Mechatronics Engineering Education

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH

Sammanfattning: Since its emergence in the late 1960s, mechatronics has become well-established as an academic subject, and is now researched and taught at a large number of universities worldwide. The most widely-used definition of the subject today is centered on the synergistic integration of mechanical engineering, electronics, and intelligent computer control.The aim of this thesis is to work between the disciplines of engineering education and mechatronics to address both the question of the identity of the subject of mechatronics and the ways in which this identity can be reflected in the practice of mechatronics education.Empirical data from the literature is supplemented with further data from four case studies with approaches varying from exploratory case studies and ethnographic in-depth studies to explanatory studies with an action research based approach.The process and results of the investigation can be divided into three aspects. Firstly, analysis of the subject of mechatronics shows that its identity is thematic and its legitimacy is functional, implying that the selection and communication of the subject ought to be exemplifying and interactive respectively. Secondly, and following this analysis, the concept of international collaboration is used as the implementation for the first two case studies. The results of these studies show a relationship between collaborative projects and enhanced disciplinary learning and skills, increased awareness of cultural differences, and improved motivation. Another potential implementation, experimental learning, is then tested in two action research based studies focusing on fast prototyping and individual access to laboratory equipment.Mechatronics is a special subject, not easily understood or taught. To be mechatronic is to be synergistic, and to be synergistic generally demands expertise in all underlying subjects. The conclusion of this thesis is that this requires a non-traditional education where the focus is on training rather than studying, coaching rather than teaching, experimenting rather than reading, working together rather than apart, and being mechatronic rather than studying mechatronics.