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Hands-on Project-based Learning on a Shoestring Budget: You Don’t Have to Buy a Robotics Kit

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Arduinos, Microcontrollers, Inexpensive Robotics, and Other Tech Bytes

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.687.1 - 25.687.15



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Paper Authors


Kimberly Grau Talley P.E. Texas State University, San Marcos Orcid 16x16

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Kimberly G. Talley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Texas State University, San Marcos, and a licensed Professional Engineer. She received her Ph.D. and M.S.E. from the University of Texas, Austin, in structural engineering. Her undergraduate degrees in history and construction engineering and management are from North Carolina State University. Talley teaches courses in the construction science and management program, and her research focus is in active learning and project-based learning in engineering and technology education. Contact:

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Hands-on Project Based Learning on a Shoestring Budget: You Don’t Have to Buy a Robotics Kit  In the “Introduction to Engineering” course at _______ Community College core learningobjectives were met through a series of hands-on team projects. The author adapted theseprojects from various sources to make this first taste of engineering an engaging experience forthe students. This paper focuses on the first major group project wherein the student groupswent through the engineering design process up to and including the creation of a functioningprototype of their designs.The author supplied materials and class time for the completion of the project, although thestudents were allowed to incorporate materials they brought in and/or to work on their projectsoutside of class. In addition to describing the project challenge, materials provided, and theresulting student creations, this paper will discuss the results of a survey that the studentscompleted regarding this project. The survey was completed for extra credit on a midterm examand crafted to assist the author in refining the project for the next time the class was taught. Thesurvey assessed the materials used during the course of the project in addition to the students’attitudes towards the project. Although the materials cost about $100 for the initialimplementation of this project, many of the supplies were plentiful enough for use in futureprojects. Therefore, the cost per student over several semesters would be less than theapproximately five dollars per student expended here. The purpose of this paper is to share thisexperience with others who are seeking to create project based learning opportunities withoutusing specialized laboratory space and with limited financial investment.  

Talley, K. G. (2012, June), Hands-on Project-based Learning on a Shoestring Budget: You Don’t Have to Buy a Robotics Kit Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21444

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