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Project First: A Case Study in Mechatronics Course Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Jonathan P. Fiene, Mark Yim

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Paper No. DETC2008-50030, pp. 525-534; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/DETC2008-50030
From:
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 13th Design for Manufacturability and the Lifecycle Conference; 5th Symposium on International Design and Design Education; 10th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle and Tire Technologies
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4329-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME

abstract

In many project-based mechatronic courses, the project is either a tangential part of the course or a kit is given to the students (e.g. parts of a mobile base for a robot) which they then assemble and modify as necessary. In contrast to these typical approaches, we present the design of a mechatronics course wherein the semester project pre-determines the various lab activities, which then define the ordering and content of the classroom lectures. As such, the project is the core focus of the course, and the supplied components are kept to a minimum in order to maximize the solution space and student creativity. Putting such a strong emphasis on the project requires that significant effort is invested early to select a suitable project for the semester, but once that choice is made, the remainder of the content essentially fills in automatically. In addition to the case study, we present more general rules and context which can be helpful in choosing a project and fostering a strong peer-assisted learning culture.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME

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