Asee peer logo

A Liberal Arts Approach To Teaching Robotics

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.61.1 - 8.61.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Gabriel Ferrer

author page

Ann Wright

author page

Andrew Wright

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2003-1236

A Liberal Arts Approach to Teaching Robotics

Ann Wright, Gabriel Ferrer, Andrew Wright

Hendrix College/University of Arkansas at Little Rock

1. Introduction

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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015