Syllabus: ECE445L Embedded Systems Design Lab -- Spring 2023

Last updated: Feb 27, 2023  

Course Catalog Description: Design of microcontroller-based embedded systems; interfacing from both a hardware and software perspective; and applications, including audio, data acquisition, and communication systems.

Course Specific Objectives of ECE445LThe primary objective of ECE445L is for the students to develop the ability to design microcomputer-based embedded systems. This class allows students to learn microcomputer interfacing from both a hardware and software perspective.

Professor's Specific Objective for the Course: My objectives for this course is for the software centric students to become proficient with hardware and the hardware centric students become proficient with software such that when you are in industry you make more money than those students who elect to be isolated in their comfort zone be it SW or HW. 

Outcomes: After the successful conclusion of ECE445L, students should be able to design embedded systems including hardware/software interfaces for devices like LCD displays, motors, keyboards, analog sensors, and microphone/speakers.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all of the lectures in person. The book covers way more information than the class can cover and we will use lectures to map our way through the book. If you do not attend the lectures in person you may find it difficult to catch up. DO NOT assume that you can watch previous recordings and do well in this class. We have over two years of experience with distance learning in this class. Those students that did not attend the lectures (or office hours) and only watched the ZOOM recordings did poorly on the 3 exams. Please attend the lectures and come to my office hours if you have questions.

Prerequisites:  Electrical and Computer Engineering 312 (or Electrical Engineering 312) or 312H (or Electrical Engineering 312H) and 319K (or Electrical Engineering 319K) or 319H (or Electrical Engineering 319H) with a grade of at least C- in each; Electrical and Computer Engineering 411 (or Electrical Engineering 411) and 313 (or Electrical Engineering 313) or Biomedical Engineering 311 and 343, with a grade of at least C- in each; and credit with a grade of at least C- or registration for Aerospace Engineering 333T, Biomedical Engineering 333T, Chemical Engineering 333T, Civil Engineering 333T, Electrical and Computer Engineering 333T (or Electrical Engineering 333T), Mechanical Engineering 333T, or Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 333T.


Assignment % Date Notes
Participation 5%


 Be an active learner, class attendance

Partnership 5%


 Be a great lab partner, judged by TA

Quiz 1 15%

Thursday, Feb 16th

 Closed book, one page crib notes  (In class, no Zoom)

Quiz 2 15%

Thursday, Apr 6th

Open book, open class notes  (In class, no Zoom)

Final 15% Friday, April 28,
3:30 pm-5:30 pm

Open book, open class notes  (In class, no Zoom)

Laboratory 45% See below

Laboratory assignments with a large weight applied to the project

When studying for quizzes, focus on the topics that apply to the ARM Cortex M and the lab assignments. You will find old quizzes and finals with solutions on the class web site. I have no expected grade cutoffs or expected GPA for this class. You can view the previous GPAs for most of your classes at UT. All professors want a 5 on their teaching evaluation, and all students want an A. Just like Dr. McDermott, I feel both the instructor and the student should only be awarded for excellence.


Instructor: Jonathan W. Valvano, EER 5.820

Phone: 512-471-5141

Email :      

Web page: 

Classroom: CPE 2.204  Tue/Thu  12:30 - 13:45 

Lab Room: EER 1.806

Suggested Text: Embedded Systems: Real-Time Interfacing to ARM Cortex M Microcontrollers, Fifth edition 2016, ISBN: 978-1463590154 (fourth edition is ok)

Teaching philosophy I am here to teach you about embedded systems. I am also here to tell you about what it is like to be an engineer. I have over 40 years of experience designing and building embedded systems. I strongly encourage students to attend all the lectures and take an active role in this class. Questions are always welcome before, during and after class.  Please feel free to email, visit or call me if you have questions. I am very accessible!!

Old Exams: Can be found here >>>> 

Old Old Lecture Videos:    Note: DO NOT assume you can watch these videos and do well on the exams. Dr. Valvano and I have added new material to the course over last 7 years which will be on the exams.

Valvano's Office Hours:  

These are my initial office hours. I will make dynamic changes on Canvas, so check Canvas first before coming to my office.

For other times email me for an appointment.

Day Times

7-8pm zoom


After class


7-8pm zoom


After class


7-8pm zoom


NOTE: There is a direct correlation between attending office hours when you have questions and getting higher grades on the exams.

