Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners

Robotics Academy Certified Training for VEX V5 and VEX EXP (Online)

To follow along with this course, you will need access to VEX V5 or VEX EXP hardware and the VEXCode Programming software (available for free from VEX Robotics). In this web-based teacher training, you will learn to teach programming and STEM using robotics. Tuition includes online access to CS2N and Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy Training Materials.

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Programming the VEX V5 and VEX EXP systems are very similar, but there are some differences between them. Visit this page on the VEX website to learn more about the differences. 

This training course offers a range of benefits for teachers and coaches who want to teach robotics and STEM concepts using VEX V5 and EXP robots and the VEXcode C++ programming software. The course is particularly well-suited for teachers and coaches who are new to programming and wish to learn the fundamentals of robot programming as well as the pedagogy associated with CS-STEM concepts. However, experienced teachers with programming and robotics backgrounds will also benefit from the course, especially with its focus on the VEX hardware, hands-on practice in troubleshooting student errors, and integration of STEM concepts.

Educators will learn how to leverage our research-based curricula including Coding and Computational Thinking with VEX V5 in their own classrooms. Teachers and coaches may also complete the included certification exam, and in doing so, become an official Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy Certified Educator, authorizing them to offer similar rigorous and evidence-based certifications to their students. 

Supported Competitions and Programs

Teachers and coaches who support students in robotics competitions, such as the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC), VEX Factory Automation Competition, and Technology Student Association's (TSA) robotics competitions will find the course invaluable for gaining knowledge, techniques, and community. The course offers a practical approach to learning, with a focus on hands-on activities and problem-solving exercises that will help educators better understand the concepts and develop effective teaching strategies. Teachers using Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum are welcome to join and will benefit from a deeper understanding of the programming, computational thinking, pedagogical concepts, robot hardware, and troubleshooting techniques we focus on. The Project Lead the Way teachers we have worked with have found our training to be a highly valuable complement to the PTLW training.

Alignment with Standards

Our courses are aligned to:

  • Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Standards
  • National Research Council Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • Common Core Mathematics Standards (CCSS)
  • College Board Computer Science Principles (CSP) Framework
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCELA)
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards
  • International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) Standards

By taking this course, teachers can gain a range of benefits, including customizable learning, networking opportunities, and the chance to earn professional development credits and a Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy Certification. Most importantly, the course empowers teachers to effectively teach robotics and CS-STEM concepts, helping their students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills that are essential for success in the 21st-century workforce.

The course allowed for my success on multiple levels. It was just what I needed to be able to move my Robotics II class to the next level.


Session 1: Set up and System overview

Course Logistics
- Live Class Logistics
- CS2N Group and Resources
Robot System Overview
- VEX V5 System Overview
- VEX EXP System Overview
- Updating System Firmware
- VEXcode C++ Overview
Robot Brain Programming 
- Print Text to Robot Brain Screen
- Print Shapes to the Robot Brain Screen

Session 2: Autonomous Movement

Program Planning
- Role of Programmer vs. Machine
- Behavior-Based Programming
- Pseudocoding
Better (Encoder Based) Robot Movement
- Moving Forward and Backward
- Turning Left and Right
- Arm Control
- Claw Control
STAR Troubleshooting
- Icebergs
- Sample Problems
Computational Thinking
- Sequential Programming
- Abstraction & Decomposition

Session 3: Better Autonomous Movement

- Basic Functions
- Functions with Parameters

- Storing and retrieving data
- Performing Calculations
Sensor Based Movement
- Sense-Plan-Act
- Loops
- Move until Touch (Bumper Switch)
- Lower Arm until Bumper Press (Bumper Switch)
Computational Thinking
- Data and Information

Session 4: Remote Control and Competition Programming

Remote Control with Built-in Drive Program
Programmed Remote Control 
- Robot Movement
- Arm and Claw Control
- If-else
Operator Assist
- Logical Operators
VEX Robotics Competitions (V5 Only)
- Competition Template
- Competition Testing

Session 5: Additional Sensor Based Movement

Move until Near (Distance Sensor)
Turn to Heading (Inertial Sensor)
Line Tracking (Line Tracking Kit)
- Calculating Thresholds
Move to Color (Optical Sensor)
- Calculating Thresholds
Vision Sensor
- Configuration
- Programming
Computational Thinking
- Algorithms

The following is required in order to take this course:
VEX V5 Robot Kit – Sold Separately OR VEX EXP Robot Kit - Sold Separately
*Classroom and Competition Kits may be used. 
VEXcode Coding Environment

The following is recommended in order to take this course:
VEX Line Tracking Kit – Sold Separately
VEX Distance Sensor - Included with EXP, Sold Separately with V5
VEX Optical Sensor - Included with EXP, Sold Separately with V5
VEX Inertial Sensor - Optional with EXP, Sold Separately with V5
VEX Smart Cable Starter Pack (276-6364) - Sold Separately
3-Wire Extension Cables Cable 12" (4-pack) (276-1426) – Sold Separately

Tuition Cost - $599

Use the links to the top/right to register or checkout instantly. 

Upon Completion

– ACT 48 credits / 36 hours per class (for Pennsylvania teachers only)
– Certificate of Completion of course ‘graduates’ – may be used to apply for Continuing Education hours


We will only use personal information (such as name, mailing address or e-mail address) contained in your registration or correspondence to respond to your questions or provide Robotics Academy updates. If you enter a chat area or post messages, remember that other users may have access to your email address and user name. The Robotics Academy will not share any personal information provided by you with any unauthorized person or company except where the disclosure is required by law or is necessary to comply with legal process.

Certificate of Completion Requirements

To earn the Certification, class attendees must complete all homework assignments to the satisfaction of the instructor and pass the certification exam.

Class Eligibility

Classes at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy are available to individuals who are at least 18 years of age. The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy reserves the right to restrict, suspend or terminate any student for violation of these policies. In consideration of your involvement with the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy you agree to provide true, accurate and current information about yourself when you register. If you provide any information that is inaccurate or if the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy has reasonable grounds to suspect the information is inaccurate, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy has the right to terminate your account.


Purchasing a seat to online classes gives access to one participant only. Resources distributed as part of the class are for use of the participant only. Purchase Orders are also acceptable. Please contact the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy at for information about registering for the course, payment for the course, or if the course will be held.  Please email if you have questions about the content of the course.

Internet Access / Bandwidth Fees

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy is not responsible for any internet access or bandwidth fees you incur while taking this class.

International Export Controls

International enrollment is subject to applicable United States export controls and laws.


The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy will offer partial refunds for tuition expenses only if class registrants contact us prior to the beginning of the first class.

Copyrighted Class Material

All course documents are owned by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. These materials may not be reprinted in any form except those specified for instructional purposes. The course documents and presentations may be displayed and printed for personal, non-commercial use only. Only students registered for this course may access this material. The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy makes every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date content. However, we have no liability for the accuracy, content, or accessibility of the hyperlinks included with class material.

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy will host materials including live session recordings and presentations for up to one year from the completion of the course. Participants are expected to download these materials for their long-term reference. 

Use of Student Material

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy reserves the right to use coursework done by students for the purpose of advancing the educational mission of the Academy. When this occurs, students will be given the option to have their name credited to the material. This includes, but is not limited to, text, graphics, multimedia and other material created as part of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy online course assignments.


You agree to indemnify and hold the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy harmless from any and all losses, actions, controversies, suits, demands, claims, liabilities or any causes of action whatsoever. You expressly agree that the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy is not responsible or liable for any infringement of another’s rights, including intellectual property rights.

Note: Policies are subjected to occasional revisions.