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Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Stout within the Engineering and Technology Department routinely reinforce content covered in the classroom with related lab activities. Manufacturing process courses have students produce educational artifacts – objects which students keep, using industrial equipment and processes. The recent purchase of a 6-axis industrial welding robot for use in a Joining and Casting course (ETECH 253) provide an opportunity to measure to what extent, if any, student artifact creation has on the development of career interest in areas involving related manufacturing processes.
Presently, content is delivered in a lecture-only format. As the course module is developed, live robotic welding demonstrations will be implemented, and ultimately, a student project integrating the industrial robot will result in an educational artifact. The authors hypothesize that use of demonstrations of equipment and the inclusion of educational artifacts will (in addition to reenforcing technical course content) increase student interest in pursuing careers related to equipment used in the class.
Course development will take place over three consecutive semesters. Authors will measure student general, academic, and career interest in industrial robotics using a three question Likert scale survey administered at the end of the semester. As a control group, three other courses at UW-Stout covering a variety of manufacturing processes which currently use educational artifacts in their course delivery will have the same survey instrument administered to students.
This work includes the results from the first semester of the three-semester sequence, with the industrial welding robot content delivered in lecture-only form. In general, average Likert responses from students receiving only lecture content are lower than those from students enrolled in courses which currently make use of artifacts in their course delivery.


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