An evaluation and redesign of a vision-based feedback controls experiment for undergraduate dynamic systems and controls laboratory
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Control systems instructional modules are more commonly developed for control systems engineering students, who are prepared to confront the complexity and large number of topics and concepts required in control systems study. In a general systems and dynamics course, it can be challenging to develop laboratory modules that will be suitable to, say, a general mechanical engineering student audience. This report describes and analyzes a pedagogical tool – a Vision-Based feedback control experiment – to investigate its effectiveness at demonstrating basic feedback control concepts to such a general purpose mechanical engineering undergraduate student audience. The effectiveness of this tool is examined by analyzing student responses to specific queries, designed to test understanding of a topic area or concept. This report evaluates the experimental apparatus pedagogical practice to give the instructor information required for an update on aforementioned practices, to better suit the target student audience, and to ultimately achieve desired module learning outcomes and objectives. The evaluation tools and methods are described in detail, and results show that the Vision-Based Feedback Control Experimental apparatus successfully demonstrates feedback control concepts to the desired student audience, and highlights areas where teaching practice may be improved to improve student comprehension of the concepts and topics presented in the module. The tools and methods presented in this report can be implemented for constantly monitoring the effect of changes and improvements, and are recommended for application to any of the other instructional lab modules in this type of course.