The Cooper Union is developing a new simultaneous lecture and laboratory approach to address the pedagogical challenge of finding the appropriate balance between theory and hands-on experimentation in teaching dynamic systems and control concepts. The new approach dedicates one hour each week to laboratory experiments with the class subdivided into small student groups having greater faculty interaction. Bench top experiments from National Instruments and Quanser include DC motor and inverted pendulum modeling and control workstations. Process control test rigs from Feedback Inc. include level, flow, temperature, and pressure control trainers. Devoting significant time to laboratory experiments gives students the opportunities to fully appreciate feedback control concepts and to acquire valuable practical skills. This paper discusses the new instructional approach, preliminary results, lessons learned, and future plans for improving the systems and control curriculum.

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