Class Review

Lectures

The lectures presented in this class were enjoyable and fun to go to, especially the early ones. However, as class went on, to me, things traveled into harder and harder material, that involved a lot of higher level math. The problem there for me was a lot of the math was skimmed over, so the focus was put on the wrong spots. I know I took Calc 3 and Statistics, and I may be an abnormality here, but I took my last math class outside of differential equations about 2 years ago at tech. So the stuff isn’t entirely fresh in my mind. (This doesn’t mean that I am not familiar with the subjects however, it just means that I need a reminder every once and a while).

So, two ways I could address this is:
1) Studying on my own ahead of time, if I knew what portion I needed a refresher on.

2) Having that basic level re-introduced in class.

Now, normally, there wouldn’t be much issue with this, and I am perfectly capable of taking notes and figuring it out outside of class, but the in-class breaks detracted from this, because usually it involved either asking Robert, whom isn’t the best of help when it comes to explaining things, or Sterling, whom is just as lost as me sometimes, as he is another one of those people who have taken the math years ago.

So the in class breaks? For the first few weeks, I felt it was very productive, but that also may be because I was able to help those around me understand the concepts.

I would also suggest maybe a refresher on matrix math, or at least jacovians, as that can get complicated, and much of the class is based around it, as it favors matrix approaches to problems instead of what I am going to call algorithmic, or equation based solutions.

Polls

Polls are terrible.

Firstly, I believe this because to be due to the inconsistency of the posting time.  I know Piazza was sending me emails, but I have no clue where it was sending them , as I could never find them, and I have no clue where to change my email in that system. So that is kinda an issue on Piazza’s side.

Secondly, the polls were posted inconsistently, so I couldn’t develop much of a pattern of going onto piazza to answer them.  So I would have enjoyed a bit of regularity as to when to get on to answer them. Also, on that note, Piazza didn’t really put the polls into one place, And I can think of at least one occasion where I got on to attempt to answer a poll, and didn’t because I thought it wasn’t posted, but it turned out it was buried under a pile of other peoples questions.

As far as poll content, the polls were not really posted predictably enough to get a group of people together on a regular basis to do them.  And the content was mostly only useful as far as I personally felt as to attempt to figure out what would be on the next quiz. Though this even changed throughout the semester, as this became a bit less reliable. So over all, I am meh on the subject of polls, but in my opinion, the best two things that could be done to improve them would be:

1)      Have them set up to be sent out on a regular timer, like for example an hour after class is finished. This way, groups can be formed for this. Also this way, it turns them into regular focus questions. My biggest issue is the regularity as it is anyways. Currently, I just make an attempt to answer them a few hours before class just to make sure I do it.

2)      Have them be a different color on Piazza or something to separate them from the regular comments. That way they are identifiable.

Assignments

As far as the assignments go, I feel they where enjoyable, with my biggest issue with them being a lack of practical implementation experience for the robot ones, (The Rovio one didn’t count in my mind. The Rovio is a whole another issue, and it would be a great project on another platform.)

The best project was the first one. This one had the implementation and the practical of using our code on a real robot. The worst project was most likely the Rovio one.

I would also say the last project was funky, and didn’t quite follow the pattern set forth by the other projects. Mostly, because I wish I had a bit more guidance on what to pick as far as stuff. I feel like getting pointed to a website and told pick two isn’t the best way to go about it. At least not with that timeframe given for that project. It felt rushed to me.

And the Kinematics one was special. Besides sitting in a hotel puking as I was attempting to do it, It comes back to the sudden switch into hard math.

Quizzes

The quizzes shifted for me as the semester went on. The beginning I thought they were great, as they followed the polls online, and to me where at a good level of difficulty. Then they shifted and tangent a bit, and became a hair harder to follow and guess what we should study for them.

Portfolio

I think the portfolio is a great concept, as I was attempting to start this on my own already.  I’m sorry I didn’t put as much time as I should have when I was working on it, but It became a bit of an afterthought. What I think would be cool, and more effective then the portfolio and poll system as it stands is merge the polls and the portfolio assignments, having the class talk about the class weekly. This way, it becomes a genuine reflection on the class, forces us to focus on it, and It most importantly gives you feedback as to what we are thinking, way more so then a poll question that can be guessed. You can also then better judge our individual interests and what we focus on during the class. Once again, another positive.

So yes, I think more portfolio would be a good thing. One other class I was in took this concept soo far as to have a tumbler account set up for the class, and had us post something about the papers for the class, could be anything, before the class started. This gave him both insight into our thoughts, and forced us to be prepared for class.

So yes to portfolios, and yes to more.

Final Comments

Andrew is awesome. And I loved the AR Drone. Lets do more with it in the future.  Also, I loved the class, it was one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve been in. I just wish that it stayed with robots for the last project.  What I really wanted to do for the last project was implement vision mapping for the AR Drone. Problem was I didn’t find anything on my quickish search that would allow me to do that with SLAM. Mostly, I suppose I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I still think that would have been an awesome last assignment. Even if we implemented (or attempted) to implement our own slam algorithm. Actually, that would have been 100 times better than running two others in my book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *