EF 230 "Online" Section Information

If you are enrolled in the 2:30 PM WF section, you are in the online section of this course.

This class has required meetings once per week - Fridays - for team project activities and quizzes. You will have the same quizzes, assignments and projects as the MWF sections. Wednesdays are designated as recommended but optional help sessions. In addition you'll need to schedule weekly team meetings outside of the class hours.

Although the class meets only once per week, in reality it requires more discipline and, often, more work than the MWF section.

After you read through this page, enrolled online section students who wish to remain in the online section must complete the Online Section Agreement Form by Jan 15 or should switch to a traditional section (space permitting).

In the Online Section YOU are responsible for:

  1. Using the online resources to self-learn and practice all course material on your own and complete all Pre-Lab and Lab Assignments on the same schedule as the in-class sections. You will not receive reminders for reading lab content, completing assignments, or quiz days and project deadlines, staying on schedule is your responsiblity. To access the course materials and schedule, open the menu item "Learning" on the website. (You will not need to answer VolPoll questions, but you may choose to read these questions to test your own comprehension).
  2. Attending all weekly class meetings for hands-on activities, team project meetings, and scheduled exams/quizzes. with your personal laptop conforming to the TCE laptop requirements. For special circumstances regarding laptops, please contact Dr Biegalski.
  3. Coordinating your schedule with your project team members for outside of class team meetings each week with your team members in EF facilities (in addition to the required Friday team meetings). You have 8am-5pm access MTWRF to the hacklab rooms to work on your project. To achieve success on the Team Project YOU CAN'T ONLY MEET with your team on Thursdays. In class teams are meeting 3x per week. It is highly recommended to schedule some of your team work periods during Wednesday staffed help sessions (during your class time), class HackLab dates shown on the Labs page (staffed hours: 9AM-3:30PM), and other staffed help sessions posted each week on the announcements.

Online Section 2020 Tentative Schedule

Meeting Date Topic
Week 1a Wed Jan 8 Introduction - Per 319
Week 1b Fri Jan 10 Hacklab - Intro to Robots - EF Workshop
Week 2 Fri Jan 17 Hacklab - Robots and Images - EF Workshop
Week 3 Fri Jan 24 Module 1 Quiz - Per 319
Week 4 Fri Jan 31 HackLab - Arduinos - EF Workshop
Week 5 Fri Feb 7 Module 2 Quiz - Per 319
Week 6 Fri Feb 14 HackLab - EF Workshop - Project Deadline 1 - EF Workshop
Week 7 Fri Feb 21 HackLab - EF Workshop
Week 8 Fri Feb 28 MODULE 3 QUIZ - Per 319
Week 9 Fri Mar 6 PROJECT TESTING - EF Workshop
Week 10 Fri Mar 13 HackLab - EF Workshop
No meeting Fri Mar 20 no class Spring Break
Week 11 Fri Mar 27 Module 4 Quiz - Per 319
Week 12 Fri Apr 3 Project Faire - EF Workshop
No meeting Fri Apr 10 Holiday Break
Week 13 Fri Apr 17 Simulation and Website - Per 319
Week 14 Fri Apr 24 Review/Help Session - Per 319
In addition you will have a final exam.

Online Section Responsibilities

  • It is your responsibility to keep up with the class.
  • You use the same schedule and do the same homeworks and projects as the rest of the class.
    • You are expected to stay current with the course announcements and read your emails.
    • View each day's lab on the appropriate day, review the "Assignments", and stay apprised of homework and project due dates.
    • You will need to adhere to the same due dates as the in-class section. Homeworks are typically due one week after being assigned. You will not have access to labs, homeworks, and projects ahead of the in-class section. Matlab Solutions for in-class exercises are visible the evening after the lab.
  • You will take exams/quizzes on campus on scheduled exam/quiz days. You will be assigned to a time slot but you'll have the opportunity to adjust your scheduled time slot.
  • You will be required to participate in team projects and team project work periods, both during your scheduled online section meeting and additional work sessions. You will be required to coordinate your schedule with other online students and spend a significant amount of time on campus in our EF facilities to complete your project. Do not expect to be able to complete a project in one week.
  • The 5% participation grade will not be based on class attendance three days per week - it will be replaced by a few other online section specific grades, including attendance on Thursdays and filling out forms/surveys. Online students do not need to answer VolPoll Questions or submit code for Lab problems when working through labs on your own. Online students will need to answer volpoll questions when attending class.
  • There should be no additional (distance-ed) fees for the online section.
  • If you decide that you aren't able to successfully complete the class in an online mode it is possible (space permitting) to move you to a regular section later on in the semester.
  • You are required to complete the "Online Section Agreement" Feedback form by its due date.
Guidance and Assistance for online students
please refer to general Help information as well
  • You are welcome and encouraged to make use of any scheduled help sessions.
  • You are welcome to attend (space permitting) any of the regular labs as needed. When you attend a lab, you are expected to participate by answering the VolPoll questions.
  • You are welcome and encouraged to use the Discussion board.


