In order for the Raspberry Pi to read the motor's position from the potentiometer, the analog signal needs to be converted to a digital signal. I selected an MCP3002 analog-to-digital converter (ADC) for this purpose. The digital output from the MCP3002 can be read using the SPI or I2C protocols and the Raspberry Pi has built in drivers in the WiringPi libraries for both protocols. I used SPI in the GE320 kit because the driver already existed in WiringPi, which made the implementation very easy.
This year I completed my first teaching certificate through the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the University of Illinois. Throughout the year, I attended seminars, collected feedback from my students, and had someone observe my teaching. I wrote reflective essays on the entire process as well. I learned a lot while completing the requirements of this certificate. Many of the lessons I was able to apply right away as a teaching assistant, however other lessons I have made note of for future classes that I teach.
The first phase of my dissertation research is to create a laboratory kit that can be used in the introduction to controls course in General Engineering (GE). I have included a description of the course, the existing equipment, the contents of the kit, and a comparison of the laboratory exercises below.
Each year the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education (AE3) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers Grants for the Advancement of Teaching Engineering (GATE). Professor Sreenivas (my advisor) and I were awarded funding use the GE320 laboratory kit in the fall semester of 2014.
This will give us the opportunity to conduct a quasi-experiment in GE320 laboratory sections this fall. The control group will be four of the scheduled lab sections of GE320 in the fall semester of 2014. These sections will use the lab equipment that is currently being used in the course. The subject group will be the remaining three of the laboratory sections. These sections will use a laboratory kit instead of the existing equipment. Even though the kit is designed to be portable, in this study the kit will be used during schedule laboratory sessions in the same room as the other sections. The laboratory experiments in this course are designed to reinforce topics learned in lecture and give students the opportunity to practice what they have learned. I will measure how well each group achieves the course objectives to ensure the kit helps the students at least as well as the existing equipment before proceeding with further development of the kit.