Project-based Courses for B.Tech. Program of Robotics in Mechanical Engineering Technology

Zhou Zhang, Andy Zhang, Mingshao Zhang, Sven Esche

Abstract


Robotics program at many Colleges has continued to become more and more popular. However, the students of the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) program of robotics in the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) are facing three difficulties: (1) Weak fundamental knowledge related electrical engineering (EE), computer science (CS) and information technology (IT); (2) Difficulty in understanding the advanced concepts and theories of robotics; (3) Limited robotics class hours. Therefore, devising an efficient educational pedagogy for the robotics classes of the MET program is desirable.
In order to overcome the above-mentioned problems, a project-based pedagogy for the robotics program is devised and implemented in the Department of MET. There are three levels of robotics courses ranging from ‘introduction’, ‘application’ to ‘advanced’. A series of projects corresponding to different levels are designed and then are assigned to students. The students learn and practice the fundamental theories of robotics through projects instead of mathematical analysis. This pedagogy has two advantages. First, the projects let the students understand the theories spontaneously and expand the given projects with these theories. Second, the goal of the proposed educational pedagogy is to release the dependency on advanced algorithms and optimization. Then, the students can familiarize themselves with the principal concepts of robotics, practice the application of hardware and software, create their own innovative projects and, prepare themselves for their entries into the job market, thus supporting the central educational goal of cultivating technologists in MET.


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