This paper uses the latest Body of Knowledge specification (BOK2) from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as inspiration for a substantially project-based civil engineering curriculum. It demonstrates that a series of carefully chosen projects, combined with modules of learning materials, will meet the BOK2 guidelines. This approach also allows the productive use of online learning materials for new technical topics.
Real Industry Problems to Engage PBL Students
Alec Simcock, Juan Shi and Richard Thorn;
PBL is a mode of program delivery which requires
substantial effort and commitment to ensure students develop communication and
professional skills along with their technical competencies. PBL curriculum
design is very important as it ensures the characteristics of PBL are fully
utilised to achieve the desired learning outcomes and satisfy the graduate
attributes of both Victoria University (VU) and Engineers Australia (EA).
Externally sourced problems have been used in the second semester of the second
year program in the
in Engineering Curricula: Striking a Balance between Traditional, PBL and WIL
Approaches to Learning and Teaching
Natalie Gamble, Carol-joy Patrick, Rodney Stewart and Charles Lemckert; Griffith University
Traditional classroom-based teaching, problem-based learning (PBL) and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) are three commonly utilised approaches to Learning & Teaching (L&T) in universities. All these approaches have their place in engineering education, but it is important to recognise the advantages and disadvantages associated with each. As contemporary learning approaches grow in popularity in engineering curricula, it is critical for academic staff to ensure they strike a balance between providing students with the theoretical/conceptual knowledge they require for problem-solving, and the hands-on experience they need to ensure they are suitably educated and employable when they graduate. This paper provides an overview of Griffith University’s revised Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) program, and demonstrates how academic staff at Griffith University have been striving to strike a balance between the provision of fundamental engineering knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge through a tiered approach to L&T. Students are progressively introduced to PBL, beginning in first year with case studies and small group tasks, and culminating in the final year with a capstone PBL subject as well as an independent WIL exercise that integrates their learning from preceding years.
Hybrid Just-in-Time / Project-Based Learning Approach to Engineering Education
Holger Maier; The
This paper introduces a hybrid
Just-in-Time-Teaching (JiTT)/ Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach to ensure
students are immersed in an active learning environment that enables them to
achieve higher-order learning outcomes, while having a support structure that
provides fundamental information in an engaging and efficient manner. The
approach is illustrated for the level 2 course Water Engineering IIS2 in the
Development of a Problem-Based Learning and Teaching Strategy in an
Aviation-Related Project at the Australian Defence Force Academy
Raymond Lewis and Michael Harrap; UNSW@ADFA
Compared to the seven other Australian
Universities that offer an Aviation degree, the aviation-related project is a
major component of the Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) degree program
curriculum at the
of Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring Initiatives to Increase Student Engagement
and Reduce Attrition
Elizabeth Godfrey; The
Student engagement and the need to reduce attrition are drivers for many first year support initiatives. It is recognised on exploring literature and even websites that many of these initiatives are short lived – often dependent on the enthusiasm, passion of one individual and affected by shifting priorities in funding distribution. Adding to the body of knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, this paper reports on experiences with a student led peer-mentoring scheme and a staff led peer tutoring assistance centre. In the belief that these and other similar schemes are needed to enable talented students to reach their potential, and to maximise completion to graduation rates, recommendations to ensure their sustainability are offered.
Role of CQUniversity’s Student Mentoring and Leadership Program in the
Engineering Program During and Beyond University
Gemma Mann and Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity
Mentoring is an integral part of producing “advanced engineering capability”. Being a mentor during the engineering undergraduate course is a good way to learn about effective mentoring and to develop professional and transferable skills to take into engineering practice. The CQUniversity student mentor program provides a structured setting to obtain guidance as a mentor and to provide access to relevant professional development. The cycle of mentee to mentor to mentor to mentee gives practice in the process to create a successful and efficient balance between learner and leader. Further, the role that mentors can play in developing a mentee’s professional identity as an engineer is vital and currently being investigated.
