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A practical servomotor project: combining the Web with simulation tools to solidify concepts in undergraduate control education

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 15:54 authored by M S Zywno, D C Kennedy
Current technology enables the lecturer to use computer tools to enhance the conceptualisation of lecture material. This can be especially useful in an engineering curriculum, as the course material can be rendered less abstract through visual illustration of difficult mathematical concepts. In this paper, we present an example of a multimedia enhanced course in linear control theory, taught by authors at Ryerson Polytechnic University (Toronto, Canada). In our implementation of the course, we combine software simulations of practical systems to illustrate control theory concepts with extensive online course notes to assist with comprehension. Followup analysis shows that the use of the WWW and computer tools to enhance the learning process leads to increased enthusiasm, comprehension, and information retention. A review of the process required to create the technology enabled learning environment shows that initially there is a great deal of work involved. However, we conclude that the effort is justified by allowing a positive qualitative change in the way we educate engineering students.