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Experience With Autonomous Robots And Wireless Handheld Internet Devices In A Computer Basics Course

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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

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.592.1 - 9.592.8



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Urban

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Debra Banks

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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

Session 1793 Session 1793

Experience With Autonomous Robots and Wireless Handheld Internet Devices in a Computer Basics Course

Joseph E. Urban, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland, Debra L. Banks Arizona State University


Beginning undergraduate engineering students need computing skills. A course was developed to support the retention of those undergraduates who were lacking in basic computing skills. This paper discusses the results of using novel technologies in an assimilation course. The technologies consisted of autonomous robots that were relatively easy to build and Pocket PCs with an integrated wireless capability in order to access the Internet. The paper includes the background information on the course, technologies, and the applicability. In addition, student experiences with the tools are also covered in the paper.

I. Introduction

The effective use of computer applications is essential for incoming freshman engineering students. However, there are some entering freshman engineering students who lack the computing skills necessary to be productive in the beginning courses. The lack of skills can be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as an impoverished pre-college environment or inattentiveness to the details when the opportunity was made available. Considering the efforts that are spent on recruitment of students, the need exists to provide a support structure to retain these students. In order to succeed in an undergraduate engineering degree program, there is a need for relatively rapid assimilation of computing skills, otherwise the struggle begins as the student attempts to catch up to the expectations.

This paper addresses the issue of student success in terms of a computer basics course designed for those entering freshman with deficient computer skills. The paper begins by briefly discussing the experience with a placement exam, computer skills needed by engineering students, and a computer basics course. There is further discussion on the use of autonomous robots in the computer basics course in order to apply software development skills during the same semester. In addition, the wireless handheld Internet devices are addressed from the standpoint of acquiring computer skills and the applicability to time management and study skills. The paper concludes with a survey and retention data to support the concepts and future research directions. The research reported in this paper was part of a larger project supported by a grant through the State of Arizona Proposition 301 program. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright c 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Urban, J., & Banks, D., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (2004, June), Experience With Autonomous Robots And Wireless Handheld Internet Devices In A Computer Basics Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13601

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