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This paper presents an innovative two-course, laboratory-based, and design-oriented robotics educational model. The robotics curriculum exposed senior-level undergraduate students to major robotics concepts, and enhanced the student learning experience in hybrid learning environments by incorporating the IEEE Region-5 annual robotics competition with open-ended design challenges, by establishing a robotics club, and by implementing a K-12 mentorship program. A four-faculty team developed two elective courses in which the theoretical concepts underlying the robotics design competition topics were supported with corresponding laboratory activities. Students took the courses sequentially. They were formed into diverse teams, whose performance was assessed via weekly team presentations and participation in an outreach day. The best robot design teams participated in the IEEE Region-5 competitions. All students participated in a service-learning activity, acting as mentors during local K-12 robotics competitions while enhancing their own robotics comprehension. The robotics curriculum's two-year evaluation results illustrate the consistent efficacy of the curriculum during the project duration, indicating a successful robotics educational model for other academic institutions to follow.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013