Franklyn Turbak and Robert Berg, Robotic Design Studio: Exploring the Big Ideas of Engineering in a Liberal Arts Environment. Journal of Science Education and Technology 11(3): 237--253, Sep. 2002. This is an expanded version of [TB01].
In this paper we argue that it is important to introduce liberal arts students to the essence of engineering. Toward this end we have developed Robotic Design Studio, a course where students learn how to design, assemble, and program robots made out of LEGO parts, sensors, motors, and small embedded computers. The course has no prerequisites and has attracted students from a wide range of backgrounds. The course culminates in a robot exhibition where students show off the robots that they have designed and built. These creative projects tie together aspects of a surprisingly wide range of disciplines. Robotic Design Studio represents an alternative vision of how robot design can be used to teach engineering in a way that is more inclusive and provides more room for artistic expression than contest-centered formats. A web site with detailed descriptions of student projects and all other course materials can be found at: