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Introduction To Industrial Automation, A Multidisciplinary Course At Western Kentucky University

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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

ECE Education and Engineering Mathematics

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.813.1 - 9.813.8



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Paper Authors

author page

Mark Cambron

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H. Joel Lenoir

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

Session 1363


Abstract The design of contemporary industrial systems and consumer products is increasingly blurring the boundaries between electrical (EE) and mechanical (ME) engineering. Many commercial systems are an appropriate blend of technologies from both disciplines. Traditional approaches to strengthening the educational experiences of engineering students have utilized traditional service courses in each of the disciplines. Although mechanics and thermal/fluid courses for the EE’s and circuits/machinery courses for the ME’s are important and necessary, they are not sufficient to give the students the skills to deal with these new systems.

Western Kentucky University has implemented a course, EE 285: Introduction to Industrial Automation, in an attempt to build a bridge between the EE and ME programs. The goal is give the students a common language in this area so that multidisciplinary capstone and professional projects are more easily accomplished. The results of two years of offering the course, including student feedback and course assessment are included. Examples of projects tackled by the students, lessons learned by the faculty, and lists of necessary equipment are provided.

Introduction The Department of Engineering at Western Kentucky University (WKU) has been given the rare opportunity to develop an entirely new engineering program. Western’s challenge has been to create unique undergraduate curricula in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering focused on the needs of current and future industrial partners. The Mission of the WKU’s Department of Engineering revolves around our vision of Project Based Learning. The central focus of this vision is that the faculty will engage students in activities to support development of a clear understanding of engineering practice. The roles of students - as learners, as observers, as assistants, and as practitioners - should be supported by both the external project activities of the faculty as well as the implementation of the curriculum such that the practice of engineering is clearly demonstrated.1

The new engineering programs at WKU a tremendous potential for nationally-recognized excellence in undergraduate engineering education. The faculty is dedicated to the mission of project-based learning for undergraduate education.5 The engineering programs at WKU differ from the other programs within Kentucky and most engineering programs across the country in that there are no graduate programs. Instead of supporting graduate students and conducting traditional research, WKU faculty members are actively engaged in both the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching. Activities currently include involving students in industry to help solve local and regional problems, scholarship in the areas of recruitment and retention of students (including women and minorities), developing and applying state-of-the-art

Proceedings of the 2004American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Cambron, M., & Lenoir, H. J. (2004, June), Introduction To Industrial Automation, A Multidisciplinary Course At Western Kentucky University Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12945

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