Robot kit required for engineering class
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 09:10
With the semester in full swing, most students have adjusted to their schedules and have gotten acquainted with new peers, professors and the setup of their courses. By this time, they have also gotten their pens, paper, scantrons, iClickers and textbooks. What about a robot?
Some students said that they have class requirements that are out of the norm. Many of these students are required to have these supplies, which are costly, on top of a class textbook and tuition.
One of the unusual requirements is a UCF Boe-Bot Robotics Kit for EGN1006C, introduction to the engineering profession. This course is a core requirement for the majority of engineering students. Alex Santiago, an engineering major, was required to purchase one of these kits for his class. Santiago had to wait a while before he could receive his kit due to its high demand.
“The robot [kit] was sold on campus as well as a few places off campus. The robots were sold out everywhere off campus so I had to place an order with the bookstore,” Santiago said.
According to the UCF Bookstore website, a student can purchase a robotics kit used, if it’s available, for $110. If they’re unavailable, students have to purchase a new one for $146.65.
“Financial aid covers the expenses,” Santiago said.
As for the effectiveness of the kit, Santiago said that it is a vital part of the course.
“The robot serves to introduce us to various engineering fields such as electronics, circuitry and programming all in one package. They also provide a problem-solving experience,” Santiago said.
The kit is necessary for passing the course.
“If I didn’t have the robot, I would be unable to complete any assignments for the course and would likely fail the class,” Santiago said.
As for possible alternatives to purchasing the robotics kit, Santiago said that he could have shared a robot with another student. However, there would be some assignments that he could not do because they are individual assignments that require students use their own kits.
Lucas Crouch, a civil engineering major, is also taking the introduction to engineering course and said that he is also required to have the Boe-Bot Robotics Kit for his class.
“[For my class,] I needed a Boe-Bot that comes with all the parts but I have to assemble it myself,” Crouch said.
Like Santiago, Crouch had to wait a while for his kit due to back order.
“The only place you can buy [the Boe-Bot Robotics Kit] is from a special online site or at the UCF Bookstore,” Crouch said.
Crouch found it more convenient to buy the robotics kit through the bookstore and said that meant he had to pay an extra $10 for the store price.
“I didn’t have to pay for the online shipping, so [if someone were to buy the robotics kit online], the price would be about the same,” Crouch said.
On Parallax.com, students can buy the Boe-Bot Robotics Kit for $110. Once you add the Boe-Bot Text for an additional $20.99 and the shipping costs, the total price adds up to about the same amount as the new kit in the bookstore.
Crouch said that his introduction to engineering course is based solely on the Boe-Bot and that the construction of the Boe-Bot is a semester-long project. He said the Boe-Bot project is about one-fourth of his total grade.
Max Benko, a graduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, co-wrote a report titled, “Educational Robots and Their Applications.”
In his report, Benko said “Robotics is a multi-disciplinary subject [and] it requires the student to learn multiple areas of study in order to fully grasp the complexities of robotics [and engineering].”