Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology)
November 7, 2020
November 7, 2020
November 7, 2020
The COVID-19 Pandemic has created widespread disruption in higher education. This has been especially felt in the engineering field, which has traditionally relied on applied laboratories to deliver course material effectively and efficiently. In particular, courses in the Mechatronic domain that integrate mechanical components, electrical systems, and programing rely heavily on applied labs to instruct students on this interdisciplinary topic through hands-on activities. At our mid-sized STEM-focused institution, these applied labs have been facilitated in the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program by using a combination of LogixPro Mechatronic simulation software and Amatrol Mechatronic learning stations. Up until the Fall 2019 semester, this approach worked very well and there was no real need to re-examine the instructional delivery pedagogy. All this changed very quickly when the COVID-19 Pandemic disruption during the Spring 2020 semester prevented access to the Amatrol equipment, forcing the course to rely heavily on the LogixPro software. Even though it was a very challenging transition, there was still a silver lining to it. The positive result of this situation was revisiting the role of a MET graduate in industry and the focus of a Mechatronic curriculum in preparing for a Mechanical Engineering Technologist role. This paper discusses how the COVID-19 disruption had a profound impact on how a lab-based mechatronic course should be taught using a synergetic blend of the old school and modern teaching pedagogies. This point is presented through the observation of a senior-level Mechatronic course operating under typical conditions (Fall 2019), in an emergency transition to online (Spring 2020), and fully online (Summer 2020). The observations suggest that an Event-Driven Sequencing (EDS) focus can be maintained in an online environment through creative use of the LogixPro software. This finding provides an important option for MET programs seeking not only to survive in this pandemic situation but also to attract more distance-learning students. It also outlines cost-effective methods to conduct applied laboratories in their Mechatronic courses.
Lieber, S. C., & Borgaonkar, A. D. (2020, November), Focusing on the Silver Lining: How COVID-19 Pandemic is Influencing the Pedagogy of Mechatronic Course Delivery to Support the Industrial Role of a Mechanical Engineering Technologist Paper presented at 2020 Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology). https://peer.asee.org/36047
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