A few weeks after we launched the Experience Controls textbook app, we received an email from a student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Curtis Collins, taking his Control Systems course, was looking for some extra resources to help him get the full grasp of control concepts. He came across the mobile textbook, liked it, and asked for more materials. We wanted to hear about his Experience Controls experience and decided to talk to him.
It’s Never too Late to Start with Controls
After 11 years in retail banking, Curtis returned to school to study engineering. Initially, he found his engineering classes were very theory-heavy. But the internships with a company designing and creating new builds in public infrastructure and roadways excited him for the hands-on aspects of engineering. He wished his courses illuminated the connection between theory and practice better.
Why Experience Controls?
The Controls course Curtis was taking in Fall 2019 made sense in class, but he wanted to understand better how the math-heavy material was applied in the real world. He searched online for some help and found the Experience Controls textbook app.
During long commutes, Curtis listened to the podcasts, and ahead of the class, he’d review the subject matter and go through the in-app tutorials and questions. The examples and simulations in the app made the math ‘come alive’ so he could see and understand what the real-world effects were.
He found the app was an easy and quick way to cover what might be spread across 15 pages of a book, too. And in the broader sense, the Experience Controls podcasts and course materials normalized engineering talk and language around control systems, answering the why and how, and making it real.
This semester, Curtis is working on designing and building an autonomous yard edger. He’s looking forward to graduation!
And what’s new for the Experience Controls team? We just added a new Remote Hardware Experience module so students that helps students understand how different control design approaches impact the response of the actual system, and the full chapter module on LQR Control is coming soon!