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Publication - Dr Irina Lazar

    Theory, Interaction, Simulations and hands-on experiences: Blended learning of an automatic control course


    Gonzalez-Buelga, A & Lazar, I, 2019, ‘Theory, Interaction, Simulations and hands-on experiences: Blended learning of an automatic control course’. in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings., pp. 3484-3489


    Automatic Control, also called feedback control, has been a popular field of engineering science since the 1950s. A very attractive feature of the field is its generality and its wide application in many engineering areas; however, this feature also creates some difficulties in the teaching and the learning experience. The curriculum is extremely theoretical, students need to have a strong mathematical background and they need to be able to handle very abstract concepts. In the past, the theoretical aspects of the course were complemented with the use of MATLAB/Simulink numerical simulations, to assist teaching and learning. We are now in the process of reviewing both our teaching methods and the students learning outcomes and by developing a more integrated learning experience for students.

    The aims are to:
    (1) increase lecturer-student and student-student interaction using e-learning technologies such as live polls,
    (2) assist students struggling with abstraction by using not only numerical simulations, but also 3D simulations to start with, and augmented/virtual reality in the future,
    (3) increase student engagement with the taught material by using physical demonstrators during lectures - the physical demonstrators will be also available for students to use in their own time,
    (4) engage with control engineers working in industry to understand the state of the art in the professional field.

    The main challenge in developing all these new aspects is they have to be delivered in within the current timetable allocation and without detriment in the theory delivery content. In this paper, we discuss the approach to be taken in achieving the aims within the time constraints.

    Full details in the University publications repository