             I double my office hours prior to all three exams and am available by appointment the rest of the time.


TA's Office Hours:

TA Day(s)


Location Email
  See Canvas

EER 1.806

See Canvas
  See Canvas

EER 1.806

See Canvas
  See Canvas

EER 1.806

See Canvas

TA Lab Assignments

Unique Day Time TA



11a - 12:30p




12p - 1:30p




3:30p - 5p




5p - 630p




Specific ECE319K topics needed for ECE445L:

LED interface, switch interface, busy-wait synchronization, serial communication concepts (start bit, data bits, stop bit, baud rate, bandwidth), UART programming, analog to digital conversion (range, resolution, precision, accuracy), ADC programming, digital to analog conversion (range, resolution, precision, accuracy), interrupt concepts (arm, enable, acknowledge, vector), periodic interrupt programming


Specific ECE312 topics needed for ECE445L:

Modular programming; differences between pointers and numbers; when to use permanent allocation and when to use temporary allocation; definitions of char, uint8_t, int8_t, uint16_t, int16_t, uint32_t, int32_t; understanding and use of static, const and volatile;  understanding call by value versus call by reference; stack frames, structures, linked lists, fifo queues, verification. The most important component students must be able to accomplish is the translation of a problem statement into software code. The second most important skill we expect students to have is the ability to debug software. 


Specific ECE302/ECE411/ECE313 topics needed for ECE445L:

RLC circuits, NPN and PNP transistors, input impedance, output impedance, linear amplifiers using op amps, oscilloscopes, sampling, frequency response, Bode Plots, Fourier Transform, spectrum measurements.


Microcomputer Architecture (ECE319K review)

An introduction to the microcomputer, architecture, The Cortex M4 Instruction Set, Cortex M4 Addressing Modes, I/O and Memory Organization and the memory map of the TM4C123.


Programming Microprocessors (ECE312 review)

Data Structures in C (arrays, tables, linked lists, stacks, and fifo queues), Writing Quality Programs in C, Passing Parameters (Conceptual and Implementation Levels), Modular Programming, Verification and Testing, Documentation


Microcomputer Bus Interfaces

Digital Hardware, Modules and Signals, Drivers, Registers, Timing equations, Timing diagrams,


Parallel and Serial Input-Output

TM4C Parallel I/O Devices,  Device Driver Software, Buffered Input and Output,  Table and Linked List Interpreters, TM4C Synchronous and Asynchronous Serial Input-Output, Synchronization in I/O devices, Blind-Cycle Synchronization, Busy-Wait Synchronization, Interrupt Synchronization, Polled Interrupts, Vectored Interrupts, Interrupt Priority


Parallel Port Interfaces

Keyboards, Key Debouncing, Keyboard Scanning Techniques, LED Scanning Techniques and LCD Interfacing


Data Acquisition Systems

Bridge circuits, op amps, low pass filters, instrumentation amplifiers, DAC, ADC, audio amplifiers, digital filters


Motor interfacing

Stepper motors, DC motors, pulse-width modulation, proportional-integral (PI) control


Equipment to buy:

1) Board

Every student will be required to have a Texas Instruments TM4C123 LaunchPad by the beginning of the second week of the semester. Since we will be using the TM4C123 kit in ECE319K and ECE445L for a few years, you will have the option of selling it at the end of the semester. Buying options for the board can be found by searching However, one option is to purchase it directly from . We have been using the TM4C123 board in EE319K since Fall 2013, so you might be able to find one used. If you do purchase a used microcontroller board, ask a TA or me to run the board tester to make sure all the pins work. If it still works at the end of the semester, you will be able to sell this board to students in the next semester.


2) LCD

Each students will need to a LCD graphics display. We will be using Sitronix ST7735R 18-bit color 1.8" TFT LCD display for $20 plus shipping,   If you want a lower cost version you could order it from China (search ST7735R on Amazon or  EBay). ECE445L has a design competition where students build embedded system. Using the same LCD for labs and for the project will save you time. Just like the microcontroller board, you will have the option of selling the Sitronix LCD to students next semester.


3) Breadboard.

You will need a solder less breadboard. We strongly recommend you do not buy used or borrow a breadboard, because as the breadboards get old they fail in mysterious and extremely annoying ways (shorts and opens).  The Twin Industries TW-E40-1020 is a breadboard that is easy to find. You can find it for sale on the internet by searching   Any breadboard, any size will be OK. Another approach is to search "solderless breadboard" on,  or


4) Wire strippers and voltmeter.