  • I am not able to come to campus. Can I do the online class remotely? No. You are required to be on-campus for weekly meetings, multiple weekly team project work sessions, quizzes, and exams. 35% of your grade is projects; 35% of your effort should be working with teammates. The hands-on hardware (e.g. robots, microcontrollers) is only available for use here in our EF facilities.
  • I don't have a laptop. Can I do the online class without a laptop? You will need a computer with access to MATLAB for this course. Team projects require one laptop per team with a local install of MATLAB. Some quiz and exam time slots may be laptop only.

    Feedback from online students

    Click on the questions below to view the responses...

    What did you like about the online section?

    • I liked that I didn't have to dedicate a set time to this class. It was nice working on everything at my own pace. I like that the resources for help were there if I needed them. It's easy to know what needs to be done because of the announcements page. Also the labs usually have a 'graded items' section at the end to remind me what needed to be done. Everything is laid out pretty clearly.
    • I can work at my own pace and learn on my own time.
    • I liked the freedom the online section had to offer. I did not have to worry about going to class or dealing with class participation. I could just do the work assigned at my leisure at any place of my choosing.
    • No class!!
    • Not having to meet for a class and to be able to learn at my own speed. The videos helped a lot.
    • It was a lot better use of my time than coming in and commuting to class.
    • The videos were very clear and easy to follow along with.
    • I could learn at my own pace and get help when I needed it
    • The freedom of being able to do the work when you want. Not having a scheduled class time.
    • I liked that I was able to do the assignments on my schedule. I spent a lot less time on the labs and the assignments than I would have in a class three days a week but I still retained the information and made good grades on projects, homework, and exam. Saved a lot of my time. Also I always love how organized the EF sites are.
    • I get to work at my own pace.
    • Self paced. Easy access to resources and materials. No class sessions.
    • Being able to do things relatively on my own. It helped me learn more.
    • I was able to have a flexible schedule not having to get marked off from not attending class. Working at my own pace.
    • Not having to wake up early and having to go to class.
    • Being able to work on my own time, when it is convenient for me.
    • The ability to complete work on my own time.
    • SOOOOOOOO convenient. It was perfect for a class that requires use of a computer.
    • Freedom of when we can work through course content
    • I liked that I could do the class at my own pace.
    • I could out as much work into it as I wanted to. I started the semester by watching every second of the videos, then got busy and stopped watching all of them and noticed I could do the assignments and see the videos when I needed help
    • I liked having time to learn it at my own speed, and being able to watch videos that are very resourceful.
    • being able to learn at a faster pace than the in-class students without having to go to class; much more flexible with my busy schedule
    • I liked that I work on this class whenever I wanted to and was not confined to a class period.

    What did you not like about the online section?

    • Nothing
    • I disliked the fact that it felt like we had less help on assignments as compared to in class students, but it is hard for faculty to help when people in the online section don't go to class. So yeah.
    • Arduino project required a lot of time.
    • Finding time to do the projects.
    • It was sometimes difficult to make myself sit down and watch videos. I think i would have benefited more from an ordinary classroom setting.
    • Nothing I would do it again
    • Some work was hard without being able to ask questions
    • Hard to find times to come in for group projects. Some hws were hard to get help on.
    • I didn't like not being guided through some of the things that we learned that were more difficult.
    • Having to go to projects
    • I get behind not being in class and the projects are a little more difficult for me with that reason.
    • It is easy to get behind if you do not keep up with the labs and homeworks. Also, not having a TA in class to help with some of the harder parts.
    • Nothing I particularly disliked. I do think it would be easy for an irresponsible student to fall behind, but that is obviously the student's fault not the instructor's fault.
    • The only thing I didn't like about the online section is really my own fault. It was hard for me to be motivated enough to do work for a class that I never actually physically went to. Going to class motivates me to get the work done. I managed to get everything done, but it was really difficult to get started on a lot of stuff.
    • Not being able to ask for help as easily.
    • On busy MWF days it was easy to forget I had an online class.
    • Easy to forget due dates
    • I didn't like how I don't get a teacher to ask immediately if I am confused, but it is the online section.
    • It made it much harder to coordinate time on projects.
    • group projects with other people in the online section are difficult to organize
    • Hard to remember when things are due
    • it had the potential to become very challenging
    • nothing
    • nothing to remind me to do the labs and homework
    • Not as much personal help, harder to understand some concepts
    • It made it very easy to neglect to do the assignments.
    • I do not think I learned as much because I did not pay as much attention

    Suggestions for improving the online section?

