Adult learning evening classes

(Daniel Hollands) #1

Does anyone have any experience with adult learning evening classes in the local area?

I’ve been inspired by a friend of mine to look at doing an electronics evening class, something which might help me understand it more than I do via self-study, but I’m having trouble finding anything suitable.

The closest I’ve found to what (I think) I want is BEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering, but that’s a full on three-year degree course… I’m looking for something more evening-class oriented.

Does anyone know where I should start looking for such a thing? Thanks.

(Andy Wootton) #2

I don’t know Brum but for an easy intro I’d try technical colleges or community schools (if there are any left.) ‘A’ Level Electronics?

(Daniel Hollands) #3

This looks close to what I want to do, but I can’t find the course on the BMET site, and I think it’s full time.

(Andy Wootton) #4

I think that might be your biggest problem. Government cuts tended to kill off evening classes because market forces made them favour any duplicated day-release courses sponsored by big employers.

(Daniel Hollands) #5

I’ve made some progress in this endeavour but haven’t yet actually signed up for anything.

So far as local evening courses are concerned, there’s a list maintained by the Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES). The site’s course finder feature is shockingly bad, but it’s better than nothing and covers a wide range of subjects (everything from mathematics and English to cooking, crafts, fitness, and everything in between).

Annoyingly, they don’t offer an electronics course, but there is one on woodwork - which I’m sure would be a valuable skill for any maker - which I’m going to keep my eye on for the new year.

For online courses, I was doing some research last night and found the following:

…along with a few others. I need to sit down and read up on them all, to choose which one I want to apply for.

(Daniel Hollands) #6

This course is described as an “Introduction to Electronics”, and looking at the syllabus it contains words that I understand such as Diodes, MOSFETs, etc… So I figured I’d give it a punt (it doesn’t cost anything to audit the course, but you can pay for the opportunity to earn a certificate).

So I was happy for a time, getting stuck in the week 0 stuff, until I found this:

Prerequisite Knowledge

It is assumed that those taking these course will have a working knowledge of linear circuits such as:

  • resistive circuit methods (node analysis, mesh analysis, Ohm’s Law, Kirchhoff’s Voltage and Current Laws)
  • RC, RL, RLC circuits and their behavior
  • AC circuit analysis (impedances, frequency response, Bode plots)

Uuummmm, huh?

I figured I’d carry on anyway, watching the first two lectures - which acted as refreshers for what you should already know - and I didn’t understand a word she said.

It’s clear this isn’t the course for me, so I’m going to unenrol and investigate the other options.

(Andy Wootton) #7

I thought I’d heard of Kirchhoff’s Laws but couldn’t remember what they were. It’s because they’re obvious’s_circuit_laws

Ohm’s Law isn’t obvious but it’s simple

I find it easier to remember as V = IR.

(Daniel Hollands) #8

This is more like it.

I spent a couple of hours last night going through the module 0 stuff, getting myself acquainted with the content, and I feel a lot more comfortable with this one.

The ultimate goal of the course is to build a robot which reacts to different sensors in different ways. There are some examples from previous students at the bottom of this post.

Each of the seven modules covers a different component (resistors, transistors, capacitors, etc…), and are designed to give you the knowledge needed to build the different parts of the robot.

I’m feeling a lot more confident about this course, so I’m going to spend a bit of time next week going over the first module.

Anyway, here are some robots:

Building a robot - my progress so far