Friday, February 8, 2013

Six Ways We've Enhanced QNETs for Teaching Introductory Controls

I would like to let you know about the latest revision of the QNET Resources — the complete set of documentation, courseware and software VIs that comes with each QNET trainer. To be released this spring, this newest version of the QNET Resources assembles six new features that will mark a significant shift forward for our existing and future QNET customers.

QNET controls experiments can be used for multiple engineering courses, including Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Biomedical and Aerospace. 

The New QNET Resources Delivers an Enhanced User Experience

Our focus for the new revision of the QNET Resources was to improve the usability and efficacy of the software, documentation and courseware for teaching undergraduate controls. The changes we've made include not only revisions to the existing courseware and documentation, but new material as well. Some of the improvements include:
  1. A collection of instructional videos provided for each QNET trainer
    • They save professors’ teaching time while helping students quickly grasp the capabilities of each QNET trainer. The videos cover initial setup, curriculum structure, real-life applications and more.
  2. Updated, ABET-aligned courseware
    • This ensures that the courseware is comprehensive and includes detailed assessment guidelines.
  3. Individual setup material, Quick Start Guides and VIs for each trainer
    • Faster, easier setup of each QNET experiment.
  4. Cleaner-designed VIs
    • This makes them easier to understand and see how the theoretical block diagrams relates to the actual implementation.
  5. Additional lecture materials, including Powerpoint slides
    • They work to help professors introduce the labs in their lectures.
  6. Additional documentation updates and revisions
    • They improve the look and feel of the courseware.
 The new QNET Resources will be released this spring and will offer added value to professors and students alike.  

Quanser QNET Trainers: Helping Professors Teach Introductory Controls For A Decade
The Quanser/National Instruments Engineering Trainers, or QNETs, were introduced almost 10 years ago as a series of hardware platforms for teaching a variety of undergraduate controls concepts. The boards were designed to snap into the ELVIS I data acquisition (DAQ) board developed by National Instruments (NI).

You can choose from six different Quanser QNET trainers for the NI ELVIS II workstation.
Over the years, we’ve made several updates to the platform.  We added new and innovative trainers, improved performance, and made the virtual instruments (VIs) and documentation more user-friendly. Today, a total of six diverse trainers for the NI ELVIS II DAQ are found in undergraduate engineering labs around the world.  They cover the basics of servo, process, and task-based control, as well as introducing students to flight control, bio-instrumentation and the sensors used in mechatronic systems. Using them gives undergraduate students experience working on challenging and industrially-relevant problems that can be applied to current and future technology. They help educators teach effectively even as their relatively small footprint optimizes lab space.

To learn more about our QNET offerings, click here.  And stay tuned to this blog for upcoming posts about the six individual QNET trainers.

 - Peter Martin

Peter Martin is a Curriculum Developer at Quanser

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