June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
For the past 23 years, [the institution’s] College of Engineering has provided an honor’s first-year engineering program that rapidly develops the skills of incoming engineers. This is done through a course sequence involving traditional material, hands-on laboratory experiences, and a design/build project. The program culminates in this design/build project, which involves the building of autonomous robots to perform specific tasks on a provided course with certain restrictions. The basis of the project is to provide an outlet for students. At its core, the project’s base goal is to provide an opportunity for students to physically apply curriculum and further develop skills from the course sequence. Beyond this, the goals are to provide a project that is not only immensely compelling and interesting to students, but to also have that project incorporate modern real world elements and rapidly develop new skills in students that extend beyond the curriculum.
To engage students at multiple levels and provide a variety of resources, the robot project is comprised of many elements. Teams of four students manage, budget, document, design, build, and program their own autonomous robot. They use technical communication, technical graphics, and programming skills learned from the rest of the first-year sequence. In addition, students have access to a robot controller, a machine workshop, a program-run store with stock materials and parts, and laser cutting and 3D printing capabilities. Teams spend time in and out of class testing on the physical course and interact with it through the themed tasks and the electronics hardware and software which provide automatic scoring and feedback. Throughout, students are guided by instructional teams, including undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants, through in-class explorations, weekly performance tests, and general help. The development and improvement of all these elements over the years are detailed along with their impact on student learning and engineering experience.
Frank, D. J., & Kolotka, K. L., & Phillips, A. H., & Schulz, M., & Rigney, C., & Drown, A. B., & Stricko, R. G., & Harper, K. A., & Freuler, R. J. (2017, June), Developing and Improving a Multi-Element First-Year Engineering Cornerstone Autonomous Robotics Design Project Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28143
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