Introduction to Spectrum Science and Management
We developed this course because there are many uses for the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum including radio astronomy, wireless communication, weather forecasting, radio telemetry, and many others. In addition, there are new technologies that use the RF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum currently under development. Therefore, we thought students should learn about spectrum science and management. We want them to be exposed to new fields of study which may lead to a job using the EM spectrum. We also want them to understand that the RF portion of the EM spectrum is a limited resource. As new technologies are released they add pressure to the existing uses of the RF spectrum. As the pressure increases the uses of the RF portion of the spectrum start to interfere with each other. This interference makes tasks slower or in some cases impossible. So it is important for students to understand that spectrum usage must be managed carefully to ensure everyone is able to use this resource.
Listed below are the descriptions for the six modules that make up this course. If you use all six modules this course contains enough contact hours (lecture and student work) that you can use it as a 3 credit course. The modules are listed in the order we suggest you use them in, however, you are welcome to change the order to suit your teaching style. Alternatively, if you prefer to use one of the modules each contains 2.5 weeks or 22.5 hours of lecture and student work. If you are interested in viewing the course materials continue down the page to the Using the Course section.
This two-and-a-half-week module will introduce students to the physical principles and concepts that those involved in the analysis, design, or management of the electromagnetic spectrum might need to know, including waves, propagation of waves, properties of signals in the time and frequency domain, and noise. Despite the title, this module does not address scientific uses of the spectrum, such as astronomy and geophysical remote sensing, beyond a few tangential references where there is something relevant to mention. During this course, students will watch recorded lectures and read sections from freely available textbooks. When appropriate, students are provided with practice problems, which will help them develop a deep understanding of the content. Finally, students will complete a short project which requires them to investigate spectrum users. Lastly, some questions that could be used in a final exam are also available for your convenience.
This two- and a-half-week module will introduce students to the engineering principles and concepts that those involved in the analysis, design, or management of the radio frequency spectrum may need to know, including transmitters, receivers, antennas, and radio link analysis. Students will watch recorded lectures and read sections from freely available textbooks during this course. When appropriate, students are provided with practice problems, which will help them develop a deep understanding of the content. Finally, students will complete a short project involving the analysis of an air-ground millimeter wave radio link. Lastly, some questions that could be used in a final exam are also available for your convenience.
Spectrum Management Methods
During this two-and-a-half-week module, students will be introduced to the methods used to manage the radio frequency portions of the spectrum. The course begins with a general description of the electromagnetic spectrum and the national and international agencies responsible for regulating the use of the spectrum. Next, students will learn about standard spectrum management methods, including geographic, frequency, time, and code isolation. During the last portion of the course, the focus shifted to cellular radio communications. Students will learn about the progression of technologies from the AMPS system to LTE and 4G ending with a brief explanation of 5G. This is primarily a lecture course with much of the content provided through recorded lectures. However, there are also reading assignments included throughout the course. These readings will strengthen student understanding of the content. There are also practice problems that let students engage with the content meaningfully. Lastly, a question bank and answer key are provided so that professors can include this content in their final exam.
Spectrum Economics and Market Tools
This two and a half week module examines spectrum economics and market tools such as auctions, secondary markets, unlicensed bands, and experimental licenses. Course material will cover the foundations of spectrum valuation, allocation methods, and economic concepts. This undergraduate course should assist in improving student analytical skills, particularly regarding current advances in wireless technology. The course is primarily a lecture course, with a student presentation component. Students will give five-minute presentations on a current event related to radio spectrum economics. Students will also write a short research paper on one of the spectrum auctions listed in the handout. Lastly, some questions are provided that you could use on a final exam.
Legal and Regulatory Foundations of Spectrum Management
This two- and a-half-week module will introduce students to the legal and regulatory aspects of spectrum management. The course begins with a simple explanation of the electromagnetic spectrum and the terminology associated with spectrum regulation. Then the earliest spectrum-related policies are examined both for their significance at the time they were issued and for how they shaped current policies. The course then examines some new ideas than led to new policies. After reviewing some of these policies, the course will take an in-depth look at the FCC rule-making process. Finally, the course ends by looking at the future of spectrum management. Each module begins with a recorded lecture, followed by short reading assignments. In addition, each module contains a description of activities you can use during the in-person portions of the class. These activities allow students to collaborate with their peers as they develop a deeper understanding of the content. Finally, each module enables students to practice their communication skills by writing a short-written paper on an appropriate topic.
Radio Astronomy and the Spectrum
Using the Course
If you would like to view the course materials follow the steps below.
1. Navigate to https://lms.auionline.org/login/index.php and click on "Create a New Account" near the bottom of the page. (First make sure your browser accepts cookies)
2. Enter all required information (as denoted with a red circle containing an exclamation point).
3. When the form asks for an enrollment key enter 92374.
4. Click on the Create My New Account button. This action will send you an email.
5. Find the email with the subject line "Superknova account confirmation". Please note that this email may end up in your junk email folder.
6. Click on the link in the email. This will take you directly to the course web page. It is suggested you view the Introduction to the Course video which is found in the Welcome section.
7. Click on the title of a module.
8. On the new page that opens you should see a blue enroll me button. If you click on this button you can see the course materials.
9. If you choose to use any of the modules, please notify Valarie Bogan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org