You will need own your own pair of wire-strippers and a digital multimeter. You will be stripping a lot of 22 or 24 gauge wire as you build the interface circuits. Your meter must be able to measure voltage and resistance, so a meter costing around $20 will suffice.  Since you will be making hundreds of solder joints this semester, we suggest you use the high-quality irons available on the first floor. 

Reference materials on the web:

General lab reference material:                    

LAB Safety warnings:

Due to the minute amounts of lead in most solder, please wash your hands after soldering, before eating or drinking.

If you drop the soldering iron, let it fall to the ground. Do not try and catch it.

If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, have someone else do the soldering!!


Lab Partners:

  • Two labs are performed individually, four labs are performed with a partner. The remaining five labs will be performed with a group of four (see below).

  • You and your lab partner must be registered for the same lab section (4 person teams can be formed from different sections).

  • The lab partnership must be registered with your TA (a simple hand written note signed by both students will suffice) during the week of Lab 1.

  • Once registered, the partnership will continue. A partnership can be dissolved only after discussion with the TA.

    •    NOTE: The only way members of the same team will receive the same score for a lab assignment is if ALL of the team members participate equally.

    •    Grading: TAs will also evaluate your actions as a lab partner

  • Both partners must be present during the demonstration. It is expected that both partners will contribute to all aspects of each lab, and both partners are expected to be present during the check out.

  • The point values are the same for all labs. Lab partners will be selected in your lab the week of Lab 1.

    • If you want to switch sections, there will be a GoogleDoc link on canvas, on which you can request a section swap.

    • Basically, you will need another student (not your lab partner) with whom you will switch sections. 


Lab Exercises:  


Lab # Description Team Size
1 ASCII to fixed-point output to LCD Individual
2 Debugging, oscilloscope fundamentals, logic analyzer, dump profile 2
3 Alarm clock, LCD, edge-triggered input interrupts, and SysTick periodic interrupts 2
4  IEE802.11Wi-Fi communication, TCP, client-server, IoT 2
5 12-bit DAC, SPI, Music player, audio amp 2
6  Introduction to PCB Layout, Eagle (paper design only)    Individual
7 Prototype hardware and software drivers for an Embedded System 4
8 Design and Layout of an Embedded System 4
9 Audio Processing System: amplification, filtering, signal processing 4
10 IoT DC motor control, timer interrupts, PWM output, integral control 4
11 Final Design and Evaluation of Embedded System 4


ECE445L Lab Sessions (see your TA for the latest information).

  • This is a lab based class so LAB attendance is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY.

  • Each week there are two 90 minute lab sessions, which are scheduled Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. You will show the preparation to your TA at the beginning of the second session. During the first session demonstrations will be made. The TA will sign your software listing when you demonstrate your system. The report (hardware/software/data plots) is due Friday uploaded to Canvas according to the directions posted on Canvas. Any ECE445L TA is authorized to check out your lab.  Please consult with your TA for specific due dates for your lab section.

  • During the second session of the first week of the semester, please go to your scheduled ECE445L lab sessions in  EER 1.806  to get a demonstration of the lab equipment.  Each student must have their own TM4C123 LaunchPad and a graphics LCD.  The lab preparations (hardware diagrams and syntax-free software source code printouts) must be uploaded to Canvas prior to the beginning of your lab period. PLEASE SEE YOUR TA ON EXACT REQUIREMENTS FOR TURNING IN LAB ASSIGNMENTS. In other words, please type your software into the PC before lab.

  • All software for lab, and tests must include comments. All hardware must include R&C values specifying tolerance and type (e.g., 5% carbon), and chip numbers (be very specific e.g., INA122P). Pin numbers are required only for lab, not for the exams.

  • The uploading of preparations will close once Lab has begun. For the first 15 minutes of lab, the TA will lead a lab discussion session. The remaining lab time is available for debugging and lab checkout. At the end of the semester please verify with the checkout counter that your record is clear. All reports must be given to the TA by Friday 4/21 2pm.

  • The OpenScope MZ: Open-source All-in-one Instrumentation is a low-cost but wonderful tool for this class. It is not required, but very handy, especially if you need to work at home this semester.  You can find other useful tools such as the Digilent Analog Discovery which is useful for working with analog and digital systems.

