## Getting Started with Communications Engineering - The Approach

I want my book to be a bit different. In my years as a
teacher,
I've noticed that some students struggle to understand the textbooks.
Sometimes the standard of maths assumed in the textbooks is
too high for
them, and in an effort to put all the interesting material in a book of
limited length, the subjects are treated very quickly, with some of the
intermediate steps in the mathematical derivations left out.
While the
strongest students can cope with this, the more typical students struggle. The other problem with most other
textbooks is that they
can be a bit dry and dull. This makes the books good references, but
as
tutorial books to learn from, it is not ideal. On the other hand,
write a simpler textbook, and the stronger students can get bored.

I'd like to write a book that caters for the whole spectrum of
students, from the most able to those that have to struggle to
understand these topics; and a book that is accessible to intelligent
ambitious sixth-form students as well. A book that's fun to read,
and easy to follow.

I'll set myself some rules:

- As far as possible, all chapters are
self-contained (this means I'll repeat myself a bit).
- No chapter is more than twelve fifteen pages
long, so they can all be read at one sitting (although there will be a few exceptions).
- It's written in a light, informal style,
so it's easy to read.
- Use simple, plain language, so non-native English speakers can read it.
- I'm going to explain every step
of the maths, and do the maths in the simplest possible way, so
students without a very strong maths background can
still follow the ideas (a lot of the queries I get from students
reading other textbooks comes from their difficulties in filling
in the missing steps in the derivations).
- The chapters will all be introductions
to the topics
- I won't attempt a comprehensive treatment of anything. This
is
an undergraduate teaching book, not a graduate-level textbook or a
reference book.
- More advanced topics, and further discussions of interesting
points will be included in a section of problems, rather than in the
main text. Stronger students wanting more of a challenge can read
the chapters themselves, then work through a series of problems leading
them to a more complete understanding. Other students can just
read the chapters and attempt the simpler problems.
- The solutions to the example problems
will be
available to everyone. Not just the numeric answers, but the
full
working out and derivations. This means there will be rather
less
problems than in some other books, but everyone will be able
to do them. These worked solutions are almost certainly going
to
be longer than the book, but that's OK, since they'll only be
available on the web. (Personally, I found books that taught
by introducing real problems first, and then the new techniques
required to solve them very engaging.)

Working title is "Getting Started with
Communications Engineering". (A bit dry perhaps, but I thought I might get into trouble with "Janet and John go
Communications
Engineering" or "Communications Engineering for the Average Student".)

Some first versions of chapters I'll put up on this site as I finish them.
All comments (especially mistakes and typos) please let me
know.

Requests to write chapters earlier rather than later - please send to
me at dajp1@ohm.york.ac.uk. Otherwise I'll choose a random
order
based on whatever I happen to be teaching or preparing at the time, or what
students ask
me about in class.