and Supporting Students in the New Common First Year Engineering Program at
Syed Mahfuzul Aziz; The
UniSA has introduced a common first year program for all of its undergraduate engineering degrees from 2008. The common first year program aims to provide students with a foundation in multidisciplinary areas of engineering. To a large extent it is a strategic response to increasing competition for local and international students. A key element of the common first year program is to engage students in professional practice right from the beginning. The new program provides opportunity for students demonstrating high performance in the first year to pursue an accelerated three-year pathway to degree completion. This will reduce cost to students, shorten the time to market graduates and potentially assist in overcoming the shortage of engineers. A team-based approach has been adopted across UniSA’s Division of IT, Engineering and the Environment for developing teaching and learning and student support strategies in the common first year. This paper presents some of these strategies and the initial experience gained, as there appears to be a great deal of interest about the first year engineering programs in Australian Universities.
Students in their Education: Making a Strong First Impression with
Billy O'Steen, Conan Fee and Richard Jordan;
In an effort to more fully engage first year
engineering students at the
Workplace Learning Opportunities for Secondary and Tertiary Students in the
Medical Technology Industry
Fiona Shipman and Anne Trimmer; Medical Technology Association of
Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) is the national peak industry body representing companies in the medical technology industry. MTAA recognises the need to expose students to the many career opportunities available to them through workplace learning programs. To support students identify meaningful work placements, the MTAA established a Medical Technology Industry Workplace Learning Directory.
Professional Practice Skills Through Reflection on Experience
The Bachelor of Engineering program at
The combined program is designed around the triple themes of intellectual, social and professional development. The result is that students are able to articulate their learning, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses in these areas at any stage in their program of study.
Use of Self Tracking Skill Matrix to Encourage Student Centred Learning
Mushtak Al-Atabi; Taylor’s University College
This paper describes the use of skill matrix to assist the students in tracking and documenting how did they meet the course objectives of first year Mechanical Engineering module “Engineering Design and Professional Skills”. The use of this matrix provided both the instructor and the students with an early detection method to detect any problem in achieving any of the course outcomes allowing a quick remedy. Furthermore, it provided the students with an opportunity to reflect on each course outcome and how does it develop in relation to other course outcomes. This allowed better appreciation of these course outcomes by the students and encouraged them to assume ownership of their learning process. This matrix can easily be generalised and exported to other modules and it can prove to be a valuable tool in demonstrating the achievement of course and programme outcomes.
of a New Foundation Unit in Engineering
Graham Town and Daniel McGill;
We present our experiences in the design and delivery of a foundation unit for first-year students in electronic engineering and related specialisations. The aim of the unit was to provide engineering students with foundation skills for their subsequent engineering studies, with an emphasis on communication skills, working in groups, and design. The unit development process commenced as part of a project to introduce engineering academics to problem-based learning, with the development of the foundation unit set as a workshop project. The project had limited success in the latter context, however the resulting foundation unit proved very popular with most students.
An Excel-based student organisational study tool
was introduced to first-year undergraduate engineering and information
technology students at
on Reflection – 10 Years, Engineering, and UQ
Lydia Kavanagh and Liza O'Moore
After ten years of including reflection within
the engineering undergraduate curriculum at the
The Engineering Pedagogy: Engineering The Pedagogy, The Game of Experiential
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard;
Modern constructivist pedagogical research emphasizes developing student-centred educational practices. This requires students to do extra effort and they should be equipped with the motivation to conduct such extra work load. However, the situation is dilemmatic since many students (in particular, undergraduates) tend to do their studies with the minimum effort needed to reach their goals. In this paper we analyse this dilemma from the game theory perspective, where we try to find conditions where students are willing to voluntarily take extra course work. We model the strategic interaction between the student and the teacher by a 2x2 non cooperative game. We suggest a mechanism for transferring the game equilibrium into the desired one, i.e. experiential learning equilibrium. We also show an experiment for identifying the energy needed to shift the equilibrium towards the desired one. The paper presents one of the very few game theoretical models that were developed in pedagogical research.