Lecture & Lab schedule: (NOTE: This is the master Lecture & Lab schedule)


Week Date Day TOPIC



Chapters 1st Lab Session 2nd Lab Session Friday LAB Comments


Jan 10


Introduction to ECE445L

Intro to Embedded Systems

Lab1 Overview



Lab1 Video

1 & 2


Meet the TA


No lab assignments due this week
Buy your TM4C123 board,

Meet the TA

Jan 12




2 & 3


Jan 17


ARM Cortex M architecture, the TM4C123, data flow graphs

Introduction to interfacing, hardware software synchronization

Lab2 Overview



Lab2 Video

2 & 3




Lab 1 Prep



Need to buy TM4C and LCD by Jan 16.


Keil uVision demonstration,

Eagle (SCH) demonstration 

Jan 19


Debugging techniques, and programming style, dumps, monitors


Critical sections, reentrant code








Jan 24


Edge-triggered interrupts
BJT/MOS transistor interface

Lab 3 Overview




1 & 6.5


1 Demo

2 Prep

1 Report

Oscilloscope demo

Jan 26


Specifications and software style
Internet, Wireless communication, client server, WiFi





Jan 31


Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Objects

CC3100 Weather Monitor Example

ESP8266 Weather Monitor Example

 Lab 4D Overview







2 Demo

3 Prep

2 Report

Logic analyzer demo


Feb 2


DAC fundamentals, Nyquist Theorem

SPI and DAC interface, timing analysis

DAC performance measures








Feb 7


Sound and Music Generation

TPA731 audio amplifiers

Lab 5 Overview



Lab 5 Video




3 Demo

4 Prep

3 Report

Spectrum analyzer demo

Feb 9


Quiz 1 Review




Feb 14


System level design, clock, power, packaging

Introduction to PCBs

Lab 6 Overview







Eagle (PCB) demo

Feb 16


Quiz #1



4 Demo

5 Prep

4 Report


Feb 21


PCB Schematic and Layout Design



5 Demo

6 Prep

5 Report

Video: Building a box in the Maker Space


Project Teams formed 

Feb 23


Getting Started in Lab 7

Low power design, Regulators, Power Supplies

Lab 7 Overview



Lab 7 Video





Feb 28


Enclosures, connectors
Resistors, capacitors

System Power




6 Demo 7 Pre-Prep 6 Report  

Mar 2


File system using FAT16

Input capture, period measurement



Vol. 3




Mar 7


Transducers: Sensors & Actuators

Op amps





7 Prep


SCH Rough draft


Mar 9


Analog filters: HPF, LPF, 2-pole Butterworth LPF

ADC Conversion Techniques

Nyquist Theorem, Aliasing, DFT







    Lab 7 demo   Lab 7 report and Valvano review


Mar 13-17


Spring Break  


Mar 21


Threshold detection
Input capture, tachometer interface

Lab 9 Sound input








 8 Prep

Final BRD

Upload SCH/BRD files to Canvas for TA review by

9am Friday 3/24

Mar 23


DC  Motors, PWM,  Interface Electronics

BLDC, Servos, Stepper Motors

Stepper Motors








Mar 28


Control Systems

Control System Demo

Lab 10 Overview





8 Demo

9 Prep

8 Report


Mar 30


Quiz #2 review

Lab 11 Overview


Lab 11 Video



Apr 4


Resistance bridge, instrumentation amplifier

Temperature Acquisition Example

Introduction to Data Acquisition System






9 Demo

10 Prep

9 Report


Apr 6


Quiz #2





Apr 11


Communication Theory

Keyboard Interfacing, Scanned LED Display




 11 10 Demo 11 Prep 10 Report  

Apr 13


Real-time operating systems

Engineering Ethics







Apr 18


Final exam review


11 Demo



11 Report

Turn in checked out equipment by Friday 4/21


Apr 20





PCB production schedule

- Valvano review by Friday March 10th @  3pm  The earlier the better
- ATTENTION:  PCB files are due Friday March 24 @ 10am on Canvas (if you miss this deadline you will have to pay for your own board)
- TA downloads files from Canvas
- PCB ordered on Friday March 24 by 12 noon
- Boards received around April 7th
- For Lab 11 prep April 12-13: All parts soldered and microcontroller ready to be programmed.


