- A Mechatronics Curriculum and Packaging Automation Laboratory Facility – NSF Award Number: 0837164
The project is addressing the learning of mechatronics in engineering technology through hands-on experience in the laboratory and through internships. It is enhancing six existing courses in electrical and mechanical engineering technology; developing two new mechatronics engineering technology courses; and establishing one new mechatronics laboratory facility to provide hands-on experience in designing, controlling, and integrating packaging machinery systems. In doing this it is incorporating experiential learning to make the courses more beneficial, practical, and appealing to students. The investigators are partnering with local industries, which are donating new equipment and hiring a substantial number of interns from this program.
- Meeting Workforce Needs for Mechatronics Technicians – NSF Award Number: DUE-1003668
The purpose of this project is to develop and implement a modular-based multidisciplinary mechantronics curriculum that is flexible and customizable based on the changing needs of education and industry. The modules are designed to close the knowledge and skills gap in the area of mechatronics, as well as address the workforce challenges present in the regional areas of greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Three tiers of course modules (beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels) are delivered to two year college freshmen and sophomores, as well as industry professionals allowing for certification at various levels. The modules are mapped to existing courses in the associate degree program at Purdue University-Calumet, Ivy Tech Community College, and the College of Dupage. Internship experiences are also made available to participating students by industry partners. On-going assessment is embedded in each project component to measure the effectiveness of the instructional materials, student learning (both in school and through internships), and instructional delivery. There is a strong focus on recruiting and engaging underrepresented students, as well as linking to local high schools by providing modules that supplement existing coursework.