Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Professor Klatu Uses Comic Books to Teach Robotics!!!

From: The Enquirer
Comic books help students understand robotics theory
Prof creates materials using newer software

"University of Cincinnati professor Ernie Hall has discovered the joys of using comic books in the classroom - for learning - although the professor of robotics and computer science isn't opposed to having fun either.

Using a new software, Comic Book Creator, Hall has created comic books, finding them helpful in explaining technical points for college students in his robot control class.

"It just fits perfectly with our robotics activities," said Hall, director of the Center for Robotics at UC. "In there, I have a lot of theory. The theory of control is very sophisticated, but I have to show them enough about it to make it look easy as a piece of cake. Then, they'll go out and build their own robots."

Students in the class agreed that the comic books are a hit.
It definitely spiced it up a lot," said Ben Stayton, 23, a senior in mechanical engineering. "It made it a lot more interesting."

Matt Abirached, also a 23-year-old senior mechanical engineering student, added, "It was different than our normal lecture, which is just seeing PowerPoint slides."
Comic books won't replace serious technical papers, Hall said, but he does plan to use that format more often to enhance his lectures.

"It's better than PowerPoint," he said. "It lets me spiff up my PowerPoint lectures. I have all my lectures on the computer with PowerPoint but now I see I really need to spiff them up with this, and then they would be a lot more effective, especially on hard, technical problems. I can lighten up the scene a little bit."...

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