Learning in Engineering Mechanics: The Significance of Understanding
Thomas Goldfinch and Timothy McCarthy; University of
Anna Carew; The
Mechanics is a key foundation topic for many engineering disciplines, the study of which usually constitutes a significant proportion of first and second year engineering undergraduate studies. Many engineering students experience substantial difficulties with introductory mechanics, and it is widely noted in the literature that pass rates in mechanics courses tend to be unacceptably low. This paper details the interim findings of, and issues arising from a literature search focusing on how engineering educators understand, describe, identify and deal with the causes of poor performance in introductory mechanics. The most striking conclusion drawn from this literature search is the lack of conclusive research into the more fundamental causes of difficulties for students studying mechanics.
The Engineering Pedagogy: Engineering The Pedagogy, Modelling Kolb’s Learning
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard;
Experiential Learning is a modern radical approach of conducting education. Kolb’s four stages experiential learning model have been well received since it was proposed during mid 1980’s. In this paper, we approach the analysis of Kolb’s Cycle from an engineering point of view, where we develop a mathematical model of the learning curve when Kolb’s experiential learning cycle is use. Furthermore, we analyse the characteristics of the derived model for example, learning stability and learning robustness. We conclude with set of important characteristics of Kolb’s cycle that we could clearly explore after utilizing the control engineering tools. The most important characters are accommodating the uncertainties of the students learning ability. This paper is one of the few trials traced in the pedagogical literature where control engineering methods are applied for studying pedagogical process.
Development at University: Student Perceptions of Professional Engineering
Vinay Domal, Brad Stappenbelt and James Trevelyan; The
This study examined student perceptions regarding professional engineering practice. We surveyed secondary school students attending engineering camps, engineering students in their first and fourth years, graduate engineers and experienced engineers to ascertain their impressions about what constitutes the daily activities of a professional engineer. We asked respondents to rate 39 aspects of engineering practice identified from the research later reported in (Trevelyan 2008). These aspects were rated by the participants according to their perception of the importance and the frequency encountered in engineering practice. We also asked where the participants learned or where they believed they were going to learn how to perform the various tasks associated with these aspects. We grouped the aspects into six functional themes; technical skills, technical knowledge, management, teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills. We found that student perceptions of professional engineering practice changed significantly as they progressed from year ten, through first and onto fourth year engineering at university. Year ten students rated technical knowledge as highly important to engineering practice, with relatively low ratings given to the other five areas. It may be argued that this corresponds reasonably with general public perception of professional engineering activity. First year engineering students realised the importance of communication and management skills in engineering practice. They believed that the university would assist them in developing these skills to the expectations of industry. As students progress through their degrees however, as judged from the perception of final year engineering students, it becomes clear that university fails in training them for industry requirements. This is particularly evident with regard to management skills where we can observe the greatest deviation between industry and student responses of relative importance. The findings indicate that most of these tasks are learned on the job and the university does not contribute significantly in training graduates to perform to the level of industry expectations. It is likely that student perceptions regarding professional engineering practice are reflective of the emphasis that is placed on the various aspects of their technical and non-technical development in the educational curriculum. This raises concerns regarding the alignment of the engineering curriculum to industry requirements. It appears that despite adherence to the accreditation requirements for the engineering degree, graduates are not being produced with the required or desired attributes.
Paul Hector Elliott; AUT University
This paper is about addressing the fundamental issues of ‘responsibility and accountability’ in engineering education with regards to the cultural background and the aspects of teaching and learning of Pasifika students who have chosen the engineering pathway as a tool for economic benefits. Some of the fundamentals to name a few would include assisting teaching staff in tertiary institutions appreciate and understand the cultural backgrounds of the marginalized (Pasifika students), and for institutions to assist teaching staff in developing more culturally democratic learning environments for their students, through engaging culturally inclusive philosophies of teaching and learning.
