Value of Custom Hardware in Education


Instructors for digital logic and design courses have a wide variety of FPGA development kits to choose from. Should the instructor choose a commercial product or develop their own system? Is there added value to custom hardware? Two programmable logic device based development kits were designed, manufactured, and used in the instruction of Digital Logic I, Digital Logic II, and Digital System Design I at Oregon Institute of Technology. In this paper, we review commercial based offerings versus our custom hardware from both the pedagogical and value perspectives. Three use cases are evaluated- commercially available, student built, and custom contract manufactured development kits. We also outline problems that an instructor may come across in developing their own programmable logic development kit.

In 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, ASEE.