    • Nothing
    • Maybe shorter lecture videos.
    • Make sure online students watch the video lectures.
    • I can't really think of anything to make it better. It was good. I'm not great with online classes and there is nothing you can do to change that.
    • I feel like it was very well organized and thought through. Wasn't anything specifically that I ever had a problem with.
    • No. It works well for people who put in the work.
    • Have videos for the project introduction
    • I liked the setup of the online section! Nothing really i can criticize.
    • I think the online section is great for people who can handle the responsibility of working on a class on your own.
    • Maybe provide more ways of TA-student interaction so tests are easier.
    • nothing; it is phenomenal as-is
    • have TAs designated specifically for students in the ol section
    • Overall I found this to be one of the best online classes I've ever taken and ran into very few issues with it that being in a traditional class would have avoided.
    • None.
    • Giving us different projects where we do not need the lab
    • Get the interaction and notification for assignments a little bit better.
    • Spread the grades out more evenly for projects. For many people taking the online section, having to work with group members for a 20% total grade is difficult since the point of taking the online class was to avoid class hours.
    • In my opinion it is the best it can be. No matter what is changed the material of this course will be challenging at some point to someone taking the class online
    • none
    • Provide a better system for working with team members for online students
    • More communication.
    • some sort of reminder system
    • 'attendance' grades if you will for completing/ reading labs like there are in class so it gives more motivation to remember to do the lab and not get behind
    • Make it a requirement for students to have occasional in-person meetings to ensure adequate progress within the class.

    What advice would you give to someone considering taking the online section?

    • It is a good idea if you're good at remembering to check announcements and do the labs three times a week.
    • Keep track of all the assignments due because no one is going to remind you when anything is due. If you need help don't be afraid to attend a help session, or email a TA or the professor. They are always willing to help.
    • Make sure you are disciplined enough to take it.
    • Take it and make sure to keep up.
    • It's nice not to have to meet for a class but if you learn better in a class don't take it online. If you do take it online be sure to stay on top of the labs and the homework.
    • Take the online class because its a better use of your time. Think about all the time lost in walking / driving to class.
    • Schedule a consistent time and day to do the labs as if you were in a normal classroom. If not it is very easy to not watch the labs at all.
    • take it if you are pretty confident you can learn it yourself. If you're bad at teaching yourself don't take it
    • Do it as long as you think you're capable of learning the material on your own
    • Do it.
    • I would say do it if you are self driven enough. It will save a lot of your time. If you aren't very responsible or easily forgetful the online may not be for you.
    • Keep up with it. Check the website frequently. Go ask for help when you need it.
    • Keep up. Do hws in advance.
    • Keep up with the videos
    • If you need help ask don't let your questions pile up.
    • Take it.
    • Make sure to stay on top of the homework assignments. Set a reminder at the same time every couple days to check the website.
    • If they like to have flexibility rather than be motivated by a forced structure of a normal class.
    • Stay on track with all the work and do not get behind.
    • If you are able to make yourself do the work on your own time, the online section is perfect. If you struggle with this type of learning, do not take it.
    • Stay on top of assignments and already be fairly fluent in MATLAB before taking the online section.
    • READ THE LABS. Your life will be a lot easier if you just skim the labs on the day that they're supposed to be done in class. It's easy to skip reading the labs every time, but that's also a good way of getting behind and missing a lot of questions on the homework. Life is much easier if you just follow the instructions.
    • Make sure you don't get behind with the labs because of how much of the labs you see on the tests.
    • A person who takes the online section is better off if they are somewhat familiar with how matlab and programming already works. It can save lots of time.
    • go through the labs on time
    • Only take the online section if you have some experience with programming.
    • You have to be very self disciplined with this course. If you are not able to keep up without a constant reminder, you will fall behind.
    • Be sure to keep up with due dates
    • Be sure to keep track of when everything is due
    • Watch the videos, and know how to be able to look up information on the website.
    • Definitely use the help sessions if you have any trouble. Don't let the lectures/homeworks get too far behind you.
    • dont forget to check up on it
    • Keep up with assignments!
    • Make sure you know when things are due
    • consider whether you are easily able to learn on your own or if you often need in-person help or someone to explain it in front of you. if the former, by all means take the online class it was awesome
    • Make sure you have the discipline to stay on top of assignments
    • Do it.
    • Use a calendar
    • Make sure you set time aside to read and do labs and examples
    • Make sure that you are diligent in keeping up with assignments.
    • The videos are very helpful, so watch them.