M2B1 Work Integrated
Research Higher Degree Studies: Experiences, Benefits, Barriers and Coping
Le Chen, Rodney Stewart, Rachelle Willis and Tracy Britton;
Attributed to the changing social, political and economic landscape of the ‘knowledge economy’, Australian universities are under pressure to produce researchers that have a variety of skills which meet the demands of an increasingly diverse job market. As a consequence, the Australian PhD now includes a range of doctoral degrees. This paper reports on the experiences of two PhD students engaged in an informally managed research higher degree program described in this paper as a Work Integrated Research Higher Degree (WIRHD). Their learning process shares the attributes from both the traditional PhD program and professional doctorates. However, because of the blended nature of the learning contexts, what students need to manage within the WIRHD is much more complicated than the established RHD programs. An exploratory case study approach exploring experiences, benefits, barriers and coping strategies was conducted with the view to develop a preliminary integrative framework that attempts to explain the various contexts that influence the learning experience of WIRHD candidates. The paper concludes with some recommended strategies for helping WIRHD candidates to manage the challenges associated with their learning process.
The National Articulation Committee of Engineers Australia was set up in 2001 to assist Engineering Associates and Engineering Technologists with at least five years experience to achieve Stage 1 Competency for the categories of Engineering Technologist and Professional Engineer by means other than through completion of benchmark qualifications. Access to an articulation process since 2001 has assisted some 100 Members of Engineers Australia to articulate to a different category, the majority becoming Professional Engineers. More are in the pipeline. The paper describes the historical development of articulation and details the processes in place.
Engineering students complete work placement reports after being on placement in industry, the aim is to increase work place learning and to increase students understanding about the placement, themselves, career direction and skills obtained. Third and fourth year engineering students perceptions on their report writing experience, academic feedback quality, and the effect of completing work placement reports on their learning and report writing ability, were surveyed. Third year students enjoyed the experience more than fourth year students and perceived greater benefits. Fourth year student opinion was mixed, reflecting greater experience and cynicism. Fourth year students rated feedback from academics higher than the third years, perhaps because their reports were more interesting for the academics. The fourth year students were much more cynical on the benefits of reflecting and reviewing what they had learned, and many considered this not important for being an engineer.
M2B4 Determining the Feasibility of a Medical Technology Industry Internship Scheme
Fiona Shipman and Anne Trimmer; Medical Technology Association of
MTAA is the national peak industry body representing companies in the medical technology industry. MTAA is determining the feasibility of establishing an internship program to support tertiary students enter the workforce. With support from their university, this program aims to provide opportunities for students to complete an agreed project with an MTAA member host company. As a part of this process, a discussion forum was held in July to determine potential delivery models and requirements of host companies, interns, universities and MTAA. This paper will detail the feasibility of preparing for an internship pilot scheme in 2009.
Project Based Learning to Distance Education – Case Studies
Remadevi Dhanasekar, Ian Devenish; CQUniversity
CQUniversity introduced Project based learning (PBL) courses for the undergraduate engineering degree programs with an objective of increasing students’ self-directed learning to enable them to gain deeper understanding of the course content through research, problem solving, investigative activities and design of projects. These PBL courses have been offered in internal delivery mode and are now being made available in distance (FLEX) mode. This paper provides case studies of two of the PBL courses including the mode of offering, content, assessment strategies and guiding steps for students to meet the learning outcomes of the courses in detail.
the Basics with Circuit Simulation: Support for Self-Teaching of Electrical
Students enrolled in the first year electrical engineering subject at Swinburne University of Technology were encouraged to use an electronic circuit simulation software, Multisim 10 from National Instruments, for self-teaching while: (i) confirming any qualitatively predicted circuit behaviour, (ii) validating any quantitative results of problem-based activities and (iii) first predicting the cause, then verifying these predictions, for the behaviour of potentially faulty circuit components. The students’ exposure to this software was facilitated, not only by the mandatory purchase of a copy of the software, but by them being timetabled for all their tutorial sessions into a computer laboratory (rather than a conventional classroom) where under academic supervision they were able to work on desktop computers that had preinstalled copies of the said software. Analysis of two surveys and five post-event focus groups clearly revealed general learner acceptance for using the simulation software for self-teaching in both communal and private settings.
