Based on the surveys performed each year as part of the internal evaluation of lecturers at various universities a conclusion can be made that students often have some kind of dissatisfaction with courses related to Control Theory. As an improvement of this situation an idea to create an interactive course was born. In order to check the students' opinion about such a course a survey has been made (see: http://bit.ly/ControlTheorySurveyUL ). The survey had two questions: 1. "How would you rate the difficulty of Control Theory in relation to other courses?" and 2. "What is/would be your preferred way of studying it?". The results of the survey (see: http://bit.ly/ControlTheorySurveyULResults ) clearly show that students find Control Theory difficult in comparison with other courses. It also shows that an interactive course would be their preferred way of studying it. As no such course is available, an idea for an Erasmus+ project titled: "Interactive Course for Control Theory" (ICCT) was born among the contact persons of partners, which know each other from Japan (they all namely studied or made research at the Intelligent Control System Lab at the Tokyo University). All of them are now professors in their own countries. The idea for such a partnership of four universities from various countries would benefit as an interactive course for students with varying background knowledge can be made. Study programs in various EU countries namely differ a lot. Not only at the level of universities, but also at the level of high schools. Control Theory is namely built on the knowledge obtained in various previous courses: Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Programming, etc. The staff of the partners which will take part in the project also cover various fields (UL-Mechanical Engineering, UNIPI-Manufacturing, UNIBU-Electrical Engineering and Robotics and UNIRI-Computer Engineering). So, each of the partners will be able to contribute to the Interactive Course from his point of view.
As part of the ICCT the following activities will take place:
Analysis of available frameworks for interactive course
Development of a framework for the Interactive Course
The Interactive course for Control Theory
Testing of a trial version of the Interactive Course
Preparation of a manual
The addition of FAQ and exam examples to the interactive course
Final trial testing
The whole course (interactive examples, manual and FAQ and exam examples) will be available in English and the languages of partners.
In order to disseminate the project a multiplier event will be organized. We however plan to achieve bigger impact as a result of attendance at various conferences that all lecturers must attend because of their elections. As no extra costs are associated with such an attendance, they are not formally entered in the project proposal. We however find the informal meetings taking part at such conferences as the best chance to disseminate the results of this project among other lecturers, which will also be encouraged to translate the interactive course to their own language (if it is not available in their language yet).
During the project a homepage will be made, where the interactive course will be freely available after the project conclusion as well. We also intend to modify it after the project is completed based on the feedback of its users. We hope that a project homepage will function as some kind of forum, where ideas and good practices regarding teaching of Control Theory related courses will be shared.
The students of the Control Theory related courses are the main participants in the project. In all four partner universities there will be approximately 2000 of them during the project. The target group are of course all EU students. They will get information about the interactive course through their lecturers and also through their fellow students who will get acquainted with it due to Erasmus+ exchange programs at partner universities.
At the end of the project a survey about the difficulty of Control Theory will repeated. The goal is that, as a result of this project, students will not find it that difficult anymore (on local, regional, national and EU level). This means that their understanding of the subject will be better and as a consequence their future employers will benefit in the form of better competitiveness on a global market.
As another result of this project a strategic partnership of four universities will be made, which can therefore easier cooperate on future projects.