Work in progress: Building the mechatronics and robotics education community

Michael A. Gennert, Nima Lotfi Yagin, James A. Mynderse, Monique Jethwani, Vikram Kapila

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) is one of the engineering disciplines that is experiencing tremendous, dynamic growth. MRE professionals are shaping the world by designing smart systems and processes that will improve human welfare. One's ability to meaningfully contribute to this field requires her/him to acquire an interdisciplinary knowledge of mechanical, electrical, computer, software, and systems engineering to oversee the entire design and development process of emerging MRE systems. There have been many educational efforts around MRE, including courses, minors, and degree programs, but they have not been well integrated or widely adopted. Now is the time for MRE to coalesce as a distinct and identifiable engineering discipline. To this end, and with support from the National Science Foundation, the authors have planned three workshops, the first of which has concluded, on the future of MRE education at the bachelor's degree and postgraduate levels. The objectives of these workshops are to generate enthusiasm and inculcate a sense of community among current and future MRE educators; promote diversity and inclusivity within the community; seek feedback from the community to serve as a foundation for future activities; and identify thought leaders for future community activities. The workshops will benefit a wide range of participants including educators currently teaching in MRE; PhD students seeking academic careers in MRE; and industry professionals desiring to shape the future MRE workforce. These workshops will significantly contribute to the quality of MRE education and increase adoption to prepare individuals with a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on learning. Workshop activities include short presentations on sample MRE programs; breakout sessions on topics such as mechatronic and robotics knowledgebase, project-based learning, advanced and open-source platforms, reducing barriers to adoption, accreditation, preparation to teach MRE, and community-building; and open discussion and feedback. In this paper, the outcomes of the first workshop, results of the qualitative and quantitative surveys collected from the participants, and their analyses are presented. Particular attention is paid to attendee demographics, changes in participant attitudes, and development of the MRE community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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