Engagement and Learning in Microcontroller Systems Projects Among Mixed Engineering and Product Design Cohorts

Engagement and Learning in Microcontroller Systems Projects Among Mixed Engineering and Product Design Cohorts

G. Thomson (2010).  Engagement and Learning in Microcontroller Systems Projects Among Mixed Engineering and Product Design Cohorts. 10.


Microcontroller based systems are important in many current and emerging products and engineering systems. It is therefore arguable that inclusion of this type of technology should be an important aspect of the education of contemporary product design and engineering undergraduates.

This paper reports on the experience gained in running an introductory module into the use of microcontrol systems for a mixed cohort class of product design and mechanical engineering students. The use of the two cohorts was driven by economies of scale and offered both challenges and opportunities. The product designers typically had a lower scientific and mathematical background than the engineering students, but had a greater experience of design, build and test type projects.

The aspirations of the students also differed in terms of the applications to which they might expect to deploy the technology. The module was set up with both lectures coupled to formal practical sessions and more open project classes. The nature of this type of work with a high level of iteration lent itself to cyclical learning. The classes ultimately worked well though issues related to effective assessment, learning methods, group dynamics and project planning had to be resolved.


Authors (New): 
Gareth Thomson
Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Systems Design
product design
mechanical engineering
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