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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to FPGA Design for Embedded Systems by University of Colorado Boulder

1,146 ratings

About the Course

This course can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5360, part of CU Boulder’s Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Programmable Logic has become more and more common as a core technology used to build electronic systems. By integrating soft-core or hardcore processors, these devices have become complete systems on a chip, steadily displacing general purpose processors and ASICs. In particular, high performance systems are now almost always implemented with FPGAs. This course will give you the foundation for FPGA design in Embedded Systems along with practical design skills. You will learn what an FPGA is and how this technology was developed, how to select the best FPGA architecture for a given application, how to use state of the art software tools for FPGA development, and solve critical digital design problems using FPGAs. You use FPGA development tools to complete several example designs, including a custom processor. If you are thinking of a career in Electronics Design or an engineer looking at a career change, this is a great course to enhance your career opportunities. Hardware Requirements: You must have access to computer resources to run the development tools, a PC running either Windows 7, 8, or 10 or a recent Linux OS which must be RHEL 6.5 or CentOS Linux 6.5 or later. Either Linux OS could be run as a virtual machine under Windows 8 or 10. The tools do not run on Apple Mac computers. Whatever the OS, the computer must have at least 8 GB of RAM. Most new laptops will have this, or it may be possible to upgrade the memory....

Top reviews


Jun 11, 2023

This was a great course, especially for someone who has never studied anything about FPGAs before. Timothy is an excellent lecturer whose practical experience in the industry comes through.


May 20, 2020

Great course! It is an introductory level, however, deep aspects of Intel Quartus Prime are studied and used. This course also gives a broad perspective overview of FPGA and CPLD families.

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1 - 25 of 286 Reviews for Introduction to FPGA Design for Embedded Systems

By diemilio

Nov 26, 2019

Instructor is good, most of the material is appropriate for an introductory course, but there were a few things that I think could be improved/changed:

1. A much better description of the examples used in weeks 2 and 4 could have been provided. The instructor jumps into the multiplier/ALU and processor right away without any explanation of what they do and how they are architectured. A written document describing what they are would help.

2. The Quartus Prime tutorials given during week 2 are good, but the use of TimeQuest is overly complicated and little description is given on what each tool item covered is for.

3. The material covered in week 3 is very repetitive and could easily be learned by the students just by looking at datasheets. Explaining that there are a wide variety of FPGAs, and what the potential differences are is important, but in my opinion way too much time was used to cover this. I would use the time to cover Quartus Prime in more detail.

4. Some material is missing. For example, during the lecture on how to program the FPGA, there is reference to an LED programing code, which is missing from the course files.

5. At the beginning of the course, it is recommended to purchase DE10-Lite board if the students are interested in taking the "specialization", but the remaining 2 courses are still not up yet into coursera, and there is no info if they will ever be.

By Curtis N

Aug 15, 2018

This is largely a survey of the Altera/Intel tools and of vendors' CPLD and FPGA offerings. The "build a design" part of the course is rote learning, not foundation knowledge. You do not write Verilog or VHDL in this course. It's unclear what the "for embedded systems" part of the course title means.

By arash n

Jan 8, 2019

The course is very very introductory and can only make you a little familiarize to FPGA/CPLD types and basics of programming FPGA... you will not be even upgraded to beginner, by taking this course.

Coursea charges $99 for a course that you could get the knowledge just by reading materials you could find by a simple search on google.

highly NOT recommended.

By Gary F

Jun 29, 2018

I really enjoyed this course. The instructor is by far the best I have encountered on any on-line (or classroom) course. I'm now waiting for the rest of the specialisation.

By Ammon D

Oct 9, 2019

I was very excited to take this course. Unfortunately, the materials that are said to be available are nowhere to be found. Many students having this problem. (Week 2 - Video 4).

By Aniss B

Mar 2, 2020

Overall a good introductory course for absolute beginners to FPGAs.

* What you will learn:

- a basic understanding of programmable logic devices

- an overview of the main design steps

- a list of criteria for hardware selection

- how to perform the most common tasks with Intel/Altera Quartus Prime Lite software

* What you will NOT learn:

- HDL (Verilog or VHDL): most design entries are done with gates or schematics

- to design anything more than a "Hello World"/"LED Blink" application

* What is good:

- accessible with minimal to no software/hardware/prior knowledge requirements

- pace and assignments difficulty are appropriate

* What could be improved:

- community moderation and animation: a LOT of cheating appears in the peer reviews and forum discussions are non existent

- switch the repetitive hardware review (week 3) to real life applications and how to select the appropriate hardware for them

- more time explaining WHY some actions/settings are done in Quartus Prime Lite

By Jose P E

Mar 14, 2018

I'm just auditing the course.

Even though I really like it, as a beginner I see a lot of material that is just covered lightly. I guess that's OK since there are still more courses in the specialization to cover more subjects.