Oral Presentation Skills of Engineering Students with the Virtual-i Presenter
Thomas Cochrane and Michael O’Donoghue;
The growing size of engineering classes is impacting on the ability for students to acquire oral presentation skills. A unique program called the Virtual-i Presenter (ViP) was developed to allow students to create, view, and evaluate oral presentations using a PC and webcam outside of class time. The program is simple to use and recreates how a student would deliver an oral presentation in class. ViP helps students improve their oral skills by permitting them to see and hear themselves, practice repeatedly, and obtain feedback from peers and academics through an inbuilt evaluation system upon submitting their final presentation. Selected parts of presentations can also be viewed and discussed in class to address technical merits and key presentation skills. Student surveys on using ViP showed presentations were practiced an average of 4 times and 63% of students preferred short ViP presentations to live ones.
Educational Development Integrated Through Mechatronics Design
Milan Simic and John Mo; RMIT University
This paper presents a method in educational development of resources and programs based on multidisciplinary approach. The development is built around the process of Mechatronics program introduction in tertiary education within
Tablet PCs for Laboratory Work in a Postgraduate Wireless Technology Subject
Kumbesan Sandrasegaran and Rachod Patachaianand;
In this paper, we present our experiences in a
UTS LTPF and HP funded project to enhance the learning outcomes of postgraduate
students in Engineering Courses at
Student Engagement in Online Environments Using Multimedia Flash Presentations
Holger Maier; The
This paper presents an approach to increasing
student engagement in online environments using multimedia flash
presentations. Such presentations can be used to provide context to
assist with student motivation (e.g. practical applications, news / current
affairs, industry case studies), as well as an active learning environment,
both of which are vital for student engagement, and hence student learning
experiences and outcomes. The approach is illustrated for the level 2
course Environmental Engineering II in the
Student Experience of Problem-Based Learning in Virtual Space to Drive
Engineering Educational Pedagogy
This paper reports outcomes of an investigation into the different ways students’ go about problem-based learning (PBL) in virtual space. Five qualitatively different conceptions of PBL in virtual space were discovered, and each reveals variation in how students attend to learning by PBL in virtual space. Results indicate that PBL in virtual space when appropriately designed with respect to students’ online learning experience can: 1) be responsible for making students aware of deeper ways of experiencing PBL in virtual space, and 2), engender graduate attributes and capabilities of problem solving, ability to transfer basic knowledge to real-life scenarios, ability to adapt to changes and apply knowledge in unusual situations, ability to think critically and creatively, and a commitment to continuous life-long learning and self-improvement.
Engineering Problem Solving for On-campus and External Teams
David Buttsworth, Ray Malpress & Mark Phythian;
We contend that engineering analysis and design will continue to rely on the synthesis of experimental observations and theoretical analyses. For the past three years, we have been providing teams of on-campus and external students the opportunity to work with actual engineering hardware as a focus for engineering analysis and problem solving. Providing external teams of student the opportunity to problem solve with actual engineering hardware represents a number of challenges. By focusing on initial value problems and requiring the teams to specify the necessary parameters that they expect will achieve the desired system performance, we have been able to expose both on-campus and external teams to problem solving with physical systems and actual engineering hardware.
Based Learning Applied to a New Unit of Study on Programmable Logic Design
David Wong, Keith Imrie and Yimin (Steven) Xie;
A problem-based-learning (PBL) approach has been used in the development of a new unit of study, ELEC241 Programmable Logic Design, in the Department of Electronic Engineering of Macquarie University. A major component of this unit is a team-based project to design and build a digital controller to control the traffic lights of a complex traffic intersection. The project supports the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) approach to engineering education that is being advocated by many university teaching-and-learning committees and educational/professional associations world-wide. The conceive, design, implement and operate stages of the project are described. Programmable logic devices (Generic Array Logic or Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) are used for the implementation of the controller. Notes on PBL issues are given.
