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Board 112 : Assessment of Students' Programming Skills in a Dynamics Systems and Control Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Arjumand Ali Grand Valley State University

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Dr. Ali is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2013. Her areas of interest and expertise include Dynamics, Controls, Vibrations, Mathematical Optimization, Multilevel Algorithms and Game Theory. She has taught courses in statics, dynamics, vibrations, kinematics, dynamic systems and controls.

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Ryan W. Krauss Grand Valley State University

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Dr. Krauss received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 2006. His research interests include modeling and control design for flexible robots, feedback control, and microcontroller-based implementation of feedback control systems. In addition to the freshmen introduction to engineering design course, he has taught courses in mechatronics, controls, vibrations, dynamics and robotics as well as senior design.

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This work-in-progress paper presents an assessment of the programming skills of students who have completed a junior-level dynamic systems and control course. At Grand Valley State University, this course is taken by both Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering (PDM) majors and is taught by two different professors. The course content in the two versions is very similar but two different programing languages are used. ME students learn Matlab and Simulink whereas PDM students learn Python to simulate systems. There is a lab associated with the course. In lab, both ME and PDM students use Arduino microcontrollers for dynamic systems and control experiments. However, tasks such as simulation or data analysis are done in Matlab or Python respectively.

This paper seeks to assess the programming skills of students in both versions of the course as well as see if there are any differences in student learning between Matlab and Python. The students were given two programming assignments as part of a take-home exam at the end of the course. Students are asked to design a controller for stability, predict the response and simulate the closed-loop step response of a system.

Ali, A., & Krauss, R. W. (2018, June), Board 112 : Assessment of Students' Programming Skills in a Dynamics Systems and Control Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29880

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