Curriculum change for graduate-level control engineering education at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana

Rafael E. Vásquez, Fabio Castrillón, Santiago Rúa, Norha L. Posada, Carlos A. Zuluaga

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    This paper addresses the graduate-level control engineering curriculum change performed at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), Medellin, Colombia. New proposed methodologies include active learning activities using a new multipurpose experimental test bed that was developed with industrial components. The renovated graduate-level control engineering related courses include: Continuous Processes, Discrete Processes, Fuzzy Logic, Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms, Linear Control, Nonlinear Control, and Optimal Estimation. The new experimental station was developed for teaching, research, and industrial training activities for the School of Engineering at the UPB. In this work, we report the use of the station in an Optimal Estimation course to replace a traditional homework/exams evaluation approach with an applied work that required independent study, the implementation of different observers in a real lab-scale industrial plant, and a paper-style written report. Increasing independent study activities resulted in academic discussions that are valuable for the learning process of the student. The use of the experimental station and the real comparison of estimation algorithms, implemented by using industrial controllers and high-level programming environments, provided the student skills that cannot be acquired by using only simulations in which real implementation restrictions/challenges do not appear. This work represents one of the first approaches for the implementation of the new curriculum model at the UPB for graduate education. The methodology used in the Optimal Estimation class promoted independent learning, critical thinking and writing skills through significant learning activities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-26
    Number of pages6
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - 2019
    Event12th IFAC Symposium on Advances in Control Education, ACE 2019 - Philadelphia, United States
    Duration: 7 Jul 20199 Jul 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019, IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) Hosting by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    • active learning
    • control education
    • Control engineering
    • curriculum change


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