Years of the Warman Design and Build Competition
Warren Smith; UNSW@ADFA
The Warman Design and Build Competition has been running across Australasian Universities for twenty-one years. Presented in this paper is a brief history of the competition, documenting the objectives, scenarios, key contributors and champion Universities since its beginning in 1988. Assuming the competition has reached the majority of mechanical and related discipline engineering students in that time, it is fair to say that this competition, as a vehicle of the National Committee on Engineering Design, has served to shape Australasian engineering education in an enduring way
Discriminate Between Professional Engineering and Engineering Technology
The need to attract more students into engineering in general and the engineering courses at Victoria University (VU) in particular were some of the primary reasons for our change of teaching paradigm form traditional to Problem Based Learning. At the same time we decided to improve articulation between the TAFE and Higher Education sectors of VU by introducing an Engineering technology degree. This paper outlines some of the background to these changes and then illustrates, by the use of an example, how we are using projects as one of the features which discriminate between our professional engineering and our engineering technology course.
Parental Influence Hinder or Foster Students’ Academic Progress?
The Certificate in Health Studies AK3207 is a
foundation programme offered by Foundation Studies at
Ability: Issues Associated with Engineering and Gender
Anthony Williams, Ken Sutton and Rebecca Allen; The
The link between students’ spatial ability and their success in a range of engineering courses has been recognised in recent years but its full impact is not understood. This paper reports on research into the spatial abilities of novice designers, engineering students being a major component of this group. The paper focuses on the relationship of spatial ability to gender as well as spatial ability and UAI. This paper also provides an overview of the spatial abilities according to discipline.
Secondary and Tertiary Students Through Applied Electronics
Les Dawes, Duncan Campbell, Brenton Dansie, Hilary Beck and Sam Wallace;
The decline in engineering enrolments
internationally, coupled with a high attrition rate and dramatic skills
shortages, has focussed attention on the imperative to stimulate interest among
secondary school students in the study of Engineering. Several programs
have been developed for this purpose already with varying success. This
paper reports on the ATN Engineering in Schools project at Queensland
University of Technology (QUT), which stimulates interest in electronics for
Years 9 and 10 as prerequisites to subject selection for senior secondary
school. This program was established under the auspices of the
Differences in Student Attitudes Toward Engineering and Academic Careers
Zora Vrcelj and Shana Krishnan; The
Past research has attributed many reasons for the under-representation of women in engineering and academic careers which start from childhood and progress all the way to professional levels in adulthood. The focus of this research is on understanding barriers to further education experienced by female students in engineering in order to encourage them into postgraduate study and an academic career. A pilot study, an extensive survey of current students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, and focus group meetings were undertaken to identify the ways female students at present feel supported in pursuing a civil engineering degree and the forms of further support that could be provided. The surveys sought answers on how best to address the obstacles that discourage women from pursuing and completing graduate degrees.
Field Trips for Students of Environments
Graham Moore, Roger Kerr and Roger Hadgraft; The
The Bachelor of Environments is one of the New Generation Degrees within the Melbourne Model at the
the Evolution of Engineering Education Degree Programs Sustainable?
