Peer Legacy for ECE301: "Signals and Systems"

All students who have previously taken ECE301 are welcome to use this page to leave comments/give advice to future students.

  • I think the key to doing well in ECE301 is a combination of both understanding the material conceptually (which helps in any class) and doing plenty of practice problems. You should practice doing geometric sums and knowing how to manipulate sums using a change of variables to "reconfigure your sum" in the right format. The textbook - "Signals & Systems" by Oppenheim is really an excellent textbook, so utilize it to your own advantage. Lastly, if you aren't following the material during lecture, be sure to get help by either attending office hours with your professor or going to the teaching assistants! --rscheidt
  • Make sure when you reach the end of the course that you still remember why you're using convolution in the first place. "The output of a LTI system is the input convolved with the impulse response of the system." Why? How is the math producing the results you expect? --weim
  • As a senior undergraduate student, I will not say ECE301 is a hard class. But it was hard because it was the first time to apply mathematical theories to an electrical engineering course. We certainly use math in every engineering class but mainly for computing numbers. In ECE 301, students need to understand concepts through math. All the concepts are built up by mathematical equations. In order to see what each concept does, we just have to work out each mathematical equation, where we are able to analyze the results. For that class, math is the foundation but not the goal. Simply working on equations and numbers are not enough. Only when you understand the meanings behind formats, you are able to find small tricks in the exam, which are professors’ favorite. Also, the theories are very dry. I had to spend the whole semester to understand simple concepts. I would say it is possible for a student to get a good grade only working on math problems. But it requires a large amount of time on exercise. Even thought a student understood concepts, he or she still needs exercise intensively. Without understanding, this class will drag down other classes’ grades. Indeed, it is not hard. The same as any other ECE classes, the only advice I have: understand the materials and do the exercise.--pan11
  • I took 301 in Fall 2008 and it has been one of my favorite classes yet. I know several people will cringe at this statement, especially my friends in CompE ;) , but the fact of the matter remains; 301 lets you visualize processes in a way that no other class does. And that in my opinion is the key to doing well in 301: visualization.
If you attempt to memorize formulae, and mug up derivations; you might do ok, but to really do well and actually appreciate the subject, you need to visualize what happens to the functions as you do stuff to them. In other words, don't see it as a bunch of transforms and equations; you'll hate it then.
Also, visual understanding helps because:
A)This makes it easier for you to understand the math
B)Your answers consist of a few nicely labeled pictures instead of 2 pages of squiggly equations --Dlamba 01:39, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Having done higher level courses, I realized that 301 is teaching all possible fundamentals. Pay special attention to Sampling and Convolution if you intend to take any courses related to signal processing. Also, your concepts of Fourier and Z transforms should be absolutely clear for signal processing (DSP ECE 438).--Hersh Lalwani 14:55, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
  • The mistake which i made in my ECE 301 class was that i didn't clear my doubts in many of the concepts.But this realization hit me hard in my ECE 438 class,which is the successor of ECE 301.The various topics in ECE 301 are tough,but the moment you start understanding and solving the mathematics behind those concepts,things will be easier.Complex analysis,functions,limits,geometric series lies in the heart of signals.Plotting various signals seemed so abstruse initially,but an understanding of the math behind it,will clarify all doubts.It is a very important and a fundamental course for many other future interesting courses.--apanja
  • ECE301 is not a difficult class. ECE301 course introduces some transforms such as laplace, furiere and z-transform and signals and systems of continuous-time and discrete-time. However, it contains a lot of mathematics skill and some tricky part mathematically. So you should solve as many problems as you can. I also recommend ECE306 lab class. It will really help your understanding of ECE301 material. sje
  • ECE301 is a class that requires an understanding of the homework. The material covered in this course is very different than that of previous courses. While the book offers guidance, the ability to understand and complete the homework assignments will truly help an individual succeed. Also, it is best to truly stay on top of the material in this course. Because so much of the material builds, knowing the basics in the beginning is crucial. --kheldman
  • As with every other ECE class (and hopefully classes in every other department), hard mental work is required to understand the material - don't be fooled into complacency by the contributors who say the course is easy (SPOILER ALERT: it's not). The real challenge with ECE301 is that while the applications of the course are diverse and rich, not much time is spent exploring them; there simply isn't enough time to do this and do the course justice. This means that the class is taught in a very theoretical fashion. It is critical that students persist, even though theoretical courses tend to be harder to understand. The material is incredibly useful in practice (although it may not be immediately obvious), and I can say personally that while I hated the course at the time, its applications have become areas of personal interest. To attain success: understand fully the discrete math early and take the time to learn the transforms at the beginning of the class. The concepts for each transform are essentially the same (although the nuances are, naturally, different), so getting an early immersion will make you the envy of your classmates after midterm one (and who doesn't want that?). --Ryan Taylor
  • This class is the introduction to digital and analog communications. It is a hard class because it involves a lot of integration and alternation between the time domain and frequency domain (the course requires that you become pretty familiar with both domains and the relationship between them). It adds on to the filtering methods learned in 202 and sets the foundations to the understanding of communications. It is imperative to stay up to date with the material given in class. And try to understand the concepts deeply. --Carlos Leon