We will be using Eagle for the PCB design. To install a educational version of Eagle follow these instructions:

Step 1) Watch YouTube video Installing Eagle as described in the Preparation steps for ECE319K PCB camp at  ECE319K PCB camp 
Step 2) Go to and create a student account using your email.
Step 3) Download educational version of Eagle
Step 4)  Download, unzip, and link the ECE445L Eagle library version


Software applications

To complete ECE445L labs it will take time outside of the 3 scheduled lab hours. With the crowding we expect in EER 1.806, it will be important for you to configure a development system on your laptop (Keil version 5.xx, PuTTy, and Eagle). This way you will be mobile and flexible about where and when you work on the labs.

Hardware Components

Request samples (DIP or PDIP package) Each team will need obtain HW components for your final project. Download this Lab7BOM.xlsx to see what is generally available. Parts labeled as "Cabinet" should be in the parts bin in my office. If not you will need to request samples from the suppliers listed below. You will need to register with each vendor using an official University email address (e.g., rather than a junk email address (e.g., or For general information on getting free samples, see

Search engine for parts:
Game engine:
Hobby parts:
Full line Suppliers:

Put your embedded system in a box (not free, but a good source for choices)                     OKW Enclosures Ltd        Teko Enclosures Solutions     PacTec Enclosures

ABET Relationship of the Course to Student Outcomes: Bold applies to ECE445L
     a. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
     b. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
     c. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.

     d. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
     e. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
     f. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
     g. An ability to communicate effectively.

     h. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
     i. Recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
     j. Knowledge of contemporary issues.
     k. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

For more information on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, see


Legal Stuff: The 12th class day is January 25. The drop policy is extremely complicated. See your academic advisor or the Dean of Students for more information. Course evaluation is conducted on the last class day in accordance with the Measurement and Evaluation Center form. The final exam is at the time and place stated in the course schedule. The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic adjustments for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students with Disabilities at 471-6259, 471-4241 TDD.

Sharing of Course Materials is Prohibited: No materials used in this class, including, but not limited to, lecture hand-outs, videos, assessments (quizzes, exams, papers, projects, homework assignments), in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets, may be shared online or with anyone outside of the class unless you have my explicit, written permission. Unauthorized sharing of materials promotes cheating. It is a violation of the University?s Student Honor Code and an act of academic dishonesty. I am well aware of the sites used for sharing materials, and any materials found online that are associated with you, or any suspected unauthorized sharing of materials, will be reported to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students. These reports can result in sanctions, including failure in the course.

Religious Holy Days By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, I will give you an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence. 

Scholastic dishonesty: "Faculty in the ECE Department are committed to detecting and responding to all instances of scholastic dishonesty and will pursue cases of scholastic dishonesty in accordance with university policy. Scholastic dishonesty, in all its forms, is a blight on our entire academic community. All parties in our community -- faculty, staff, and students -- are responsible for creating an environment that educates outstanding engineers, and this goal entails excellence in technical skills, self-giving citizenry, an ethical integrity. Industry wants engineers who are competent and fully trustworthy, and both qualities must be developed day by day throughout an entire lifetime. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, or any act designed to give an unfair academic advantage to the student. The fact that you are in this class as an engineering student is testament to your abilities. Penalties for scholastic dishonesty are severe and can include, but are not limited to, a written reprimand, a zero on the assignment/exam, re-taking the exam in question, an F in the course, or expulsion from the University. Don't jeopardize your career by an act of scholastic dishonesty. Details about academic integrity and what constitutes scholastic dishonesty can be found at the website for the UT Dean of Students Office and the General Information Catalog, Section 11-802." 

You are encouraged to study together and to discuss information and concepts with other students. You can give "consulting" help to or receive "consulting" help from such students in oral form. However, this permissible cooperation should never involve one student having possession of a copy of all or part of work done by someone else, in the form of an email, an email attachment file, a portable storage device, or a hard copy. Copying of any part of a program is cheating without explicit reference to its source. We do enter lab assignments turned in by ECE445L students through a plagiarism checker, comparing them to assignments of this and previous semesters. If we find two programs that are copied, there will be a substantial penalty to both students, e.g., failure in the course. Students who cheat on tests or in lab will fail. Prosecution of cases is very traumatic to both the student and instructor. It is appropriate to use software out of the book, class website as long as all copy-pasted software is explicitly referenced. Copy-pasting software from current or past students is scholastic dishonesty.


