Empowering computing students with proficiency in robotics via situated learning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the increasing employment of robots in multiple areas such as smart manufacturing and intelligent transportation, both undergraduate and graduate students from computing related majors (e.g., computer science and information technology) demonstrated strong interests in learning robotics technology to broaden their career opportunities. However, instilling computing students with robotics knowledge remains a challenge since most of them have limited pre-training in engineering subjects such as electronics and mechatronics. Therefore, robotics education for computing students demands an immersive real-world learning environment by considering both theories and intensive hands-on projects. Different from traditional textbook-directed robotics learning, in this study, a situated learning-based robotics education pedagogy is proposed for computing students to equip them with robotics expertise and foster their problem-solving skills in real-world human–robot interaction contexts. To create a realistic human–robot collaboration situation, a multi-modal collaborative robot is employed in the classroom-based learning community for the whole semester. Mini-project-based homework and team projects are designed for students to practice their critical thinking and hands-on experiences. The bidirectional-evaluation approach is utilized by the instructor and students to assess the quality of the proposed pedagogy. Practice results and student evaluations suggested that the proposed situated learning-based pedagogy and robotics curriculum provided computing students to learn robotics in an effective way, which was well recognized and accepted by students even most of them were beginners. Future work of this study is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalSmart Learning Environments
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Collaborative learning
  • Computer science
  • Hands-on experience
  • Human–robot interaction
  • Situated learning
  • Teamwork

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