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Assessing An Interdisciplinary Robotics Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.225.1 - 10.225.16



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Paper Authors

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William White

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George Engel

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Cen Karacal

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Ai-ping Hu

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Jerry Weinberg

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

Session 1526

Assessing an Interdisciplinary Robotics Course

William W. White, Jerry B. Weinberg, George L. Engel, S. Cem Karacal, Ai-Ping Hu

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

1. Introduction

The curriculum in any specific area of study tends to narrowly focus students on that area, whereas real-world complex systems tend to integrate components from multiple disciplines. The development of such systems has shifted from designing individual components in isolation to working in cross-functional teams that encompass the variety of expertise needed to design an entire system.2,8,15 This means that students must learn the team building and communication skills to work with others outside of their own discipline. The Accreditation Board for Engineer- ing Technology (ABET) recognizes the importance of these abilities in its Criteria for Accredit- ing Engineering Programs: “Engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams”.1,5 The study of robotics provides an excellent instrument for teaching and learning about working in multidisciplinary teams.

The overall goal of this project is the development of a comprehensive undergraduate course in robotics that emphasizes multidisciplinary teamwork by encompassing many of the diverse fields of engineering which are integral to robotic systems: Computer Science (CS), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Mechanical Engineering (ME), and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME). This is a two-year project supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education under the Course, Curriculum, and Lab Ini- tiative – Adaptation & Implementation Program. The course adapts curriculum material from CMU’s General Robotics Course2,14, from Swarthmore University’s and Bryn Mawr College’s Robot Building Laboratory Project (NSF CCLI Grant #9651472)10, from Drexel University’s Research and Education Tools for Low-Cost Robots (NSF CISE Grant #9986105)6,7, from Buck- nell University’s Catalyst Team on Teamwork (NSF Grant #9972758)8, and from Southern Illi- nois University Edwardsville’s Laboratory Experience for Teaching Participatory Design (NSF CCLI Grant #9981088).17

This paper presents the outcome of the first offering of the course. The course is cross-listed for credit to students in each of these areas. It incorporates team-based robotics projects in which the teams are cross-functional and composed of one student from each area. For the first year, the course was taught by a team of faculty members from all of the represented areas. Emphasis was placed on cross-functional teamwork aspects, including the development of materials in each area as applied to robotics that was accessible to all of the students regardless of their majors and the development of robotics lab assignments that emphasized the multidisciplinary teamwork “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education

White, W., & Engel, G., & Karacal, C., & Hu, A., & Weinberg, J. (2005, June), Assessing An Interdisciplinary Robotics Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14539

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