Asee peer logo

Integrating Theory and Hands-On Practice using Underwater Robotics in a Multidisciplinary Introductory Engineering Course

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

The Best of First-Year Programs Division

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

25

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28561

Download Count

148

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Nancy K. Lape Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Nancy K. Lape is an Associate Professor of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College.

visit author page

author page

Lori Bassman Harvey Mudd College

biography

Christopher Clark Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Dr. Christopher Clark is a Professor at Harvey Mudd College where his research includes multi robot systems and underwater robotics.

visit author page

author page

Albert Dato Harvey Mudd College

author page

Angela M. Lee Harvey Mudd College

biography

Matthew Spencer Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Matthew Spencer is a professor at Harvey Mudd College. He received B.S. and M.Eng. degrees from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 2007 and 2008, respectively and a Ph.D. degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. He has been the recipient of an Outstanding Technology Directions paper award from the International Solid State Circuits Conference and an Intel Fellowship.

His research interests are integrating mechanical, chemical and quantum devices into circuits and communication links in harsh environments. He has also worked on experiential and hands-on learning.

visit author page

biography

Erik Spjut Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Prof. Spjut is the Union Oil Company Design Fellow and Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He has served a Director of the Engineering Clinic at Harvey Mudd and has been a Visiting Professor at Olin College Of Engineering, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and the California Institute Of Technology. He was also the John Chipman Assistant Professor of Chemical Process Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. Prof. Spjut has taught most of the required engineering courses and has been involved in innovative pedagogy at Harvey Mudd.

visit author page

biography

Laura Palucki Blake Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Laura Palucki Blake is the Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Harvey Mudd College, where her primary role is to coordinate data collection, interpretation and dissemination to support teaching and learning, planning and decision-making across the college.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This Complete Evidence-based Practice paper will focus on the design, implementation, and evaluation of a multidisciplinary introductory engineering course that integrates theory and hands-on practice around a theme of underwater robotics. The course is required for all students (including non-engineering majors) at a small liberal arts college and is the first engineering course for the majority of enrollees. The previous version of the course was a traditional lecture-based introduction to lumped element modeling of mechanical and electrical systems and modeling of signals using a Fourier analysis approach. The new version of the course covers most of the same technical content, although a Laplace transform approach has replaced the Fourier transform approach and a brief introduction to control theory has been added.

Based on best practices in engineering education, the course design and implementation team has moved from the lecture model to a model that includes active learning (flipped classroom) tutorials and hands-on practicums. Students watch videos created by the instructors before the first tutorial session of the week, then come to tutorial to take both individual and team quizzes (similar to Team-Based Learning practices) and work with their teams on a short problem that provides real-world context for the content covered in the videos. The second tutorial session of the week is dedicated to context-rich problem solving with significant interaction between the instructors and students. Following the two tutorial sessions each week, students take part in a 2.5-hour practicum session where they experience the content in a hands-on environment, with most practicums focused on an aspect of the underwater robot. For example, the robot is placed in a water tank with a buoyancy “spring” attached and a chirp signal is input to the thruster to obtain a Bode plot response of the robot’s position versus thruster input frequency.

Evaluation measures include a pre/post attitudinal survey regarding the usefulness of class content, intent to major in engineering, and understanding of the engineering profession and pre/post content tests from both the previous, lecture-based incarnation of the course, and the new version of the course. Results show significant increases in student learning, affective gains, perceived understanding of the field of engineering, and an erasure of a previous gender gap in course performance.

Lape, N. K., & Bassman, L., & Clark, C., & Dato, A., & Lee, A. M., & Spencer, M., & Spjut, E., & Palucki Blake, L. (2017, June), Integrating Theory and Hands-On Practice using Underwater Robotics in a Multidisciplinary Introductory Engineering Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28561

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: © 2017 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