  • Taking ece301 may be frustrating at first but if you can make it through with a solid conceptual understanding of what you are doing, it opens up many possibilities in the future in a variety of different applications. It may not seem like a "hands-on" class at first, but you will be amazed at how many real life applications will come easy to you in the future if you take away a solid understanding! --Chris Pfeiffer
  • This course has a fair amount of math and you end up spending a lot of time doing things like proving linearity in a system or computing convolutions. The math is really not that difficult but instead 'tricky'; it's possible to spend a lot of time on little simplifications that are easy to miss (like realizing you can form a few of your e^jw's into a cos) and this can lead to immense frustration. This is sometimes discouraging, but my advice would be to reject all of that and understand what you are actually trying to do with the math. If you understand how different system properties affect an input, and how to take a signal to the frequency domain and back, the math becomes more of a tool then a problem. --Mike Mitchell
  • In the beginning of this course is mostly about math. Understanding the Fourier transform, Laplace transform, and LTI system will help to understand this course better. Also it is important to practice the example questions in order to understand better about signal properties. --[User:yoon47|Changkeun]]
  • Depending on your professor, you may either end up learning the concepts AND execution, or just the concepts. Learning just the concepts, I learned a lot of proofs. How to get through the course? Do every single homework that's assigned. The only way to learn this stuff is to drill it by repeatedly going over the concepts, and this is done through homework. I have to say, ECE301 was the first ECE class that I enjoyed ... not to mention that it was partly because Prof. Bouman is very, VERY entertaining and enthusiastic. That always helps. --Kimberly
  • I had Prof. Boumann for this class and all he taught in the class was concepts. I think the key to do well in this class is understanding the material conceptually and doing every homework problems assigned. The math is very tricky, if you choose to solve any problem mathematically. Instead, understand the concept and the math would be simplified significantly. I don't see any need for the textbook as long as you take notes in the class. Prof. Boumann also posted almost all of the lecture material online which is very helpful. --hirawan
  • I took this class with Professor Bouman and he is a really good professor. His lecture is well organized and he explains really well. He likes to make fun of his spelling of words. If you want a good grade from his section, make sure you practice the problems that he has on the website and understand the math tricks. Overall, this class is a fundamental class and is not intended to be very hard. If you learn and practice, you should get your desired grade. --lyang
  • If you have the opportunity to take this class with Bouman, do it. I thoroughly enjoyed the math in this class, so elegant! The logic and proofs were certainly worthwhile. The concepts are very important. This class is characterized by very logical and connected concepts vs. seemingly disconnected rules and formulas to memorize.--Kelton
  • I think I only really enjoyed this class because Bouman was teaching it. The concepts are taught very well and in a organized fashion. This class is a lead up for ECE 438. As is the trick with passing ever ECE class, you should do every homework and go to the TA for help on anything that is not crystal clear. There is a lot of math and proofs so be prepared to spend some time just working on equations. --Le
  • ECE301 provides the foundation for signal processing and frequency domain representations of signals. If you intend to go further in signal processing, you must take this class seriously. It is important to gain a functioning knowledge of Fourier Transform properties and other topics covered. Consider taking the ECE306 lab alongside this class. ECE306 teaches you to use a spectrum/network analyzer to observe frequency responses of circuits, and supplements the theoretical material in ECE301 very well. If you enjoyed this class and want to learn more, consider taking ECE438 or ECE440. - Kirk
  • This is definitely one of my favorite courses in EE. When I took this course under Professor Bouman, I was very shocked by the material because it was all completely new. But Professor Bouman really makes sure he slams the basics of this course into you. He is open to any number of questions and will gladly spend an entire lecture explaining any doubts you might have simply because he is so passionate about the subject. In turn it helped me take a great interest in the course and do well in it. --VIneet
  • ECE301 is the backbone to signals and systems. The Fourier Transform is learned and replaces the Laplace Transform, learned in ECE202. Fourier is used extensively after this course, so be sure to take is seriously; you will see that topic again if you're interested in signal processing. Make sure to get a good professor for this class, otherwise you'll be scratching your head in future classes. --Mike Wolfer
  • After taking ECE 438 and looking back on ECE 301, it is easy to realize how important the basics of 301 are to master. I enjoyed taking taking 301 as it was the first class to offer a different view on EE. It uses some ideas learned in ECE 202 and builds on them, such as the Laplace Transform. Be sure to brush up on integrals and summations as they will be used excessively. --Hale Petersen
  • ECE 301 was one of the more enjoyable courses for me in my college experience. I took it over the summer under the instruction of a graduate student, Landis Huffman. Although I did not recieve the instruction of a professor, I felt that Landis did a wonderful job, and it made him more approachable in office hours. My advice to future students: learn the basics and practice them frequently. You may think you have the material down after a couple problems, but there are a lot of different signals and tricks to understand for each of them. Practice with all kinds of problems, then do it again. And like other courses, don't be afraid to ask questions in office hourse. Visiting Landis in his office at least twice a week is what paved my way to success in this course. - Tylor Thompson

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