About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4308-4315
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1145

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain


D. Carnegie, M.H. Zareei, J. Murphy

Victoria University of Wellington (NEW ZEALAND)
Our institution has created what we believe is a unique postgraduate program designed specifically for international students. This program combines elements of a taught masters degree with practical skills preparation to facilitate international student entry into English speaking ICT/high-tech industry. Our Masters of Engineering Practice (MEP) places students into four high level technical courses in either mechatronics or software engineering (with sustainable energy and cyber security to be added soon), a course in English technical communication skills, a course in individual project skills, a double-weighted course in group project skills, and finally a four month paid internship with an NZ employer. We can find no parallels for this course in Australasia, or in fact world-wide.

A significant issue that we have had to plan for, is the varied level of practical hands-on experience that our international students might have. It is not unusual for these students to be highly capable in theoretical knowledge, but, especially in some larger institutions, the resources may not have been available for these students to gain individual, hands-on practical experience. This is not so much of an issue with students focusing on software engineering, but for mechatronics students, this lack of hands-on experience is a major impediment to employment opportunities. Therefore, in this mechatronics stream of the MEP, the initial technical courses must be able to cope with a very wide variety of practical experience and competence, and yet not be trivial to a more experienced student. Also, at the conclusion of the first set of these courses, a student must be able to enter, and succeed in our subsequent core (shared with domestic students) high level mechatronics courses. This is a difficult balance to achieve.

To address this issue, we have constructed a course in musical mechatronics where a unifying sonic theme is presented to motivate the students and contextualize the mechatronic instruction. We believe this course is the only one in the world of this type. It is a collaboration between the New Zealand School of Music and our Faculty of Engineering. Practicing musicians are engaged in most of the instruction. The musical elements are presented as being just as important as the engineering outcome, and in fact sets the design requirements for the course. This also has the added bonus of ensuring that the engineering instruction does not progress too rapidly, potentially disadvantaging our international students.

This mechatronic music course is highly experiential in nature, and is presented utilizing a problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogy. The course is divided into a formative and a summative component, where the end result is a physical mechatronic musical device that must fulfill a set of hard and soft constraints. Specifically, a minimum pick/pluck and pitch-shifting rate is defined, and the device must be repeatable within a defined precision. However, the students are also strongly encouraged to allow the device to be expressive, including (for example, slide or vibrato effects). We present the results of this course in the form of increasing enrollments, student satisfaction, research-quality project outputs and increased GPAs.
author = {Carnegie, D. and Zareei, M.H. and Murphy, J.},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.1145},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.1145},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {4308-4315}}
AU - D. Carnegie AU - M.H. Zareei AU - J. Murphy
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.1145
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 4308
EP - 4315
ER -
D. Carnegie, M.H. Zareei, J. Murphy (2017) A SUCCESSFUL MUSIC-THEMED MECHATRONICS COURSE, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 4308-4315.