Linear Circuits

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Course Date: 18 August 2014 to 27 October 2014 (10 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

Learn the analysis of circuits including resistors, capacitors, and inductors. This course is directed towards people who are in science or engineering fields outside of the disciplines of electrical or computer engineering.

Estimated Workload: 5-7 hours/week

Course Instructors

Bonnie Ferri

Dr. Bonnie H. Ferri is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. She received the B.S degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1981, the M.S. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 1984, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1988. Dr. Ferri’s research concentrates on embedded computing, embedded control systems, and engineering education. She has won several research awards including the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award and the 2004 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Control Systems Magazine. She has co-authored a junior-level textbook and has written a number of papers on engineering education, especially with regard to hands-on education. She is the recipient of the IEEE Education Society Harriet B. Rigas Award in 2007, and she has received several Georgia Tech campus-wide awards for her teaching, mentoring, outreach, and leadership activities.

Nathan Parrish

I am a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  I have always been interested in education and am excited to be a part of the Coursera community.  I have taught a course in circuits and electronics at Georgia Tech for three semesters and am excited to be working with Dr. Ferri to provide this material to a broader audience.

When not doing research or teaching, I enjoy spending time with my wife and two children.

Course Description

This course is a first introduction to electrical systems. It includes the analysis of circuits including resistors, capacitors, and inductors with DC and AC sources in the time domain and in the frequency domain. Laboratory demonstrations are given to reinforce the concepts learned from the lectures and homework. The course is targeted at people with a scientific or technical background who are not electrical or computer engineers. The coverage is not as deep as a circuits course aimed at electrical engineers. There are a number of physical applications demonstrated in this course that serve to motivate this topic to a wider audience. The course is ideal for someone who wants to gain a basic understanding of electrical circuits, someone who wants to get better intuition for what they have already learned, precocious hobbyists, or for someone who is considering electrical engineering as a career.


Is this a stand-alone course?
Yes, however, we intend to produce a follow-up course for Electronics that is also aimed at scientific and technical people who are from fields outside of electrical or computer engineering. Look for that one to be offered in early 2014.


This course is broken into five Modules, each having associated homework and a quiz:

Module 1: Background (1 week):
Background information on electricity, resistors, and circuit diagrams

Module 2: Resistive Circuits (2 weeks):
Ohm's Law, Kirchhoff's Law, Resistors in series and in parallel, Systematic Solution Methods, Physical applications, and Lab demos

Module 3: Reactive Circuits (2 weeks)
Capacitors, Inductors, First and Second Order Differential Equations, RC and RL and RLC circuit steady-state and transient response to a DC source, Physical applications, Lab demos

Module 4: Frequency Analysis (2 weeks):
AC response, Impedance, Transfer functions, Frequency response, Filtering, Applications, Lab demos

Module 5 (1 week):
Real and reactive power, power factor, transformers

Each module has a quiz associated with it, where the modules that take longer are assigned more credit in grading.  Each week has a homework associated with it that is due at the end of the week.


This class will consist of lecture videos, most of which are between 10 and 12 minutes in length. There will be required homework assignments and quizzes and optional laboratory assignments.

Suggested Reading

The lectures are designed to be self-contained. A optional reference book is Fawwaz Ulaby and Michel Maharbiz, "Circuits," (2nd edition), National Technology & Science Press, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-1-934891-10-0. Students who wish to perform the optional laboratory experiments can purchase the book bundled with the National Instruments myDAQ board. Various purchasing options are available from the vendor at

Course Workload

5-7 hours/week

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