Workshop Meeting Times

Lectures and Open Lab: 9 sessions in total, 3 hours/session


This short course takes place at MIT during the 2017 IAP (Independent Activities Period).


This is a 9-day hands-on workshop about collaboration, design, and electronics prototyping. No previous experience with computer programming or electronics is required. Beginning students will be taught everything they need to know and advanced students will be challenged to learn new skills. Participants will work in small teams to design and build electronics projects using open-source microprocessors. Team projects are completely open-ended and designed by participants, past projects have included: An internet-connected weather simulation station, a giant LED billboard, and a CNC drawing machine. Participants will complete three guided projects in order to learn the fundamentals and will then break into small teams to complete a one-day short project of their choosing. After the short project, participants will break into new teams that will each get $250 and four days to design, plan, and build a custom project of their choice. On the last day of the course, students will present their projects in public exhibition and have the chance to win a prize for crowd favorite. Participants will learn about microcontroller programming using Arduino, collaborative software development using GitHub, solderless electronics prototyping, electronic sensors, rapid prototyping, and small team management.


There are no grades for this course.


The class size is 30 students from varying backgrounds, and the class takes place in a classroom with movable desks or tables so students can form teams.


1 Survey of GitHub, Arduino, and the basics of software collaboration:

  • An overview of GitHub collaboration
  • Creating and contributing to repositories
  • An overview of Arduino microcontrollers
  • Recreating a guided project (roll-a-ball)
2 The basics of design and ideation:

  • Using the motors
  • Expand, explore, and personalize the roll-a-ball example
  • Overview of collaborative design process
  • Short project: Form team for short project
  • Start short project
3 Project design and execution for short projects:

  • Crash course in prototyping and documenting ideas
  • Short project
4 Ideation, pitches, team formation, and project selection for short projects:

  • Reflections from yesterday
  • Overview of plan, team structure and expected outcomes
  • Project ideation
  • Team formation
  • Get started or refine idea
5 Presentation of short projects
6 Project time for long projects: Meet and create with guidance
7 Project time for long projects: Meet and create with guidance
8 Project time for long projects: Meet and create with guidance
9 Presentation of long projects

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2017
Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights