Vertical stream curricula integration of problem-based learning using an autonomous vacuum robot in a mechatronics course


Difficulties in teaching a multi-disciplinary subject such as the mechatronics system design module in Departments of Mechatronics Engineering at Temasek Polytechnic arise from the gap in experience and skill among staff and students who have different backgrounds in mechanical, computer and electrical engineering within the Mechatronics Department. The departments piloted a new vertical stream curricula model (VSCAM) to enhance student learning in mechatronics system design through integration of educational activities from the first to the second year of the course. In this case study, a problem-based learning (PBL) method on an autonomous vacuum robot in the mechatronics systems design module was proposed to allow the students to have hands-on experience in the mechatronics system design. The proposed works included in PBL consist of seminar sessions, weekly works and project presentation to provide holistic assessment on teamwork and individual contributions. At the end of VSCAM, an integrative evaluation was conducted using confidence logs, attitude surveys and questionnaires. It was found that the activities were quite appreciated by the participating staff and students. Hence, PBL has served as an effective pedagogical framework for teaching multidisciplinary subjects in mechatronics engineering education if adequate guidance and support are given to staff and students.


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