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Designing PBL-based Introductory UAV Course for all STEM Majors



Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Project Based Learning (PBL), STEM

Presented by:

Abhishek Verma, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Abhimanyu Ghosh, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Key Statement:

Experience report of offering an introductory course on UAVs, with a substantial PBL component, to students from multiple engineering and non-engineering STEM majors.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a new technology with multi-disciplinary applications [1] reflected in curricula that include multiple engineering majors [2,3]. But despite being widely used in surveys of lakes, forests, and watersheds, only 37 % natural science educators have incorporated UAVs into their curriculum [4]. Based on experiences at the University of XXX, this presentation will focus on how to design a course on UAVs and similar technologies with multi-disciplinary applications that is accessible to all STEM disciplines, including the natural sciences, based on the pedagogy of project-based learning (PBL) and assess its success from student feedback.

Learning Outcomes:

Critique a technology-focused curriculum, such as one centered on UAVs, for accessibility to all STEM majors 

Apply PBL pedagogy to make technology-focused curricula more disciplinarily accessible  

Assess success of a multi-disciplinary approach through regular and strategic use of student feedback

Hear it from the author:

Designing PBL-based Introductory UAV Course for all STEM MajorsAbhishek Verma, University of Wisconsin-Stout
00:00 / 01:24


Hi, I am Abishek Verma, an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin Stout, a polytechnic university
that focuses on collaborative and applied learning that is career-focused. This work presents an
introductory course on unmanned aerial vehicles, which is open to all STEM majors. The course uses
project-based learning pedagogy to make it accessible to all disciplines in the STEM. This work presents
the design of project-based learning and how it is applied in two classes, one class offered in Spring 2022
and one offered in Fall 2022. The class had students from mechanical engineering, engineering technology, computer and electrical engineering, and environmental science. The students’ anonymous
feedback was collected through surveys. Based on the student survey feedback data, this work presents
difficulties in groupwork, key findings, and recommendations for future work to improve the student
learning in such a cross-disciplinary environment.


Hong, J. H., Shin, H. S., & Tsourdos, A. (2019). A design of a short course with COTS UAV system for higher education students. IFAC-PapersOnLine, 52(12), 466–471.

Jacques, S., Bissey, S., & Martin, A. (2016). Multidisciplinary project-based learning within a collaborative framework: A case study on 

urban drone conception. International Journal of Emerging  Technologies in Learning (Online), 11(12), 36.

King, L. G., McKim, A. J., Raven, M. R., & Pauley, C. M. (2019). New and emerging technologies: Teacher needs, adoption, methods, and student engagement. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(3), 277290.

Mohsan, S. A. H., Khan, M. A., Noor, F., Ullah, I., & Alsharif, M. H. (2022). Towards the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs): A comprehensive review. Drones, 6(6), 147.

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