June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Electrical and Computer
26.1093.1 - 26.1093.13
Leveraging the ASEE Annual Conference Robot Competition to Increase ECE Recruiting and RetentionAbstract:In 2012 a corrective action plan was implemented at our university to reverse drasticdeclines in ECE undergraduate enrollment. The ECE enrollment numbers in fall 2008were 246, but by fall 2014 they soared to 440. The research that went into ourplan revealed that a freshman engineering course is a critical place to start. In response,multiple ECE led freshman engineering orientation sections were created that were opento all engineering majors. These courses were found to produce good results in retentionand also in non-ECE students matriculating into ECE. In the fall 2014 semester new ECEled freshman orientation sections were created that would utilize many innovativepractices. These new sections would use the robotics competition at the 2015 ASEEAnnual Conference to set the curriculum and provide motivation for the students to learn.Each section was challenged at the beginning of the semester with creating a robot thatcould compete in the ASEE Robot Competition and during the course of the semesterbackground knowledge needed to complete the project was provided in hands-on focusedlab exercises. Since most of these students had little experience in robotics the activitieswere interesting to them and the thought of creating a functional robot that could competeat a high level served as excellent motivation.Besides the past experience in ECE recruiting and retention gains from robotics-basedfreshman courses, another reason this approach was considered resulted from a failedexperience at the 2014 ASEE Robot Competition. A student group at our university thatfocuses on competing in numerous robotics competitions per year decided to add thisfreshman/sophomore based competition to their schedule in the 2013/14 academic year.They thought it would be a good way to get younger ECE students involved in thestudent organization and serve as a pipeline to the more advanced robotics competitionteams. After much difficulty finding willing participants, the ASEE robot team wasformed. The students on the team enjoyed the process, but were unable to finish veryhigh in the competition. One disadvantage they felt that contributed to their poor finishwas that many other teams had some form of course that went along with the competitionso the unskilled students could obtain background knowledge and have structured time towork on the project instead of learning and creating everything on an extracurricularbasis. With this in mind this robot-based student organization looked to use this course asa first step at the 2015 ASEE robot team as well as an opportunity to recruit and mentormany future organization members. This paper will describe the background that led tothis course, the curriculum that resulted, learning goals, and the mentoring structure withthe ECE student organization. Surveys will be used to assess how the students in thiscourse felt the goals of this course were met. Data will be used to analyze threeimportant metrics that are viewed as necessary for this course to be successful: retention,matriculation, and student group membership.
Davis, C. E., & Pendergraft, R. (2015, June), Leveraging the ASEE Annual Conference Robot Competition to Increase ECE Recruiting and Retention Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24430
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