June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.44.1 - 14.44.13
A Lego Robot Project Using Concept Maps and Peer-Led Teams for a Freshman Course in Engineering and Engineering Technology
In this paper, the use of concept maps is presented as they are applied to a class project in a freshmen course with engineering technology and pre-engineering students. Concept maps have been implemented in a newly designed Lego Robot Project. The Lego Robot Project consisted of four pre-designed projects each with different difficulty level to be suitable for students with different experiences. The teams were led by peers who had previously completed the project and were not taking the class, and by those who had prior experience with Lego Robots and were registered for the course.
Technical skills, such as designing, programming, and knowledge/use of sensors, as well as professional skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and leadership, were included in the concept maps. Deliverables were clearly stated. Student assessment of the Lego Robot Project learning outcomes revealed that the project greatly contributed to teamwork and student engagement (4 and 3.8, respectively, on a scale of 1 to 5). Goal setting and problem solving were ranked the lowest (3.1 and 3.2, respectively), but above neutral (3). Students who participated in the project components also performed well in the course.
The Lego Robot Project was successfully completed with the use of concept maps and peer-led teams. This paper presents the details of the project, implementation and use of concept maps, and dynamics of the peer-led teams.
Introductory freshman courses in engineering and engineering technology curricula play an important role in recruitment and retention efforts of the department and program. Besides the technical skills to be acquired, one of the purposes of these courses is viewed to be enticing the student in the field of study, motivating them to learn more, and in turn stay with the program. In a continuously demographically changing classroom, instructors face the challenge of adjusting the content of the course and the projects such that both the lecture and laboratory assignments are suitable, interesting, and useful for all types of students; these students include traditional recent high-school graduate students, transfer students with some prior college course credit, professional students, and other mature students.
In the classical style of teaching this course, it has been observed that in the presence of experienced students in the classroom, the traditional students may get intimidated by the outside knowledge such experienced students may have acquired. Additionally, the
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