A Project-Based Mechatronics Program to Reinforce Mechatronic Thinking - A Restructuring Experience from the University of Canterbury
The approach taken during restructuring the Mechatronics Program at the University of Canterbury is described, along with challenges faced. The background of the University of Canterbury Mechatronics program is examined, as are the challenges of integrating the program within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. The new Mechatronics program features integrative projects during each of three Professional Education years to reinforce students’ “mechatronic” thinking and hands-on abilities. The project-based course “Introduction to Mechatronics Design” features a series of application-oriented laboratory projects using a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The restructured program of balanced essential skills training coupled with focus streams of specialization may signal a paradigm shift in engineering education.