Syllabus for CTR-212



Programmable Logic Controllers studies the development of the PLC, its components and operation, common methods of programming the PLC, and its applications in industry. The course is designed for students in a technical curriculum or occupation who have not had previous knowledge of or experience with PLCs and who need to develop the requisite background and skills in PLC programming to further their education and careers.


On successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify the main components of PLCs, their functions, and classification.

  1. Compare the use of PLCs versus computers in automation industry.

  1. Explain the BCD, Gray Scale, and ASCII code systems.

  1. Solve Boolean logic expressions and construct circuits from them.

  1. Explain the operation of sensors and output devices commonly used in PLC installations.

  1. Convert fundamental relay ladder diagrams to PLC ladder logic programs.

  1. Interpret and apply logical addressing schemes to PLC rack configurations.

  1. Analyze and interpret typical logic programs.

  1. Analyze and interpret typical PLC timer and counter ladder logic programs.

  1. Design ladder programs based on logic gate functions.

  1. Analyze a functional work cell by writing a narrative description of how the system works and by using that description to develop a logic gate diagram, a relay logic diagram, a ladder program diagram, and an I/O list and addressing scheme for the system.

  1. Explain the functions of the major components of a process control system.

  1. Recognize and explain the functions of the control elements of a closed-loop control system.

  1. Analyze the architecture of the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix family of programmable automation controllers (PACs).


You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

  1. Programmable Logic Controllers, 4th ed., by Frank D. Petruzella (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-0-07-351088-0


Programmable Logic Controllers is a 3-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules.  Each module comprises learning objectives, study materials, one or more discussion forums (except for module 7), and a module-ending written assignment.  The module titles are as follows:

  1. Module 1: Introduction to PLCs and PLC Hardware Components

Textbook: chapters 1 and 2

  1. Module 2: Number Systems and Codes

Textbook: chapter 3

  1. Module 3: Fundamentals of Logic

Textbook: chapter 4

  1. Module 4: Basics of PLC Programming

Textbook: chapter 5

  1. Module 5: Developing Fundamental PLC Wiring Diagrams and Ladder Logic Programs

Textbook: chapter 6

  1. Module 6: Programming Timers and Counters

Textbook: chapters 7 and 8

  1. Module 7: Process Control, Network Systems, SCADA, and ControlLogix Controllers

Textbook: chapters 14 and 15


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in eight (8) graded online discussion forums, complete seven (7) written assignments, and take a proctored midterm examination. At the conclusion of the course, you will also complete a final, capstone project in which you apply your knowledge to a real-life PLC programming task. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in module 1, Programmable Logic Controllers requires you to participate in eight (8) graded online discussion forums—in some modules there are two topics and in others just one.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Deadlines for posting responses to the discussion questions are given in the course Calendar.

Specific directions for these activities, and the questions to be discussed, are given in their respective modules.

For help regarding preparing and submitting activities, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete seven (7) written assignments. The seven written assignments draw primarily on end-of-chapter review questions and problems from the textbook. Written assignments 1 and 2 also include an essay question (minimum 300 words).

A Note about Writing and Designing Programs and Drawing Symbols

Assignments in this course include questions and problems that ask you to write and design programs and to draw symbols, diagrams, circuits, and so on. In a traditional face-to-face classroom, you could readily do all this by hand and turn in your "hard copy" to the instructor. But in our electronic classroom, we must submit assignments electronically, and this poses technological challenges that require ingenuity and forbearance on everyone's part in using the tools available to us.

Our course does not require you to purchase, learn, and use any specific software for doing the written assignments and final project. Rather, in preparing your assignments, you have a range of options. For example:

  1. If you have access to a scanner, you can draw diagrams freehand and scan them into your word-processed document as images.
  2. You can use the drawing tools available with standard word-processing software.
  3. You can use special design software like Microsoft's Visio, which the writer of this course found helpful in creating the charts and diagrams displayed within this course space.

And so on. In short, you will need to find a suitable solution for the task at hand. That is your responsibility as an adult learner. Feel free to ask your classmates for suggestions and advice in the Class Lounge and to consult with your mentor.

For help regarding preparing and submitting activities, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Midterm Examination

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in modules 1, 2, and 3 and is two hours long. The exam is closed-book and consists of true-or-false and multiple-choice questions like those on the module self-check review quizzes; short-answer questions and problems like those on the written assignments; and a short essay.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find the answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your online test. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take the exam.
  5. Copying any part of the exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at the exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

In lieu of a final exam, you are required to complete a final, capstone project for this course. The final project ties together everything covered in the course and offers you the opportunity to apply what you have learned to a real-life PLC programming task. The project is due by the last day of class (see the course Calendar).

A full description of the project and instructions for completing it are in the Final Project area of the course Web site.


All students in CTR-212, Programmable Logic Controllers, are required to take the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS) as a component for course completion. Project SAILS is the result of a Kent State University initiative to develop an instrument for standardized assessment of information literacy skills. Thomas Edison State College has adopted it as an institutional measure of information literacy for all undergraduate students.

The SAILS test is administered online. It consists of 45 multiple-choice questions, targeting a variety of information literacy skills. Most students need 35–45 minutes to complete the assessment.

The confidentiality of your responses and scores will be protected, and data from the assessment will be reported in aggregate form. Your individual score will not be recorded, but you will receive 2 percentage points toward your overall grade for completing the assessment. For further details and directions, see the SAILS Test area of the course Web site. Please consult the course Calendar for the due date for taking the SAILS test.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Discussion forums (8)—12%
  2. Written assignments (7)—35%
  3. Midterm exam (proctored, Modules 1–3)—25%
  4. Final project—26%
  5. SAILS test (nongraded)—2%

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management system’s environment—how to navigate it and what the various course sections contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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