M. S. Thesis Abstract

Design of Instructional Methodology of Dynamic Systems and Control Engineering

Robert P. Hurley III

December 1995

The scope of this research is the development of an instructional design methodology which takes maximum advantage of dynamic visualization and computer-based interaction for modeling and analysis of control systems. The resulting user-centered learning environment (UCLE) provides a link between the mathematical descriptions of dynamic systems and their physical realization.

The instructional methodology seeks to supply the users with control systems design experiences that help them visualize problems in a real world domain. By means of association, the solution strategies used for those situations can be transferred to similar problems that the user may encounter in the future. The instructional method allows the user to draw on their experiences and translate them to engineering principles to formulate knowledge. A key feature of the instructional method is to provide a mechanism for gaining insight into modeling, analysis, and synthesis and thus, provide direct support for learning and decision making in control system design beyond traditional instruction. A case study based on a magnetic levitation spindle bearing control system has been implemented that uses the Root Locus deign method a an example to illustrate the methodology.

The contribution of this thesis research is to give an alternative method for dealing with the abstract concepts of controls engineering and thus provide an engineering basis for instructors to use for future control system design instruction. The by-product of this research project is a courseware tool that students can use at their own pace to gain a different perspective than what is offered in books and lectures.