EdX began in May, 2012 as a not-for-profit joint venture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. Currently, many top-level colleges and universities have come on board. Branded as a massive open online course (MOOC) provider, it is open to anyone who wants to take any of over 500 courses online.
Prominent among the course offerings are rather challenging electronics, computer programming and networking courses, many of them free. EdX offers certification upon completion. The individual learning institutions have the option of offering course credit, leading to a diploma. Even without actual course credit, certificates of participation are valuable on the resume.
MIT’s Circuits and Electronics was the first, flagship course. Taught by Professor Anant Agarwal and associates as streaming video, it introduces electronic engineering in the context of lumped circuit abstraction.
Professor Agarwal is an absolutely brilliant lecturer. I’ve never met him, but he comes off as the kind of person who would probably like to have you call him by his first name, Anant. He uses a good measure of humor to enliven his presentations, but the material is advanced and assumes background knowledge. By the end of the course, you will have acquired advanced expertise in circuit building and analysis.
Participants learn about:
Lumped circuit models and techniques including node method, superposition and Thevenin analysis.
Use of intuition to approximate time and frequency behavior of capacitive and inductive circuits.
Mathematical representation of circuits.
Construction of digital gates, amplifiers and filters in a virtual laboratory.
Measurement of circuit variables using virtual oscilloscopes, multimeters and signal generators.
Comparing measurements to behavior predicted by mathematical models.
The free course is open to anyone. Its nominal length is 16 weeks, 12 hours per week. However, participants set their own pace, slower or faster.
To succeed, participants must be competent in electricity, magnetism, basic calculus and linear algebra, with some background in differential equations. Advanced mathematics does not show up until the second half of the course. Prior to that, there is an optional section on differential equations.
Here’s the sign-up link:
MIT isn’t the only institution offering EE-related free courses online. Here are a few others of interest to engineers who use instrumentation:
Learner’s TV: There are a lot of free videos describing the use of process control instrumentation in this series. There are also lectures on principles of measurement systems, measurement of pressure and temperature, control thoery, transducers, and numerous related topics.
Temperatures.com: There’s a whole series of courses here on temperature measurement, as you’d guess from the name of the site, as well as lectures on load cells, pressure measurement, signal processing, control valves, and so forth. There are 40 in all.
BIN industrial training: This series of YouTube videos focuses on programmable logic controllers and measurement tasks normally associated with them. Probably valuable if you do a lot of work in industrial settings.
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