Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Robotics as an Undergraduate Major: 10 Years' Experience
Abstract: Worcester Polytechnic Institute launched an undergraduate degree program in robotics in 2007. At that time, there were only a handful of universities worldwide offering undergraduate Robotics programs, none in the United States, although many universities included robotics within a discipline such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering. WPI took a decidedly different approach. We introduced Robotics as a multi-disciplinary engineering discipline to meet the needs of 21st century engineering. The curriculum, designed top-down, incorporates a number of best practices, including spiral curriculum, a unified set of core courses, multiple pathways, inclusion of social issues and entrepreneurship, an emphasis on projects-based learning, and capstone design projects. This paper provides a brief synopsis, comparison with other approaches, and multi-year retrospective on the program. The curriculum has steadily evolved from the original to its current state, including changes in requirements, courses, hardware, software, labs, and projects. The guiding philosophy remains unchanged, however, providing continuity of purpose to the program. The program has been highly successful in meeting its desired outcomes, including: quantity and quality of enrolled students, ABET EAC accreditation, graduate placement in jobs and graduate school, and overall student learning. The program is assessed using several quantitative measures: enrollment, cohort survival within the program, course and project evaluations, and student placement success. Other, qualitative outcomes are also discussed: results from competitions, interaction with industry, accreditation, and external recognition. The paper concludes with a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for future actions to further robotics education.
Gennert, M. A., & Putnam, C. B. (2018, June), Robotics as an Undergraduate Major: 10 Years' Experience Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30943
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