Newsletter October 2016: Workshops

As Pitt’s Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) begins to grow, we are beginning to play a more active role in the Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE). Through this growth a key weakness has been identified in not only RAS, but a majority of project- based clubs throughout SSOE – new, younger, passionate students do not have the technical knowledge to provide significant contributions to advanced projects. Currently attempts are made to teach these students the knowledge necessary to contribute; however, it is extremely difficult to complete a project for a competition when so much background work needs to take place. The lack of strong fundamental knowledge in younger students and lack of time to teach these students often leads these students to slowly drop out of the organization.

In an effort to address this problem, RAS is developing a semester long series of workshops that are aimed to teach the fundamental skills necessary to contribute to advanced technical projects. With the proper fundamentals, students will be able to utilize their passion to build upon their knowledge and become well educated, technically advanced, members of an organization.

These workshops are not targeted just for potential RAS members, but for the entire school. Through collaboration with ASME, Design Hub, IEEE, and BMES the workshops will teach a fully encompassing set of fundamental skills.

This semester marks the Beta 0.1 version of these workshops and has received attendance ranging from 10 – 30 students dependent on the day. Almost all workshops in this beta attempt result in a $0 cost per workshop and utilize existing materials and resources inside Benedum.