The goal of the CollaborATE project is to develop an Associate's Degree in Mechatronics incorporating pathways from local high schools into the degree offering at the College of Lake County, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Anne Arundel Community College. The project will design and develop low-cost laboratory trainers and offer professional development opportunities for high school faculty to adopt components of the curriculum at their respective high schools. The curriculum will be aligned to specific skills needed in the industry and shared and disseminated to high schools and colleges across the nation.
The new Associate's degree is laddered from a one-year Mechatronics certificate that was created from a Department of Labor TAACCCT (Round I) grant project that included the partnering entities. The curriculum will be based on constructivist learning theory incorporating inductive, project based instruction. It will be modularized for flexible delivery and focused on system level troubleshooting. In addition, low-cost, hands-on, easily replicable and buildable mechatronics trainers will provide the local high schools with an affordable tool to teach the courses. During the faculty professional development aspect of the project, CollaborATE will focus on the integration of the low-cost trainers with systems-level, inductive teaching methodology. To prepare students for high-skilled, high-wage, entry level positions in the mechatronics industry, the Florida Advanced Technological Center will provide expertise to align the degree content with national and international certifications such as those from Siemens Level 2, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.