Control Engineering

Currently, we are developing a control engineering concept inventory, the CECI. A concept inventory is a standardised multiple choice test for assesing the students’ understanding of fundamental concepts. The CECI will focus on the concepts taught in an introductory course in control engineering. The results of the CECI can be used to assess the effectiveness of teaching and, therefore, serve as a starting point for improving control engineering education in a systematic way based on empirical evidence.

First of all, the important concepts have to be determined. This is done by interviewing control engineering instructors, converting the interviews into measurable statements of conceptual understanding, and validating these statements on a larger scale by an online survey.

These statements will then be combined with suitable example systems to draft initial versions of items. We then plan to conduct semi-structured think-aloud-interviews with these open-ended items to see how students understand the items. These interviews will also yield distractors and correct responses in student language. The process from the statements to a set of multiple-choice-items is iterative. The items will be administered in class to further validate them by inspecting e.g. their difficulty or discrimination indices.

For an in-depth description of the development process and the background of the CECI, see Kieckhäfer, F., Direnga, J., Timmermann, D., & Kautz, C. (2017).

Publications on control engineering education