Valpo Engineering Offers New Course to Students Around the World

Mark M. Budnik, Ph.D.
Mark M. Budnik, Ph.D.

The College of Engineering is partnering with Texas Instruments, element 14, and Udemy to offer a new Massive open online course (MOOC), Introduction to Microcontrollers and the C Programming Language, to students from around the world.

This is the first MOOC offered at Valpo and is led by Mark M. Budnik, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and the Paul and Cleo Brandt Professor of Engineering. Professor Budnik joined Valpo in 2006 after a 16-year career in the electronics industry, bringing experience in engineering and engineering management. He says training was the most rewarding aspect of his career, and he wanted to focus on engineering education.

Valpo Engineering Offers New Course to Students Around the WorldAs part of the Brandt Professorship, Professor Budnik researches and develops innovative new education techniques and integrates them with Valpo’s engineering curriculum. The MOOC takes a hands-on, interactive approach to learning about microcontrollers and C programming and combines each lecture with a hands-on laboratory assignment. Throughout the course, students practice methods used by Texas Instruments developers, creating programs for a microcontroller using inputs/outputs, timers, analog-to-digital converters, communication ports, and LCDs.

More than 1,000 students from 66 countries have taken the course, and the reviewed have been overwhelmingly positive — earning an overall raiting of 4.6 out of 5.0. Students receive unlimited access to the software, which contains more than 113 lectures and 32 hours of content, and students can pick and choose the modules they need.

In April, Professor Budnik, along with Stewart Thomas, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, presented a paper about the course at the American Society of Engineering Education Illinois/Indiana Section Conference. Entitled “Is it a MOOC or is it a Textbook for the 21st Century,” their paper was named the outstanding paper of the conference.