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Utilizing Robotics To Facilitate Project Based Learning: A Student Perspective

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Mobile Robots in Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

13.1375.1 - 13.1375.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4292

Download Count

30

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Paper Authors

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Anthony Reed Louisiana Tech University

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Anthony Reed is a sophomore at Louisiana Tech University majoring in biomedical engineering. He graduated from a residential high school in Louisiana and plans to pursue a career in medicine after graduating.

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Taylor Creekbaum Louisiana Tech University

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Taylor Creekbaum is a sophomore at Louisiana Tech University majoring in biomedical engineering. He graduated from the same residential high school as Anthony Reed, and he has a special interest in computer applications.

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Matthew Elliott Louisiana Tech University

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Matthew Elliott is a freshman at Louisiana Tech University majoring in biomedical engineering. He graduated from a high school in Arkansas and plans to pursue a career in industry after graduating.

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David Hall Louisiana Tech University

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David Hall is the James F. Naylor, Jr. Endowed Professor and the Program Chair for Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. He received his B.S. from Louisiana Tech and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Georgia Tech. His research interests include trenchless technology and engineering education.

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Davis Harbour Louisiana Tech University

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Davis Harbour is a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Oklahoma and his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He has a strong industrial background in software, sensing and control applications for offshore oil technology. His interests include undergraduate teaching and curriculum development.

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

Utilizing Robotics to Facilitate Project-Based Learning: A Student Perspective

Abstract This paper describes a freshman engineering curriculum that utilizes a robotics kit to facilitate hands-on learning. Student participants are required to purchase the robotics kit in lieu of textbooks. In the first of three courses, students implement simple circuits and write BASIC programs to accomplish tasks such as robot navigation and detecting light levels with photoresistors. In the second course, students use their newly acquired skills to implement a system that controls the temperature and salinity of a small volume of water. Through this project, students learn to implement more advanced circuits, including 555 timer circuits, transistor-relay circuits, and resistance temperature detector (RTD) circuits. In third course, students complete an open-ended design project where they conceive, fabricate, and test a working prototype of a “smart product.” The paper describes each of these three freshman courses and provides assessment results and student perspectives on the new project-centered curriculum.

Introduction

In 1998, the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University moved to an integrated engineering curriculum based on the educational practices of the National Science Foundation Educational Coalitions. Our freshman integrated curriculum includes differential calculus, chemistry, physics and several non-technical courses. Students take these courses in “blocks” so that classes of 40 students share the same mathematics, chemistry and engineering courses. The topics presented in the mathematics and science courses are coordinated to some degree with the topics presented in the engineering courses to motivate student learning and to provide some content overlap. The engineering courses are set up in a lecture / laboratory format and meet twice a week for 1 hour and 50 minutes. These three engineering courses add up to six semester hours and span the entire freshman year.

The “original” freshman engineering course sequence between 1998 and the spring of 2007 included engineering fundamentals (circuits, material balance and statics), computer applications (Excel, Mathcad and Solid Edge), statistics, engineering economics, teamwork, communication skills, and a design project. The students did most of their work in teams, including homework problems, laboratory activities and presentations. The freshman year culminated in a design competition between student teams.

In 2002, the College began to pilot a robotics-centered set of freshman courses that were much like the original engineering courses only with a much stronger project focus that was facilitated by the use of mobile robots. The goal of this new curriculum is to engage students in project- based, hands-on learning and to foster innovation by building a wide and varied body of latent knowledge and specialist skills to feed the creative process (as recommended by Cropley and Cropley1). The course comprises seven threads that run throughout the year, including systems, electromechanical, fabrication and acquisition, software, fundamentals, communication and broadening activities; broadening activities include working in teams, giving presentations on

Reed, A., & Creekbaum, T., & Elliott, M., & Hall, D., & Harbour, D. (2008, June), Utilizing Robotics To Facilitate Project Based Learning: A Student Perspective Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4292

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: © 2008 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