June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.61.1 - 8.61.10
A Liberal Arts Approach to Teaching Robotics
Ann Wright, Gabriel Ferrer, Andrew Wright
Hendrix College/University of Arkansas at Little Rock
A new natural science course is under development at Hendrix College. The course is titled "Robotics Exploration Studio" and will be aimed at the non-science major liberal arts student. There will be no pre-requisites for this course. The course will utilize Lego bricks and Technic parts for mechanical components and the Lego Mindstorm1 programmable RCX brick as a platform for programming.
Hendrix College is a private, residential, co-educational, undergraduate institution of the liberal arts affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in Conway, Arkansas, approximately thirty miles northwest of Little Rock. Hendrix currently has a student body of 1057 students from 35 states and 12 foreign countries. The faculty has 85 full-time members and 17 part-time members. The student to faculty ratio is 13 to 1, with an average class size of 15 students.
Hendrix College switched from a trimester system to a semester system starting in Fall 2002. Due to the switch, a complete renovation of the core curriculum requirements for graduation was implemented. The new robotics course would help satisfy the natural science inquiry learning domain. The 2002-2003 Hendrix Catalog2 describes the natural science learning domain in the following way:
“Science and Technology are playing an ever-increasing role in our society. In order to navigate this sea of information, students must know and understand how science does and does not work, the application of scientific and mathematical principles, and the distinction between science and dogma. This requires the coupling of basic scientific principles with systematic, critical analysis. Emphasis is on the methods used to model, gather, interpret, and evaluate data critically, and the placement of this information into a larger context. In the face of our rapidly evolving understanding of the natural world, application of the scientific method is an enduring skill for assessing the validity of observations related to the natural world. This mode of inquiry inextricably links course content and the analysis process.”
The new natural science requirement is composed of two courses from different departments that are designated as natural science courses, one of which must have a laboratory component. The faculty believed that students needed the experience of
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Ferrer, G., & Wright, A., & Wright, A. (2003, June), A Liberal Arts Approach To Teaching Robotics Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11522
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