.D., Brigham Young University
This article was published in MATLAB Digest | Academic Edition, April 2009