Lessons Learned Flipping a Mobile Robotics Course
The goal of this paper is to describe the motivation, process and results of converting a traditional mobile robotics classroom into a flipped one. Mobile robotics has been taught at this university for 10 years and the course has proven to be very successful. The challenge with this success is that there is only one instructor, one section, once per year with an enrollment cap of 24 students. These constraints are due to faculty workload, classroom size as well as available robots. Although more robots can be purchased, it is not possible to add more faculty to teach the course or change the classroom. The other challenges are the need to elevate the laboratory assignments to focus on high level technical aspects of mobile robotics control and provide more student assistance. In order to resolve this dilemma, the author feels that there must be more time in class to focus on the laboratory recitation and assignments while emphasizing background theory both online and in class. Therefore, in winter quarter 2016 the mobile robotics course was flipped to resolve some of these challenges. The lectures were moved online and the classroom time was spent on lab recitation, implementation, and demonstration. This paper will summarize the process of designing the flipped mobile robotics course as well as a presentation of the preliminary results of the first offering as compared to the traditional course.