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Lego 101: An Multidisciplinary Freshman Team Experience

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.681.1 - 6.681.6

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Deborah Hwang

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Anthony Richardson

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Dick Blandford

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

Session 3553

LEGO 101: A Multidisciplinary Freshman Team Experience Dick K. Blandford, Deborah J. Hwang, Anthony Richardson University of Evansville


Some have indicated that it is not possible to do an multidisciplinary team project with freshman in engineering and computer science that meets the specifications set out by ABET for multidisciplinary teams. This paper presents a course whose goal is to do just that. We define a multidisciplinary team as one in which each team member brings to the team unique skills and interests that are essential to solving a problem. ENGR/CS 101 has a section for electrical engineers, a section for computer engineers, and a section for computer science majors. During the first four weeks of the class each section is taught concepts which are fundamental to their major and which are essential to solving a problem involving an autonomous LEGO vehicle. For example, the electrical engineers are taught about sensors, amplifiers, and electronics. The computer science majors are taught the rudiments of programming in C, and the computer engineers are taught micro-controller fundamentals. During the last ten weeks of the semester- long class, teams are formed that have at least one person from each major. Each team member is assigned a unique responsibility on the team. The objective is to construct an autonomous LEGO vehicle to compete in a classic predator/prey problem. Some instruction in team dynamics is provided by lectures, and teams use faculty as consultants. This paper summarizes the course details, the objectives, outcomes, and assessment.

I. Introduction

The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at the University of Evansville offers three bachelor’s programs: electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CoE) and computer science (CS). Separate introductory courses in engineering and computer science have been in place for some time. These courses provide a contact relationship between new majors and departmental faculty and introduce major concepts. Operating systems and programming concepts have been introduced for the CS majors and some introduction to design concepts has been done with the engineering majors.

As part of an on-going effort to meet ABET Criteria 2000, the introductory course (ENGR/CS 101) has been undergoing revision to provide a multidisciplinary team experience for our freshmen students1. The freshman year offers a unique opportunity to introduce multidisciplinary team concepts in that the mechanics and logistics of mixing two or more disciplines on a wholesale class level are easier. Students are involved in basic science and math courses and are not taking multiple courses in their major area which are less flexible in tolerating objectives that cross the discipline. The obvious difficulty is that freshmen have not

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education.

Hwang, D., & Richardson, A., & Blandford, D. (2001, June), Lego 101: An Multidisciplinary Freshman Team Experience Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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