Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 237–253 | Cite as

Robotic Design Studio: Exploring the Big Ideas of Engineering in a Liberal Arts Environment



In this paper we argue that it is important to introduce liberal arts students to the essence of engineering. Toward this end we have developed Robotic Design Studio, a course where students learn how to design, assemble, and program robots made out of LEGO® parts, sensors, motors, and small embedded computers. The course has no prerequisites and has attracted students from a wide range of backgrounds. The course culminates in an exhibition where students show off the robots that they have designed and built. These creative projects tie together aspects of a surprisingly wide range of disciplines. Robotic Design Studio represents an alternative vision of how robot design can be used to teach engineering in a way that is more inclusive and provides more room for artistic expression than contest-centered formats. A web site with detailed descriptions of student projects and all other course materials can be found at

robots design engineering liberal arts undergraduate education 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentWellesley CollegeWellesley
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentWellesley CollegeWellesley

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