The course introduces engineering in the context of the lumped circuit abstraction. Topics covered include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; switches and MOS transistors; digital abstraction; amplifiers; energy storage elements; dynamics of first- and second-order networks; design in the time and frequency domains; and analog and digital circuits and applications. Design and lab exercises are also significant components of the course. In order to succeed in this course, you must have taken an AP level physics course in electricity and magnetism. You must know basic calculus and linear algebra and have some background in differential equations. Students who successfully earn enough points will receive an honor code certificate.
This was my first online class and I still consider it THE benchmark for what a great MOOC experience should be. Dr. Agarwal's passion for teaching really comes through in his ah-ha moments and other fun distractions that help make learning a tedious subject fun and engaging. The course also includes challenging homework assignments and a breadboard simulator too. One of my favorite parts of the course was discussing the lectures with friends on the forums.
The course combines RLC circuit theory with digital concepts which helps break it up into digestible chunks. My one knock is we did spend a lot of time on mosfets. If you want a thorough anlog and digital circuits introduction this is the best.
This was a terrific class that teaches the fundamentals of circuit analysis, including resistors, capacitors, inductors and with a particular focus on MOSFET transistors and their applications to amplifier circuits and digital logic circuits.
The basic toolbox of analysis methods which are presented includes analysis of passive circuit elements in the time domain using the fundamental device current-voltage relationships for passive devices. This then allows for the analysis of resistive networks, resistor-capacitor circuits and finally RLC circuits as well, in the time domain. Here differential equations are used; Prof. Agarwal does give a primer on how to solve such equations, though, so students who have never seen ordinary differential equations need not be scared away outright by the mathematics required here. The online forum also carries much of the water of helping those who are struggling with the sophistication of the mathematics of this part.
After treating circuits in the time domain, the course moves into frequency domain analysis of circuits. This part was a lot of fun and many motivating examples of filter circuits were provided. Finally, the course tied everything together by introducing operational amplifiers and the analysis of op amp circuits in both the frequency and time domains.
One particular feature of this course that made it so enjoyable was the quality of the homework and exam problems. These were not trivial routine exercises, but rather required the students to go above and beyond what was taught in the lectures and really apply the concepts to new scenarios. Often the problems required creativity in order to find the way to the solution.
The course also featured weekly lab exercises, which were to be done on a virtual circuit 'sandbox' that was integrated into the course website. These were also a lot of fun. Some labs required students to build circuits to conform to certain design parameters(eg: design an active filter circuit with a specified frequency response) and others served to reinforce concepts introduced in the lectures(eg: examining the effect of a diode bridge on an AC signal).
Overall, I was immensely impressed with the quality of the course. Prof. Agarwal is a terrific lecturer and his enthusiasm is truly infectious, such that by the end of the course many students had adopted his catchphrases(one common one was to describe illuminating concepts as "A-HA! moments"). Online courses can often feel like watered-down versions of real life courses, but this was certainly not the case here. This was every bit as difficult and a hell of a lot more fun than any course I took while in university, and I'd recommend the course to ANYONE wishing to gain a solid grasp of circuit analysis.
Of the 5 courses I've taken on edx and coursera, this was the Gold Standard. Everything was done right. The lectures were exceptional with annotated and clean lecture slides. The homework, exams, and labs are both challenging and instructive. Course administration was well managed. (Took spring 2012)
I watched these lectures on MIT's OCW as a supplement to a circuits and devices course at Penn State University -- University Park (EE 210). These lectures helped reinforce (and, at times, clarify) the most important concepts in my course. Highly recommended.
Wow! What an amazing effort. I am a university professor, taking this course to learn about MOOCs. I cannot express how much I admire Prof. Agarwal and his team for putting this superb course together and offering it for free to the world.
This course is the one I currently rank above all the other online courses I have taken. The lectures were clear and interesting. The problem sets were the right difficulty and very insightful. Some work does need to be done on the homework page layout and input of formulas. They may have fixed that in the current iteration (I took the initial March-June 2012 class). Excellent course.