EID111: Robotics and Theater Course
The syllabus presents a detailed weekly schedule of activities and assignements. It fills out the details of a broad plan which consists of four phases: exposure, exploration, development and presentation, described in the following paragraphs.
The exposure phase introduces the student via films and readings, to mind-stretching concepts and cases involving creativity, technology, mythology and links between concepts which are not ordinarily linked, such as robotics and theater, art and science, freedom and compulsion. A major goal is to stretch the students thinking as far as possible "outside the box" and expose them emotionally to the intense passion of creativity which inspires great works which are eventually packaged into technology and art. The attached bibliography gives a detailed list; here are three good examples:
Tesla - Master of Lightning
Kapek - Rossums Universal Robots
Film -Fast Cheap and out of Control
Homework consists of reading and writing up a short assignment which forces the student to conjoin two or more disparate readings and/or films. These are also presented weekly in class.
At the end of the exposure phase, the students have loosed the inhibitions of intra-disciplinary thinking and knowledge-gauged courses. They are excited by the extremes of human accomplishment and conceptualizing, and eager to delve into their own projects aimed at these extremes.
In the exploration phase, students launch into research of individual interest, with an eye to a course project. This research involves not only the traditional methods of library and web search, but also interviewing experts, visiting labs, facilities or accessible sites, and recruiting students who are not in the course, to lend their expertise in either the subject matter or presentation technologies, for example, animation software or robotic control software. Classroom activities during this phase include weekly bull sessions wherein research material is presented discussed and peers or teachers who suggest redirection or give observations. Towards the end of the exploration phase, students are tentatively proposing their projects which are discussed in open class. There is often a measure of anxiety and self-doubt here, accompanying the first reaches into creative formulation.
The development phase imperceptibly terminates the exploration phase. Despite the barely visible external perception of change, a radical emotional change takes place internally. Self-doubt gives way to intense focus. Students are now driven by coherent concepts of their projects, and work with passion and devotion towards fulfillment. The timidity and lack of confidence are gone, and weekly discussions change from conceptual experimentation to finding solutions to implementation problems. These include limitations of media to express concepts, seeking alternative technologies to implement difficult mechanisms, or rephrasing a dramatic episode proposed for final presentation.
Weekly presentation describe progress and solicit informal review and revision.
The presentation phase, although short, represents a tremendous burst of energy and maturing to the ego and talents of the student.
After a dress rehearsal which inevitably provides a burst of hard working changes, the final day arrives. It is important to note that the guidelines for this presentation are to provide a perfectly closed fictive scenario with no hint of the fictitious nature of the subject. Examples include sales presentation, board meeting, press conference, interview, etc. Costume where appropriate.
(Cite examples )
History of classes
Makeup of classes
Sample projects of interest
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HOW TO DO THIS AT YOUR SCHOOL:
The four phases of exposure, exploration, development and presentation were applied to the theme of robotics and theater in our courses. However, they could just as easily be applied to other advance subject matter such as art and biology, energy and environment, history and film, or any exotic combination of fields. Two crucial elements which must be present are 1) Interdisciplinary subject material 2) Extreme creativity. The first is necessary to create unusual combinations and provoke thought. The second is necessary to challenge the student to extreme effort of thought and project development. This produces productive stress during the middle of the project, which inevitably precedes a period of hard work, growing confidence, and development of talents and thought patterns which are a completely new and rewarding experience for most students. They learn to present themselves in a manner which will benefit them in job interviews and presentation in their jobs and careers. They develop self-confidence in exploring new areas.
If you wish to follow our example in setting up your own courses, you should:
- Peruse our documentation.
- Meet with chairs and perspective faculty to select YOUR subject matter.
(ours is robotics in theater, yours might be biotechnology and art, etc)
- Select your presentation materials for the exposure phase.
- Develop a lesson plan modelled on our syllabus..