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An Autonomous Approach To Safe Machine Tool Operation And Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.203.1 - 12.203.12

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Paper Authors

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Niall Seery University of Limerick Orcid 16x16

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William Gaughran University of Limerick

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Thomas Waldmann University of Limerick

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

An autonomous approach to safe machine tool operation and education Abstract

On considering international competitiveness and economic sustainability, the dynamics and complexities of the workplace are more challenging now than ever before. Consequently, a methodical approach to how students learn and construct meaning is becoming increasingly important in light of the demands put on graduate engineers.

Although engaging engineering students in a constructivist educational paradigm is desirable and ensures a ‘deeper’ learning experience, it is not always feasible. Two factors that traditionally mitigate against constructivist education within workshop practice are time constraints and health and safety.

This paper discusses a non-behavioural approach to educating engineering students on the key content and psychomotor skill development necessary to competently operate a milling machine. The strategic design focuses on a computer-facilitated machine-tool training partner that assists novice users in operating the milling machine. The approach was devised to facilitate the cognitive characteristics of engineering students at the University of Limerick, while ensuring a participative pedagogical paradigm.

Key Words: Learning Styles, Computer Assisted Learning, Engineering Pedagogy.

Background In comparison to behavioural training, constructivist pedagogy often necessitates significant resource demands. These demands together with the complex logistics and time restriction associated with third level education encourage the adoption of a ‘product’ model to machine tool training. With the inevitable shift from the information (left-brain dominant) age to a more conceptual age where additional aptitudes are necessary, pedagogy must evolve to ensure continued growth1. The pedagogical design discussed in this paper incorporates a novel application of data acquisition software to support students’ knowledge constructs that adheres to the principles of ‘constructive alignment’2. Introducing students to a remotely operated milling machine encourages them to actively and safely experiment with a series of predefined machining tasks. This gives third level students the autonomy to become the masters of their own learning experiences in a non-traditional structure. This is a significant in educational paradigm as students currently undertaking undergraduate courses are a product of an examination driven educational culture that appears to produce an apathetic student, motivated solely be extrinsic reward. The value of the learning activity and the quest for new knowledge, seem for many students to have regressed to a ‘means-end’ effect. The delivery and acceptance of information appears to be strongly rooted to the behaviourist paradigm, with student ‘mimicking’ cognitive involvement.

Seery, N., & Gaughran, W., & Waldmann, T. (2007, June), An Autonomous Approach To Safe Machine Tool Operation And Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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