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The Robotic Autonomy Mobile Robotics Course: Robot Design, Curriculum Design and Educational Assessment

Abstract

Robotic Autonomy is a seven-week, hands-on introduction to robotics designed for high school students. The course presents a broad survey of robotics, beginning with mechanism and electronics and ending with robot behavior, navigation and remote teleoperation. During the summer of 2002, Robotic Autonomy was taught to twenty eight students at Carnegie Mellon West in cooperation with NASA/Ames (Moffett Field, CA). The educational robot and course curriculum were the result of a ground-up design effort chartered to develop an effective and low-cost robot for secondary level education and home use. Cooperation between Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, Gogoco, LLC. and Acroname Inc. yielded notable innovations including a fast-build robot construction kit, indoor/outdoor terrainability, CMOS vision-centered sensing, back-EMF motor speed control and a Java-based robot programming interface. In conjunction with robot and curriculum design, the authors at the Robotics Institute and the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center planned a methodology for evaluating the educational efficacy of Robotic Autonomy, implementing both formative and summative evaluations of progress as well as an in-depth, one week ethnography to identify micro-genetic mechanisms of learning that would inform the broader evaluation. This article describes the robot and curriculum design processes and then the educational analysis methodology and statistically significant results, demonstrating the positive impact of Robotic Autonomy on student learning well beyond the boundaries of specific technical concepts in robotics.

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Nourbakhsh, I.R., Crowley, K., Bhave, A. et al. The Robotic Autonomy Mobile Robotics Course: Robot Design, Curriculum Design and Educational Assessment . Autonomous Robots 18, 103–127 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:AURO.0000047303.20624.02

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:AURO.0000047303.20624.02

  • robot kit
  • educational robotics
  • human-robot interaction