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Teaching Classical Control In Et Programs; Time For Reassessment?

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ECET Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1350.1 - 12.1350.5



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Paper Authors


Omar Zia Southern Polytechnic State University

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Omar Zia is presently a professor at Southern Polytechnic State Univerisity. He has a Ph.D. in Control system. Prior to joining SPSU he served as full professor at CalPoly San Luis Obispo. His research interests are in the area of Control and Digital Signal Processing. He has been recognized for his research contributions to NASA eight times.

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

Teaching Classical Control in ET programs; time for reassessment?


This paper is based on the recommendations made by the National Science Foundation and Control Systems Society of IEEE. In light of those recommendations and issues discussed at a NSF/CSS workshop, the author raises the question of appropriate contents for a control system course as taught in a typical first course ET program. Presently, the majority of electrical, some mechanical and almost all electromechanical engineering technology programs have a course in their curriculum called control systems. Even though they carry the same name, most often their contents are drastically different. In many programs the focus of the course is on the application of typical classical control. There are some programs where the whole course is about application and programming of micro-controllers. There are also programs where the emphasis of the course is entirely on the study of instrumentation and programmable logic controllers. In this paper an attempt will be made to find an answer to the question of what is the appropriate content for a typical first course in control systems to be taught in a typical ET program. The argument will be made that the recommendations made by NSF and Control System Society of IEEE can easily be implemented and therefore should be considered.


The control area has been structured in the recent years in a process that includes, for instance, foundation of IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control). In this maturing process, different works, as Blondell6 and Antsaklis1 have addressed general questions, such as control challenges in the new millennium. Those works are based on discussions performed by control communities, arising as relevant consolidated opinions based on individual experiences. At the same time, other works, as Kheir7 and Heck2, approach control education, with many scenarios based on technological learning process. The main purpose of this paper is to broaden the scope of the discussion and get the ET educators involved in it. Therefore, in the next sections, an attempt is made to analyze the role of a classic control course in an ET curriculum. The question that needs to be addressed is whether or not a control course is an essential part of an ET curriculum and if yes what are the appropriate course contents.

Need for reassessment

The field of control systems science and engineering has entered a golden age of unprecedented growth and opportunity. These opportunities for growth are being spurred by enormous advances in computer technology, material science, sensor and actuator technology, as well as in the theoretical foundations of dynamical systems and control. Control system technology is the cornerstone of the new automation revolution occurring in such diverse areas as household appliances, consumer electronics, automotive and aerospace systems, manufacturing systems,

Zia, O. (2007, June), Teaching Classical Control In Et Programs; Time For Reassessment? Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1819

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