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Effective Practices In Robotics Education

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.504.1 - 9.504.15



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Paper Authors

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Steve Richards

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Daniel Pack

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David Ahlgren

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Igor Verner

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

Effective Practices in Robotics Education David J. Ahlgren, Igor M. Verner, Daniel Pack, Steve Richards

Department of Engineering, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106 USA/ Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion, Haifa, Israel, 32000/Department of Electrical Engineering, United States Air Force Academy/Acroname, Inc., Boulder, CO


Linked to the authors’ 2004 ASEE Annual Conference CoEd workshop on Educational Robotics, this paper evaluates educational strategies and activities from the perspective of four engineering educators who have extensive first-hand experience in integrating robotics in the curriculum— from first year courses through senior design projects—and in assessing the educational impact of robotics projects and competitions. We show that one particular assignment, the development of autonomous mobile robots, ties together interdisciplinary design, experiential learning, teamwork assessment and other topical educational subjects in powerful and unique ways. We identify best practices taken from our experiences, focusing on (a) undergraduate experiences in fire-fighting robotics and in the AUVSI Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition; (b) integrating robotics into the first year engineering design courses, advanced research project teams, and senior design projects; (c) robot design as a medium to promote teamwork; (d) methods of evaluation and assessment of robotics curricula and projects; and (e) recent trends in robot hardware and software for education.


A robot is a mechatronic system that can be programmed to perform a range of mechanical and electrical functions and that responds to sensory input under automatic control. Robots can perform tasks normally ascribed to humans or animals, to imitate them and interact with them, or to act autonomously in various physical environments. Robotics is an interdisciplinary area that draws from such fields as engineering, physiology, and behavioral science. Robotic systems can be related to many physical processes and human practices in their interactions with the environment. The potential for using robots as educational tools for teaching and learning various subjects in technology, science, and humanities is unlimited.

Robotics is an especially effective medium for engineering education for many reasons, including the following:

• Engineering students acquire a holistic “mechatronic” view of electrical, mechanical and computer engineering, which enhances personal inclinations in these professional areas. • Students acquire knowledge and experience that is important for their success in more advanced engineering courses and professional jobs after graduation. • Students become involved in self-directed learning, interdisciplinary design, teamwork, professional communication, technical invention, and research.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Richards, S., & Pack, D., & Ahlgren, D., & Verner, I. (2004, June), Effective Practices In Robotics Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12960

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015