Implementing a College Level Robotics CoursePresentation Transcript
Implementing a College Level Robotics Course Jeanine Meyer Purchase College/SUNY
Background/motivation for course
Upper-level elective: can satisfy requirements for mathematics/computer science and new media majors
Work for you!
[ancient] work in robotics at IBM Research
Box frame robot
A Manufacturing Language (AML)
Software for out-sourced Scara robot
Tools for logistics
Robot surgery (….Robodoc)
Why do course
Reviewed book on Robotic Sumo by David Perdue
he is working on a Mindstorms book
Wanted to return to previous interest
Give students introduction [taste] of operating in the physical world
Continuous phenomena as opposed to discrete
We are all grand masters at …putting things on top of other things,….assembly, recognizing many patterns, etc.
Peter Will, IBM
This makes the programming more difficult, not less.
First day exercise
Ways to program robot
Program with sensory feedback
Data driven automation
What are the directions / how do you teach someone to tie shoes?
Problems at my institution
Students not engineers, not particularly strong programmers
Wide variety of backgrounds, including
Students who have ‘done robotics’ in middle school or high school
Little technical support
Capped enrollment at 15
Restrict kits to the lab
Made exceptions towards the end
2 out of 15 students purchased their own kits
Team work is a goal!
Basic building projects: 5 teams of 3
Their building projects … 8 + 2 were enough
Involved the 2 building computer engineers
Encouraged them to build tribot
Had them substitute when I was away
Needed to request funds from centralized source: 8 kits
Given all this robotics activity in k-12, how to make this a college course? Would colleagues and/of students think this was just playing with toys?
Note: this may have been unwarranted worry.
We need electives.
I was willing to take on the task for developing a new course.
People know my history….
Lego Mindstorms only part of the course
Students responsible for defining building project
My lectures on robotics plus
Students responsible for
Library research assignment
Posting and responding to news on on-line discussion board
Listen & participate in lecture & discussion
Propose, get approval and do library research & make presentation on robot topic
Making presentations is a goal by itself
1 page write-up
Pay attention to news and make postings & reply to others on robot topics
Build the assigned Mindstorm projects: teams
Plan and complete original Mindstorm project: teams or individual [or different hardware]
Midterm and Final
Levels of language
Very, very basic kinematics & reverse kinematics
Types of manufacturing, automation
Anthropomorphic fallacy (?)
3D CAD (Google Sketchup)
Movement in a crowded workspace
Locomotion (e.g., walking, crawling)
Lecture & Discussion Board topics
Home health care
Basics with tribot
Using each sensor
Creating file data
Mapping a room
Bluetooth (2 or 3 NXT bricks, maybe in tribots)
Student defined projects
Aside on Bluetooth
It took me time and experimentation AND using on-line forums to understand it.
This is a lesson for the students
Assume tribot or tribot like robot with typical sensors (bump, ultrasound, rotation), file capability
You define the constraints, for example, room must be square, or polygon.
How to generate data to be uploaded to personal computer to draw the [boundaries of] room.
Schedule, lecture notes, midterm and final all online newmedia.purchase.edu/~Jeanine/charts.html
Library research reports
MIT leg lab
17 th -18 th century robots
Microsoft Robotics Studio
Final Building projects
Walking puppy (didn’t work, but…)
Cat and mouse
Wall follower (not reliable)
Maze wall follower sending information to NXT
Sumo Crystal & Alexandria's video
Building robot using own hardware
[I believe] students understood the difficulties of robotic applications and the wide variety of robot related research & development
Students did well on quizzes and attempted interesting projects
Limited participation (7/15) but did include the students I expected to be negative, if anyone was, and didn’t include the most enthusiastic.
Informal feedback positive
3 students doing independent studies with me in the Fall.
Good, easy-going group of students so teams worked
Note: most students knew me and so expected things such as presentations, posting, working in teams, quiz guides
What did you like best…?
Building, lab & lecture time, hands-on, experience of professor with older forms…
What would you change in the course?
Less required posting, historical readings, other programming languages, more on servos, NOT MUCH
How would you describe the course to others?
Interesting manufacturing.., relaxed, fun, different
71% strongly agreed or agreed that working in teams with the kits was successful in terms of learning
43% neutral (none negative) on on-line discussion.
I think the course in general was great. I would have liked to have a done a little more work in the labs.
I really liked this class as a new media class due to its lack of forcing art on us. I think this let the learning take charge instead of focusing on trying to be creative, which lead to being plenty creative.
i thought it was a great course overall
wonderful class.. fun working in projectss with peers
It would be helpful to some how make the Lego more readily available to assist in learning the program, error corrections and building projects out side of class. I also understand it is difficult, but it would be helpful. To some how create a swipe box where their kits are sorted and available outside of class time. Using the student?s id to access to the lego kit which they are using.
Truth in advertising:
Colleague included robotics in a course on computer organization and had some problems
Sometimes teamwork does not go well
to define procedure for firing a team member!
to defend giving all members the same grade OR specifying a way to allocate credit.
Use NXT-G (iconic language) or something else
Google Sketchup: stay with basic ‘get to know you’ exercise or less or more
Required posting on Blackboard or less or more and/or required participation in nxtasy forums
How to improve participation by females or is it okay (4/15, slightly ahead of percentage in math/cs and new media! Sigh… )
Raise standards: is just trying enough?
What to do with graduates of k-12 programs?
Visit: newmedia.purchase.edu /~Jeanine
Fall courses include
Programming Games, an introduction to programming course and
Communicating Quantitative Information, a general education course based on mathematics in news stories