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Design Elements of a Mobile Robotics Course Based on Student Feedback

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Course Development / Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.460.1 - 26.460.26



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Paper Authors


Alisa Gilmore P.E. University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Alisa N. Gilmore, M.S.E.C.E., P.E. is an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She has developed and teaches courses in robotics, telecommunications, circuits and controls.

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Design Elements of a Mobile Robotics Course Based on Student FeedbackThe use of robots in undergraduate classrooms has seen a boom in recent years due to theuniversal appeal of robots, and the applicability of robot systems to preparing students forcareer paths in computer science, robotics and intelligent systems, and as well as forteaching fundamental engineering and programming concepts in a fresh way. At ourUniversity, a novel robot platform was developed in 2008 as part of a funded outreachproject, applicable to both K-12 outreach and university level instruction. The robotplatform, named the CEENBoT, became a central learning platform for instructing K-12math and science teachers in a large educational robotics project and was simultaneouslyadopted into the Freshman and Sophomore curriculum in the department of Computerand Electronics Engineering (CEEN), one of the key partners in the outreach project.In the CEEN department, use of the CEENBoT was proliferated through a progression ofundergraduate courses as an active learning component in teaching students fundamentalcomputer and electrical engineering topics with a goal of providing additional hands-onengagement. Most often, this included at least one lab or project using the CEENBoTplatform in each course. As part of this adoption, an existing course, Introduction toRobotics, was modified to include topics in mobile robotics and include exercises withthe CEENBoT. It was offered one time. To test the effectiveness of this course, at theend of this course offering, a focus group study was conducted to gather student feedbackover a wide range of discussion topics about the course. This feedback was analyzed andused to provide guidance for a future and final iteration of the course. The focus groupresults indicated important directions for the next iteration of the course. The results ofthis initial study were published and presented in a paper at the ASEE NationalConference and Exposition in summer 2010.In 2010, the final iteration of a newly titled Mobile Robotics I course and lab was createdto directly address these issues. It was dedicated to mobile robotics concepts with newlydesigned labs and an extensive suite of custom firmware developed to make theCEENBoT useful for teaching advanced robotics topic. This paper describes theinnovations that were created for this course and the subsequent student feedback that hasbeen obtained through several years of teaching the course, including 2010, 2011, and2013. Student feedback was obtained through an anonymous internet-based surveyinstrument at the end of each semester, and reviewed by the instructor after course gradeswere turned in. The feedback over the three years has validated the course design, andshown the effectiveness of using student focus group feedback for providing excellentdirection in course refinement and creation. Finally, this paper illustrates hurdlesovercome in designing a robotics course that is both effective for student learning andbased upon a novel mobile robot platform.

Gilmore, A. (2015, June), Design Elements of a Mobile Robotics Course Based on Student Feedback Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23798

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