Bachelor Studies in Smart Systems Supported by NI Technology

Prof. Dr. Andreas Wendemuth, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität FEIT IIKT KS

"The cooperation with NI as a technology partner allows a practical training in NI devices and thus facilitates the transition from studies to industry."

- Prof. Dr. Andreas Wendemuth, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität FEIT IIKT KS

The Challenge:

Germany needs qualified university graduates for research and development in the areas of IT and smart systems.

The Solution:

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences jointly developed a practical, project-oriented bachelor’s course called IT—Smart Systems to meet this need.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Wendemuth - Otto-von-Guericke-Universität FEIT IIKT KS
Dr.-Ing. Ingo Siegert - Otto-von-Guericke-Universität FEIT IIKT KS


The Need for a Course of Study in Smart Systems

In recent years, more and more smart systems have entered our daily lives. Smart phones serve as mobile assistants, smart TVs merge YouTube with normal TV, and Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home structure everyday tasks in a smarter way. Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences saw a need for a practical, project-oriented bachelor’s course that covers IT and smart systems. The universities jointly developed a course called IT—Smart Systems (ITSS). Each semester, students focus on an interactive project based on NI technology. This is the first course at these universities that combines a solid theoretical basic education with applications-oriented practical capabilities.


This course also involves traditional industries, which work with automotive engineering, appliances, and automation. The automobile is no longer just a way to get from point A to point B; the drive must also be as convenient as possible. This includes selecting the right music, controlling the A/C and custom navigation, and increasing safety. The smart home needs an intelligent heating and light control system, which requires no complicated programming and is self-learning. In automation, we can increase system utilization using smart supports.


From these examples, we see an urgent need for qualified graduates in the areas of IT and smart systems in nearly all technical areas, including telecommunications, automobiles, utilities, machine and system construction, as well as medical devices. Since the fields are wide-ranging and the trend is in the “smart” direction in nearly all technical areas, graduates can expect future-proof, interesting, and well-paid career opportunities.


Training Students in Smart Systems

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences jointly teaches the ITSS course of studies, and NI provides technological support. We combine the basics of electrical engineering and IT with practice-oriented teaching over the entire study period. This means that practical education begins on the first day. The students learn MINT basics, electrical engineering, and IT, as well as working on projects that can grow to an industrial scale. Furthermore, they can select elective subjects to focus on individual areas of emphasis. This is the special nature of the course of studies and makes graduates attractive to industry. The practice-related education prepares students for the following activities:    


• Development of new IT products
• Production planning and control
• Project management
• Sales and product management for IT solutions


Selecting NI as a Technology Partner

This type of practice-related education in cooperation with NI is one of the only bachelor’s degree programs like this in Europe at The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Using NI as a technology partner means students gain practical education on NI devices and makes the transfer to industry easier. Software and hardware components from NI are broadly distributed in the industry for applications in automated measurement and testing, so that a recent graduate that has experience on these devices benefits from a shorter initiation time.


The course contents include:
• Basics of selected sensors
• Basics of signal processing and control equipment
• Basics of feedback systems
• Measurement data processing





By using NI software and hardware, such as LabVIEW and myRIO, students learn solution strategies for engineering problems early. Furthermore, the students can apply their studies to new problems.


The university also experiences benefits from these courses. Through a thorough use of technology platforms, the university develops a uniform learning platform that avoids “island” solutions and combines R&D with their courses of study. The content that builds on one another in the teaching platform also creates stringency for the students. Students can work directly for NI or other companies that use NI products.


Student Reaction

Students are particularly interested in integrated project work during their studies and like the teacher ratio. Students also saw the benefits of a course of studies between Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.



This initiative resulted in a uniform, close-to-industry experimental platform that helps students learn about current engineering tools. In addition, regular references to practice illustrate and deepen theoretical teaching, and students gain experience for a future-proof and well-paid career.


Author Information:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Wendemuth
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität FEIT IIKT KS
Universitätsplatz 2.
Magdeburg 39106
Tel: +49 391 67 18448

Figure 1. Students Use NI myRIO Devices to Work on PC-Supported and Embedded Systems
Figure 2. The Joy of Problem Solving with NI Technology