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RoboKnowledge: Adaptable, On-line Robotics Production Technician Instructional Components Addressing Mobile Robotic Devices

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Electromechanical Capstone and Design Projects in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1261.1 - 22.1261.12



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Paper Authors


William C. Beston Florence-Darlington Technical College

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William C. Beston has been actively teaching Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics for the past 43 years. He is currently teaching Phys102 - Explorations in Physics online for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is developing three online Robotics courses for Florence-Darlington Technical College. From January, 2001 to August, 2002, he served as Staff Associate for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Undergraduate Education in Arlington, Virginia. He currently works as a consultant for NSF and serves on the National Visitation Committee for the National GeoTech Center housed in Corpus Christi, TX. He is Professor Emeritus in the Engineering Science/Physics/Physical Science Department at Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY, having taught there from August 1968 to January, 2001. He was the 1997 recipient of the New York State Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the ASEE St. Lawrence Section's Outstanding Teaching Award. He was the faculty advisor of the first nationally recognized community college Student Chapter of ASEE. He currently resides in Binghamton, NY.

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Elaine L. Craft Florence-Darlington Technical College

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Elaine L. Craft has served as Director of the National Science Foundation-funded South Carolina Advanced Technological (SC ATE) Center of Excellence since 1994. Currently, she serves as a Co-Principal Investigator for the SC ATE National Resource Center for Expanding Excellence in Technician Education. Craft is also founder and President of SCATE Inc., a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation created in 2005 to promote systemic change in Advanced Technological Education and help sustain the SC ATE Center of Excellence. Her postsecondary education includes a baccalaureate degree in chemical engineering (University of Mississippi), and master’s degree in business administration (University of South Carolina).

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RoboKnowledge: Adaptable, On-line Robotics Production Technician Instructional Components Addressing Mobile Robotic Devices To address the rapidly emerging need for “next generation” robotics-savvy techniciansfor the manufacture of mobile robotic devices, Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC),SC, in partnership with the National Robotics Training Center (NRTC), SC, is completing initialdevelopment of and dissemination of an on-line sequence of learning modules that provides anew, e-learning, “plug-in” robotics specialty option for associate degree programs in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (EMET) (or similar) programs. The instructional modules,including an advanced certificate option for incumbent workers, can lead to certification as aRobotics Production Technician (RPT) and be aligned with the Manufacturing Skill StandardsCouncil’s (MSSC) "Certified Production Technician” credential which is recognized by thefederal National Skill Standards Board as the "Voluntary Partnership" for manufacturing.Goals: 1) necessary skills for RPTs will be updated and validated; 2) six instructional modulesleading to certification as a RPT will be developed for on-line delivery; 3) completers willdemonstrate “readiness” for industry- recognized certification; 4) student success rates will meetor exceed that of face-to-face courses in the discipline; 5) faculty development will result in fulladoption of RoboKnowledge on-line modules by pilot sites, and student participation willbroaden (become more diverse) where RoboKnowledge is implemented; and, 6) rigorousevaluation and dissemination will improve and fully document outcomes. The alignment of the on-line coursework will build upon the work of the NRTC,incorporate MSSC’s skills standards, and focus on the production of unmanned, autonomous,mobile robots. Two-year college partners include FDTC (rural service area), BroomeCommunity College (NY, suburban service area), and the regional TIME Center at theCommunity College of Baltimore County (MD urban service area). The Time Center represents5 community college partners. The project engages a broad spectrum of industry and governmentemployers and leverages the experience and prior work of multiple ATE Centers and projectsincluding two national centers, SCATE and MATE, and the regional FLATE Center. Planningpartners include the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, commercial(iRobot) and defense (Raytheon) robotics manufacturers, the Department of Defense, thenational Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science, MSSC, Employ Florida BannerCenter for Manufacturing, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (FL). The project engages proven talent in developing, delivering, preparing faculty, anddisseminating on-line course modules that support student success and prepare programcompleters for industry-recognized certification. A strong industry/government/educationpartnership will help ensure alignment of content with industry needs and recognized skillstandards. High school partnerships will advance career awareness and build new educationalpathways for technician education. Rigorous evaluation and dissemination will help ensuremaximum impact. Committed ATE Centers and a dedicated website,, willensure extensive dissemination of deliverables and outcomes. This paper will review the contentof the developed on-line modules, models for creating a ‘robotic emphasis’ in an existing EMETdegree program, the success of student completers on national certification exams andcomparisons of student success rates achieved by on-line delivery versus traditional face-to-faceinstruction.

Beston, W. C., & Craft, E. L. (2011, June), RoboKnowledge: Adaptable, On-line Robotics Production Technician Instructional Components Addressing Mobile Robotic Devices Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18658

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