Asee peer logo

Using Robotics Competitions To Teach Teamwork Principles And Fundamental Engineering/Computer Science Concepts

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1424.1 - 10.1424.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

James Giles

author page

Donald Roberts

author page

David Mitchell

author page

Anthony Richardson

Download Paper |

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

Using Robotics Competitions to Teach Teamwork Principles And Fundamental Engineering/Computer Science Concepts

James Giles, Anthony Richardson, Donald Roberts, David Mitchell University of Evansville


All freshmen in the electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science programs at the University of Evansville take a common “Introduction to Engineering” course during their first semester. The course is focused on exposing students to team-based, multidiscipline, and project-oriented learning. Two robotics contests are used to teach fundamental principles in electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science. The contests have also been very effective in helping students learn to work well with one another on multidisciplinary teams. This paper describes the course format, the introductory lectures, the robot competitions, the techniques used to encourage teamwork, and assessment of the course.

1. Introduction

Incoming freshman in electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CoE) and computer science (CS) programs take a common course during their first semester. The course is team taught by faculty members from each of the three program areas. These faculty members are the advisors to the respective students in each program area. Students are placed in teams of three or four with each team having at least one representative from each of the three programs. At the beginning of the course students are given a brief introduction to each of the programs of study. Student teams then work towards competition in two autonomous robot contests, with construction and programming of the robots taking place during the remainder of the course.

Robotics has been used for integrated educational experiences at many institutions. Carnegie Mellon University6,8 offers robot-building contests for freshman in their introduction to electrical and computer engineering course. MIT offers an undergraduate course where Lego™ building blocks7 are used as the basis for robot-building projects. For their honors fundamentals of engineering course, Ohio State incorporates a robot-building experience where students are given a budget to purchase parts that enhance their designs, with penalties for exceeding the budget and rewards for delivering a successful project at a low cost11. Several institutions have also developed robotics platforms and system boards to be used for their own courses or sold commercially10. Most courses using robotics in undergraduate education attempt to encourage motivation and excitement by making the projects competitive. In one particularly innovative course9, the task of the robotics competition is to build a robotic toy for children with autism, which gives students additional motivation and satisfaction from helping others.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Giles, J., & Roberts, D., & Mitchell, D., & Richardson, A. (2005, June), Using Robotics Competitions To Teach Teamwork Principles And Fundamental Engineering/Computer Science Concepts Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14202

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015