Published on 05 Nov 2017. Written by Vasanth Vidyakar
With a lot of innovations happening in the robotics technology, students are excited to know how robots work and want to develop a better understanding on them. But it is extremely difficult to learn robotics only through text-books without much practical activities. Also building robotics in a hands-on manner is a great way of learning a lot of mechanical, electronics and electrical engineering concepts.
Robotics club is an apt solution for this. Robotics club offers a platform where students will not only learn robotics by building projects but also have fun at the same time. So naturally a large number of schools and colleges are setting up Robotics clubs.
However, most schools and colleges are still doing mistakes in setting up Robotics Clubs.
Today it is easy for anyone with money to setup a Robotics club but it is not easy to run it efficiently. We have interacted with a large number of colleges, faculty and students and we see the mistakes they make in setting up the club which will make it a failure. So we thought to share them here and help you run your club successfully by avoiding these mistakes.
Robotics club should be a place where the students will gain self-confidence, learn real world skills, make friends, involve in team work, relieve stress and learn management skills. If the club is doesn’t offer any of these, then the outcome of the initiative will not be very encouraging although the institute spends a lot of money in setting up the robotics club.
Here are the 5 mistakes that should be avoided while setting up the robotics club in a college,
1. Avoid making it compulsory for all:
If the robotics club is made as a compulsory activity for all, then the students will not show much interest towards it and consider it as a just another subject. By doing so, it will not drive or motivate the students to go for the extra mile and develop new sets of skills. Also a lot of non-interested students will drive away the real good ones and result in a very mediocre output.
The robotics club should be a platform that will spread a new kind of culture within the college environment. It should be a place where really interested students come together to develop skills and learn the art of engineering in an innovative way. This is only possible if the club is offered for students who want to be a part of an innovative initiative and form a closed community that does a lot of good work.
2. Avoid having faculties as the head:
Having faculties in the robotics club is good but not as the head. They can act as mentors who can guide the students if they require any assistance. It is good to leave the club to the students and let them run it on their own by selecting their own team of leaders who they trust. This way they will take ownership and pride in the success of the club.
For this, robotics clubs should be a student run initiative which will not only help students to develop technical skills but also help them to improve their management skills. Also students will feel more comfortable in joining the club if it is a student-led initiative. Such kind of robotics clubs will serve to be a place where students will come together to take new initiatives and learn from each other.
3. Avoid spending more on infrastructure and less on guidance:
It is a very common mistake that most of them make while establishing the robotics club. Where more resources are spent for the infrastructure and less resources on the actual materials/ guidance that is needed for the students to get started.
Although infrastructure is needed for the club, just spending lots of money and buying all kinds of fancy robots is not suggested. What you need to focus on is on the resources, material and support needed to keep students interested. The resources should be spent more on the materials that will help students to learn new technologies and the infrastructure of the robotics club should be developed as the community builds.
The problem also comes because of the vendors who help colleges. In order to make more profits, the vendors often suggest to build a club with a lot of robots and items, but that is not at all the right way to proceed.
So we strongly suggest to spend less on infrastructure and more on providing the students with the right atmosphere and guidance. Partner with someone who can provide the right content and who can engage the students instead of the one who brings fancy robots and disappears after taking your cheque.
4. Avoid scheduling the club timings as of laboratories:
The other challenge that should be tackled is the scheduling of club activities. As the students will be having their theory classes, exams, labs etc., proper care should be taken while scheduling.
Having a fixed schedule like other laboratories is not a very good idea, as it will make the robotics club monotonous for students and less interesting. The schedule of the club should neither be very short where students will forget nor discontinuous where students will lose interest.
We suggest to prepare a calendar of activities including a series of deadlines and milestones that happen throughout the semester and keep the students engaged through out. For example – you can have phase 1 of learning, demo of what they learnt in phase 1, phase 2 of innovating on top of phase 1 learning, and final competitions at end of phase 2. Have clear goals and give prizes to best performers. This will further help the students in their quest for technological innovation.
5. Objective should not be just to ‘establish’ robotics club:
Establishing is just the first step. Not the end.
The robotics club should be established with an objective that will be long term. The club should not be started as just another initiative that is taken within the campus, as the longevity of the club is very important.
The objective of the robotics club should be something that will be benefiting the students for the years to come. The club should help in building a vibrant student community and spread innovation across the campus that will impact all the students as a whole.
Starting something very innovative and making it work is extremely difficult, but once the right objective is established it makes easier to take right decisions.
Skyfi Innovation Clubs are an initiative of Skyfi Labs which will help you overcome these challenges and build a strong innovative robotics club in your college
With zero upfront cost and infrastructure charges, it will be very easy for colleges to setup Skyfi Innovation Club and help students build innovative robotics projects. Experienced Skyfi team will identify the student leaders and train them on various skills from marketing to operations and help them promote the club among their fellow student mates.
We will help the student to build their base robotics project through our robotics online courses or workshops (materials/ resources included). We will also be hosting multiple national level competitions each semester in which the students can compete with their peers across the country and showcase skills at a national level in front of industrial experts
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