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On the use of robots in a PBL in the first year of computer science / computer engineering studies

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2 Author(s)
J. Oliver ; Escola d''Eng., Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain ; R. Toledo

European universities are involved in a structural change in their careers in order to promote students exchange between countries. Taking advantage of this situation, Spanish University Council also is promoting changes in teaching methodologies. On the other hand, Spanish universities experience an important decrease of the number of students that arrives to the technical careers. This is mainly due to the fact that, in recent years, students move from the technical studies to the social ones. The reason is that social studies are considered, typically, more affordable. Finally, students who arrive at Computer Engineering studies often suffer a loss of motivation in their first year due to the fragmentation of subjects that is introduced into the studies. For example, hardware and software topics are explained in different subjects as if they were different disciplines. With the goal to overcome this situation the authors use a PBL based on robotics in the first course of computer engineering studies in our university. The aim is to motivate students who enter in the computer engineering career. This paper presents the design of a PBL with robots held in our department for several years. It discusses about the involved subjects and the need of resources, explores the suitability of robots for the PBL, and introduces the results of the two year experience application of this new teaching methodology in our studies.

Published in:

Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

17-20 April 2012