New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Electrical and Computer
Today, conventional methods of text-based instruction may not be as effective as they have been in previous generations. As technology brings about a paradigm shift in the way people perceive and learn new information, additional methods should be explored to adapt to the students' new styles of learning.
This paper describes several illustrative examples of teasers and puzzles aimed at visualizing and comprehending math-intensive, theoretical concepts in Control Systems. The idea is to explain themes in Control Systems in an intuitive and engaging manner before transitioning to textbook-like traditional material. The method is designed to be supplemental to existing educational resources, in order to promote intuition prior to introducing further mathematical analysis. It should be noted that the proposed approach is not an attempt to replace chapters in existing Controls textbooks.
Since a growing number of students have difficulties connecting mathematical representations to practice, the goal of using puzzles, as an educational tool, is to provide a richer perspective of control systems by promoting intuitive thinking through real-life, hands-on, enjoyable activities.
This approach is also meant to foster an environment where students do not feel intimidated by the math-focused content as well as boost their confidence while establishing intuition, which can be applied to a later analysis. This approach can lead to an improved, more profound understanding of the subject matter. Some of the puzzles can also be used to clarify different control ideas, gradually explaining concepts of higher levels of complexity by looking at puzzles from different points of view.
As efforts are currently being explored by a number of educators to achieve a similar goal, this project will focus on creating a working manuscript for instructors to explain many key topics in control systems using puzzles and teasers. This is part of a greater effort at ________ University where this approach is currently being applied to different subjects in engineering such as computer algorithms, and calculus.
To gauge the receptiveness of the methodology, a few puzzles and activities were used over the course of a semester in a class titled “Control Systems 1.” The results, based on 39 student responses, were promising. Summary of results on a scale of “1” to “5”, “5” being strongly agree, “3” neutral, and “1” strongly disagree: Most students strongly agreed that visual, intuitive and engaging activities help them understand concepts better, and agreed that brain teasers and puzzles help them understand and clarify concepts in Control Systems. It also turned out that students prefer to use PowerPoint and instructor notes, and not only rely on self-learning.
Raviv, D., & Leao Gloria, L. (2016, June), Using Puzzles and Hands-on Activities for Teaching Concepts in Control Systems Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27160
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