ECE497 Instructor's Guide
There are many choices that have to be made when designing a college course. The open source world gives you even more choices. The following takes you down the path I have chosen for my 32-bit embedded Linux course (ECE497 - 32-bit Embedded Linux, Rose-Hulman). As we travel I'll point out what decisions needed to be made, what the options were and why I made my choice. Once you see where I've taken you, it should be easier for you to pick a path for your class.
There are many hardware platforms out there that support embedded Linux, how do you pick one? In my case, Texas Instruments (TI) approached me and asked if I was interested in developing materials using the BeagleBoard. I looked it over and said yes. It's not a bad choice since nearly 30,000 have bee sold and it has a very active community.
The Beagle has a dual-core OMAP processor on it. One core is an ARM processor, the other a TI DSP. So one can work in both the embedded world and the DSP world with it.
Bare Metal, or Linux
Since the Beagle has both an ARM and a DSP, you could choose to focus on either. If you main interest is DSP and you want to approach the Beagle as traditional DSP hardware I suggest you contact Mike Marrow. He has pioneering the 'bare metal' approach to using an OMAP processor.
I decided to focus on Linux running on the ARM and treat the DSP as a peripheral. I think in the future this is how most DSP hardware will be used.