Fall 2016 – Week 6 Class Notes

Week 6 has just begun! Keep up the good work.

Computer Programming

We are now officially programming! I know it took us a while to get here, but I think that the preparation time was worthwhile. My goal was to hone your intuitions so that everything the computer does makes more sense as we learn about it. Remember – computers are stupid! They only do what you tell them! Everything they do has to be listed in the instructions or it doesn’t happen! Keeping those things in mind will propel you to really understanding computer programming.

Note that from here out even though the only official homework assignments are the problems in the back of the book, you will be a much better programmer if you type in each of the programs in each chapter. This experience will help you out a lot.

The second problem in the homework assignment may be beyond what is possible from where you are. However, think about the problem and make an attempt at it, even if you don’t get it all the way working.

Everyone is doing a good job on the computers during class. You all have a good ability to type, and a good habit of making the programs your own.


For most of the students, electronics is the most difficult class. I know that many of you are struggling, but take heart! This is not only your first year to take electronics, it is also my first year to teach it, so I am still finding out at what pace everybody learns at.

I know you are struggling, but I am more encouraged by what you do know than what you don’t yet know. Some of it will come with time. Because of that, I am taking this week as a review week. We will not go through the next chapter this week. Instead, take the time to re-read the previous two chapters (Series/Parallel and Diodes). See if you can re-work some of the problems. Don’t just take a break, use this as an opportunity to catch up.

Focus especially on Kirchoff’s Voltage Law. This is a pivotal (and somewhat unintuitive) law that is leveraged over and over in electronics. Being familiar with it and how to work problems with it will help you immensely!

Most people had difficulty with the quizzes this week. That’s okay, because even though you are especially familiar with the material from the last two weeks, most of you did very well on the material before that. However, let me point out that when doing anything, you should always show your work. I was able to give partial credit on several questions, but only if I could see what you were doing. If you just have a wrong answer, I can do nothing but mark it wrong. If you show me your thinking, I can at least give you credit for the parts of your thinking which are correct. Also, in complex problems, leaving it completely blank is unhelpful. The last question I gave partial credit to anyone who even started working on it. If you just labelled the resistors with their voltage drops without doing any calculations I gave some credit because I could verify that you had some understanding. I only labor on this point because it will help you in the long run.

The average value for the quiz was 28/40 (basically a low C). I had two students get 40/40. I had no one get less than half. That tells me that the work is difficult but doable, and that you all may be struggling, but are definitely making steady progress.

If you have any struggles or questions about the material, please email me!


Not much to say on the Calculus front – GO CALCULUS STUDENTS! Today we worked on solving real-world problems using Calculus, and generalizing our solutions developed in Calculus into basic formulas.

Next week, we will look at the derivative from a different perspective – the perspective of the differential. Chapter 9 this week!

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