Policies concerning the use of other people's software in this class:
 · I strongly encourage you to study existing software.
    · All applications and libraries must be legally obtained. E.g.,
        You may use libraries that came when you bought a compiler.
        You may use software obtained from the web.
        You may copy and paste from the existing source code.
    · You may use any existing source code that is clearly referenced and categorized:
        original: completely written by you,
        derived: fundamental approach is copied but it is your implementation,
        modified: source code significantly edited to serve your purpose,
        copied: source code includes minor modifications.


The University Honor Code is "The core values of the University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the University is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community."

Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Plan Instructions
Please review
Every member of the university community must take appropriate and deliberate action when an emergency strikes a building, a portion of the campus, or entire campus community. Emergency preparedness means we are all ready to act for our own safety and the safety of others during a crisis. It takes an effort by all of us to create and sustain an effective emergency preparedness system. Your support is important to achieving the best possible outcomes during a crisis event.

As a University faculty member, you are responsible for pointing out your classrooms building emergency evacuation routes and for reviewing emergency procedures with students at the beginning of each semester. This review should include a mention of the monthly emergency communications test (every first Wednesday at 11:50 a.m.) and the list of communications channels the university uses during emergencies. It should also include a review of the attached document outlining emergency terms (e.g., the difference between “shelter-inplace” and “lockdown”) and instructions for faculty and students to follow during emergencies. As a matter of convenience, we recommend including this information in your syllabus along with the phone number for the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL: 512-232-5050). This is the number to call if you have concerns regarding the attitude or actions of students, staff, or other faculty. Finally, at the end of your emergency preparedness review, request that students requiring assistance in evacuation inform you in writing of their needs during the first week of class. This information must then be provided to the Fire Prevention Services office by fax (512-232-2759), with "Attn. Mr. Roosevelt Easley" written in the subject line. Thank you in advance for taking the time to ensure the safety of your classroom. I assure you this small effort can yield much greater rewards should the unthinkable happen. If you would like more information regarding emergency preparedness, visit

Emergency Communications
Emergencies may range from inclement weather, to building evacuations, to campus closures, and the university has a variety of tools to communicate with the public in the event of these and other possible emergencies. Depending on the type of emergency, we may use some or all of the following tools to communicate with faculty, staff and students:

Siren System
This system is tested around noon on the first Wednesday of every month, and delivers a siren warning and public address in the event of certain outdoor emergencies. Read more about the siren system.

Emergency Web Site
You may want to bookmark the emergency Web site because it is updated with information during actual emergencies or campus closures.

Local Press and Social Media
University Communications staff send emergency information to the press and update social media with public safety messages. Because of the transient nature of our population, the university depends a great deal on the press and social media to keep students, faculty, and staff informed during campus emergencies.

Pager System
Our campus first responders, resident advisors, and some building managers are part of the AWACS paging system. The pagers send text messages about emergencies on campus and alert city responders (APD, AFD, EMS, Office of Emergency Management, etc.) to campus crisis situations.

Fire Panel Systems
Residence halls are equipped with fire panel systems that have a public address capability. Resident advisors are trained to use these systems in emergencies in order to make announcements to the entire building regarding evacuation, shelter in place, etc.

Text Alerts
The university collects cell phone numbers from members of the campus community for emergency text messages. Sign up for campus text alerts online.

University Group E-mail
During emergencies, UT Safety Alert sends an “urgent” group e-mail to every student, faculty and staff member. The e-mail directs individuals to the emergency Web site for additional information and instruction.

Voicemail to Office Telephones
This tool leaves a voice message on every faculty and staff member’s office phone on campus.

Cable TV
Residence halls and several of our public gathering places have cable televisions where emergency announcements get posted.

Public Safety Patrol Car Announcements
UTPD patrol cars are equipped with PA systems, which officers can use to provide instructions to pedestrians during emergencies.

University Emergency Information Line:  512-232-9999
Students, faculty, and staff can call this main number for information about campus closures. The implementation of each tool described above is assigned to an individual who has at least two backups who can also carry out the communications task. Individuals with electronic communication tools assigned to them have remote access (from their homes, etc.) to those tools. The police department and the associate vice president for Campus Safety and Security are typically the ones who deliver emergency information to university administration. Upon considering this information, administration develops the messages and activates campus-wide communications. The only exceptions to this are the sirens and pager system, which are activated directly by UTPD in extremely urgent situations where immediate action is required.

Last updated: December 29, 2022