Spencer Featured in Digital Engineering Magazine

Harvey Mudd engineering professor Matthew Spencer was interviewed by Digital Engineering magazine about the challenges of teaching circuit design and robotics courses remotely during the pandemic.

In the podcast and accompanying article, Harvey Mudd College Professor on Teaching Robotics, Circuit Design in Lockdown, Spencer describes how he shifted his hands-on classes from in-person to remote learning.

“It [was] important for us to provide laboratory experiences because they are a formative part of engineering education,” Spencer told DE. “It’s much harder when the students don’t have access to the hardware we usually use to do it.

One way Spencer was able to maintain a hands-on element in his robotics course was to send Arduino kits with pre-connected electronics home with students as they were leaving campus. The kits don’t require special soldering equipment at home to complete assignments.

“For the circuit design class, we move from physical circuit design to simulation,” Spencer told DE. “The robotics class is usually graded based on team presentation and project reports. The final delivery [was] redefined as “a video for internet consumption,” Spencer said.

Along with online instruction, chat rooms and office hours, he was able to continue to focus on the core learning of the courses.

Listen to Matthew Spencer’s full interview on the Digital Engineering podcast.