Massive Online Open Course Assisted Mechatronics Learning: A Hybrid Approach

Massive Online Open Course Assisted Mechatronics Learning: A Hybrid Approach

Bo Xing (University of Limpopo, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8279-5.ch012
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Abstract

Massive open online courses (MOOCs), also known as kind of free and accessible online education environment, have been deeply appeals to people and broadly covered in different medium. Nowadays, it seems MOOCs are everywhere. Originally, MOOCs are designed to offer learning content to the participants who do not have an adequate educational infrastructure, or where cost has become a barrier to educational access. However, as the MOOCs become more popular, an important question need to be asked: how do traditional face-to-face learning students benefit from MOOC environments as well? This chapter introduces MOOCs as an assistant platform to rebuild the course structure in order to tie education more closely to work. The major advantage of this hybrid teaching and learning model is that it is flexible as it allows students to work through materials at their own pace and at a time that is most convenient to them. Although the successful integration of such different teaching and learning modalities is a big challenge, the presented case study and the preliminary experimental results demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed hybrid methodology.
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Background

What Is Mechatronics?

Mechatronics is a multi-disciplinary field of engineering that integrates mechanics, electronics, computer science, and control theory. It is at the cutting-edge of creating smarter products, devices and processes. Examples of mechatronic systems include an aircraft flight control and navigation system, automobile air bag safety system and antilock brake systems, automated manufacturing equipment such as robots and numerically controlled (NC) machine tools, smart kitchen and home appliances such as bread machines and clothes washing machines, and even toys.

Mechatronics is the field of study concerned with the design, selection, analysis, and control of systems that combine mechanical elements with electronic components, including computers and/or microcontrollers. Mechatronics topics involve elements from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science, and the subject matter is directly related to advancements in computer technology. The term ‘mechatronics’ was coined by Yasakawa Electric Company to refer to the use of electronics in mechanical control (i.e., ‘mecha’ from mechanical engineering and ‘tronics’ from electrical or electronic engineering). Auslander, et al. have defined mechatronics as the application of complex decision-making to the operation of physical systems. This definition removes the specific technology to be used to perform the operation from the definition.

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