Anyway, the reason I'm giving it only 2 stars is because I find it expensive. $100 per course is more than what I'd want to pay. If it was less expensive, I'd take the specialization.

By Syed M

Sep 18, 2018

Very challenging course with tough assignments and quizes to pass with deadlines but i enjoyed this.

I got practical experience in designing, compiling and analyzing FPGA circuits.

By Nicole K

Feb 3, 2023

Ancient course with material that is almost a decade old in a field that is rapidly changing.

The cited sources have no clickable links and it is exhausting to manually type in the URLS by hand to read the articles that are exhausting to read anyways. I pay a university to efficiently spoon feed me information in a topic that is otherwise difficult to broach alone, yet I find myself spoonfeeding the shortcomings of this course. I find I am meticulously piecing together viable interpretations of information that should otherwise be given to me in a competent and organized fashion. Too much focus in 'streamlining' the course material, not enough focus on providing it.

Regrettably, this course also does not acknowledge the existence of useful opensource fpga tools for this course like Logsim or open source hardware like icebreaker bitsy. Instead they opt for having you 'hand draw' messy logic circuits and use kludgy, locked-down intel ecosystems with unknown software and possibly unsafe internals. FPGA is a hard topic and this is not the place to learn it.


Jul 31, 2020

This is an extremely good course and I learned a lot. Thank you very much sir "Timothy Scherr " and all the people who make this a such a nice one. Also thank you very much "COURSERA" !!!

By Rafael D

Oct 25, 2018

Very good course, focused on the quartus prime tool and touch a lot of topics on FPGA design, optimization, time analysis and a little of comparison between Altera and other FPGA vendors.

By Papu M

Nov 6, 2020

This course is very basic level and I encourage all the electronics students must take this course. Thank you Timothy Scherr Sir, he explained all the concepts with detailed explanation.


Nov 10, 2020

This is a very nice course that broadened my knowladge. I will be happy to continue next courses. Each video has need to be watched several times, there are a lot of useful information.

By Durga S

Apr 23, 2019

Simply awsesome, i was unaware of what actually is fpga designing or what days an fpga designer do, now I know the basics of it and am happy to learn, Thanks coursera

By Qiaoqiao G

Apr 18, 2018

A large amount of information is packed into this short course. If you need someone to guide you through the basics of FPGA design, I highly recommend it to you.


Apr 29, 2018

Must take course to master the FPGA EDA Tools skills. Excellent examples,with great elaboration. Thank you so much coursera for such a nice course.

By Sanjay A M

May 5, 2020

The course was exceptional with very structured and organized way of delivering content to the students. A must do course for all FPGA beginner's.

By Indu G

Feb 21, 2019

People who are very really interested in design perspective of embedded systems and digital logic designs can take this course which is worthful

By Sebastian R

Oct 22, 2018

Excellent course. Very complete and detailed. After the course many of the Altera Quartus Prime feature will be really familiar and easy to use.

By Adil e m m

Jan 13, 2020

HI Iam very happy with this course make me understand what an FPGA ,Ithink it is very good and not forget to thank timothy thank aolt

By Joel M

Feb 17, 2019

One of the best class I've attended. Explanations and examples are crystal clear, and the instructor is really good at teaching.

By Safee U R

Nov 23, 2021

I would recommend this course for the beginners who have just started digital designing

By 101 A K

Dec 17, 2022

the course was awesome. Made me learn more interesting way. Loved the course!!

By Ralph W

Oct 16, 2017

I thought that this course was an absolutely wonderful introduction to the world of FPGA design. I liked learning about the different features of some of of the more popular FPGA families. I really enjoyed the task of building a soft processor using the Altera Qsys software. I found that the homework was reasonable in scope and relevant to the topics presented in the lectures. I would like to learn more and I would like to suggest a series of classes like this one that also include HDL languages and verification concepts.

By Matthew M

Jul 23, 2020

This class has deep problems. The first is that the transcription is not where it needs to be, and the resolution of the videos does not compensate for the problem. Filenames are often very important and need to be exact. Yet the transcription often makes mistakes with the filenames and variables. This is where the lack of Youtube resolution comes into play. I can't read individual file and variable names, The result is a lot of guesswork. This could be overcome with high resolution scans of the RTL level diagrams provided the scans were of high enough resolution to read the file and vairable names. Further the class runs on an old version of Quartus Prime, 16.1 while the current version of Quartus is 20.1 (as of this writing). Quartus constantly asks for updates, but those updates often rbeak functionality and make the lessons undoable. This class should be revised to the current version of Quartus Prime. Elements of the class that are survey-like, such as reviews of various FPGA technologies, products, and manuifacturers are good. The information is solid and addresses technical issues I had for my projects. Likewise the introduction to digital logic was well done. It started at a graduate level, which was what I expected and desired. High marks for that.