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Design, Implementation, and Incorporation of a Control System Platform in an Undergraduate-Level Control Systems Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Pezhman A. Hassanpour

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

Paper No. IMECE2017-72072, pp. V005T06A001; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5840-0
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This paper presents the design, implementation, and incorporation of an educational control system platform in an introductory course on control systems, with the goal of relating abstract concepts involved in this course to a real-world engineering system. This study builds upon the previously published attempt by the author involving design of a general control system platform for position-controlling of a shaft. In the present work, the need for incorporating a hardware-based hands-on project for teaching control systems is discussed first. Then, the contents of the undergraduate senior-level course MECH 412-Control Systems and the way the course is organized around a master example are explained. In addition, this paper elaborates on the challenges involved with introducing the concept of microprocessors to the mechanical engineering students taking MECH 412. The term project, which is founded on the master example in question, is discussed in details with emphasis on the objectives and learning outcomes, and evaluation. In the results section, the outcomes of the implementation of the proposed platform during the Fall 2016 semester are presented. These outcomes include the various types of controllers students selected to design, the observations they made for each type of controller, samples of submitted codes, and evaluation of the students’ learning outcomes. The evaluation includes the statistical analysis of pre- and post-test questionnaire completed by the students at the beginning and end of the semester, respectively. The reason why a control group could not be secured is explained in detail. The statistical analysis shows a significant improvement in the mechanical engineering students’ degree of the confidence in using tools that are traditionally perceived to be for electrical engineers.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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