The Robotics Academy is a teaching format based at the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences' RoboAI joint use laboratory, focusing on practical projects and the development of concrete technological skills.
In practice, the Robotics Academy means that students selected to study at the academy complete their studies by working on various real technology projects. The projects are driven by companies and communities in the region and always have a specific need, i.e. the aim is always to achieve a workable outcome that meets the customer's needs at the end of the project. This could be a robot application, a production simulation, a production cell modification or a technology package.
A key feature of engineering education is the continuous development of content and tools, and the evolution of the hardware and software used. This development is aimed at ensuring that the graduating student has an adequate level of substantive knowledge. On the other hand, the learning environment should mimic the industrial environment and culture. Today, industrial design is based directly on customer needs. The customer usually has a problem that needs to be solved in one way or another. The environment in which graduating engineers find themselves is networked and international. The work involves projects that require a wide range of multidisciplinary skills and the ability to work together.
The Robotics Academy was born out of a collaboration between teachers who are passionate about engineering education and technology development. The Academy is backed by a team of teachers who conduct extensive research and work closely with industry. They believe that learning, experimenting and working together is the basis of all knowledge. They wanted to pass on the same feeling and approach to their students. The vision of a new kind of degree-level education in automation technology was born, where learning is based on solving ICT assignments from companies and working in teams.
The Robotics Academy's approach
Teamwork and project management skills, enthusiasm, optimism and the ability to find the right solution for the situation will play an important role in future working life. The Robotics Academy's approach aims to ensure that graduating students are as ready as possible to jump straight into the world of work and take responsibility for various project tasks. Inquiry-based learning and problem-based studying ensure that students have sufficient depth and relevance of knowledge and that they are confident in their own knowledge-seeking and problem-solving skills and are able to use these skills in different situations.
The students of the Robotics Academy work in the RoboAI laboratory, designing, implementing and documenting various technology projects of companies. Practical experiments and finding different solutions play a major role. The projects are usually done in teams of two to five students. The size of the project team depends on the scope of the project and the level of competence of the students involved. Project topics can range from literature reviews to building practical applications. Often, companies hope that students will bring them new insights and clear, concrete experiments and tests on how something should be done. The comments from companies show how most projects respond to questions or challenges posed by the company, and also provide the company with a lot of information that they hadn’t known to ask for.