Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The ability to conduct and design experiments is rated as one of the most desirable technical skills of engineering and engineering technology graduates. Specifically, a recent survey indicates that employers want graduates with an ability to integrate hardware and software and to formulate a range of alternative problem solutions. Additionally, potential employers of our EET graduates are primarily in the control and automation, and automated manufacturing and testing sectors of industry providing additional motivation for a control systems course embedding design projects focusing on hardware and software integration.
The senior-level control systems course consists of two hours of lecture and a three-hour laboratory per week. The first ten weeks of the fourteen-week semester are devoted to structured lecture and laboratory sessions, and major topics include system modeling, steady state and dynamic response, system stability, controller design using root locus and frequency response techniques, and control system modeling and simulation using MATLAB/SIMULINK. The final four weeks are dedicated to student-initiated end-of-semester design projects. These projects provide an opportunity for students to integrate their theoretical, hardware, and software knowledge by developing complete control systems. Development of soft skills such as teamwork, proposal and report writing, oral presentation, and project management basics are an integral part of the project experience. Data collected via direct and indirect assessment instruments for evaluating the established project outcomes will be included in the paper.
Technical details for the following two control system design projects, implemented during the spring-2017 semester, will be included in the paper: a ball balancing on a plate, and an automated guitar tuner. Both projects focused on feedback-control system design and implementation encompassing sensors and actuators, interface electronics, control logic implementation in software (LabVIEW or Arduino microcontroller), user interface design, and laboratory testing. For these student-initiated projects, students were responsible for developing the project idea; preparing the project proposal; specifying all of the necessary electronic and electro-mechanical components; hardware implementation, including designing and printing 3-D parts; necessary shop work; preparation of a final report; and an oral presentation including the demonstration of successful operation of the project.
The full paper will discuss the background and scope of each of these projects, including the hardware and software integration essential to implementing modern control systems. Pedagogical advantages to incorporating student-initiated projects during the last few weeks of a semester will be presented. Performance indicator-based outcome assessment instruments and associated data for the course-embedded project experience will be addressed as well.
Ray, B., & Chambers, R., & Henry, N., & Karcher, P. M. (2018, June), End-of-Semester Control System Design Projects by Senior-level EET Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30374
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