Program changes in engineering education at the
M3C2 The New
Software Engineering Program at the University of Sydney
David Levy, Bob Kummerfeld, Sanjay Chawla, Rafael Calvo and Alan Fekete; The University of Sydney
The new Software Engineering degree program implemented in 2008 at the University of Sydney has been designed as a collaborative effort between the School of Electrical and Information Engineering and the School of IT. The design of the new curriculum is based on the ACS, ACM and IEEE curriculum recommendations and the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), as well as the results of a detailed industry review. Close attention was paid to Computing Curriculum 2001 (CC2001) and to Software Engineering 2004 (SE2004). The curriculum design had to meet the above constraints, a 25% reduction in units of study offered due to falling enrolments, accommodate a flexible first year program, integrate with the programs of both Schools, strongly focus on active and project-based learning and on graduate attributes to ensure the new program incorporates the full set of knowledge and attitudes that students should possess as they graduate from university
and Opportunities for Construction Education in Australia
Willy Sher, Anthony Williams and Catharine Simmons; The
The university education of construction professionals is unique as curricula straddle diverse areas, including technology, design, law, management and finance. Furthermore, the opportunities for would-be Construction Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors (CMQSBS) are extensive. A buoyant construction industry is currently fuelling high student expectations. Currently CMQSBS programs contribute over 1000 graduates annually. This paper reports progress on Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant which, inter alia, showcases innovation and best practice within these disciplines. Preliminary findings from an online survey as well as interviews and focus groups are documented here as well as some observations of how these disciplines might be improved.
Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree Program at the University of
Holger Maier; The
As part of the
Learning and Teaching at CQUniversity using ISL: A Case Study
Nirmal Mandal; CQUniversity
Teaching and learning (L&T) issues relating to multi-campus delivery of resources and communication are discussed in this paper. Issues relating to ISL facility to communicate with other campuses from one campus are quantified. Emphasis is put forward only for teaching of the first and second year engineering students at CQUniversity.
T1A1 A New
Direction for Engineering Education Research: Unique Phenomenographic Results
that Impact Big Picture Understandings
Shanna Daly and Robin Adams;
Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity
As the pace of engineering keeps increasing, new innovations foci in engineering education research are needed. This paper presents one such innovation, away from looking at the skills engineers are to develop to focus on their embodied understanding of practice around aspects of professional practice. It does so through the use of a qualitative research approach known as phenomenography. The results of three a research projects guided by phenomenography are discussed and provide a unique lens for understanding aspects of the world that influence the practice of engineering, namely those of design across disciplines, sustainable design and cross-disciplinary practice. This paper summarizes the results from these three phenomenographic studies, emphasizing the implications these results reveal about the direction engineering education needs to head.
Identity: A Framework for Research in Engineering Education
The development of a student’s professional identity as an engineer is key to understanding education from the student’s perspective, and framing future engineering education research. This paper investigates the idea of a professional engineering identity and puts forward the idea that a student’s engineering education should be focused on them developing an identity as a professional engineer. This identity not only includes the knowledge and skills usually developed in engineering programs, but attitudes and self beliefs toward being able to practice as an engineer. Understanding what influences the development of this identity, both positively and negatively, point to future research in engineering education.
Much has been written in the last ten years about “engineering culture” and the need to change it, particularly when we are discussing the non-technical graduate attributes or the representation of non-white, non-male individuals in the profession. But in order to change culture we need to understand it and this requires “not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning”. This is territory that few engineers care to venture into, but Liz’s work shows us how we might begin. She has discussed the difficulties of ethnographic work in engineering settings and provided us with a model of engineering culture that should stimulate fruitful debate about that elusive entity “engineering culture”.
Synergies Between Learning and Teaching in Engineering: A Case Study Approach
Wageeh Boles; Queensland University of Technology
Roger Hadgraft; The University of Melbourne
Understanding how we take in, process and present information as part of the learning process, provides clues on how specific teaching methods can be utilised to maximize learning. The literature suggests that a mismatch between learning styles or preferences and teaching styles and approaches may present a barrier to learning and contribute to attrition. This paper presents some early findings of an ALTC Associate Fellowship program, involving three universities, which uses a case study approach to explore the interactions between students’ learning styles on the one hand, and lecturers’ teaching styles, goals and philosophies, on the other. The paper also initiates discussions on how teaching approaches may be tailored to address the diversity of students’ learning styles over the duration of the engineering program, to enhance their learning experience and outcomes.
- Study of Mobility of Australian and European Union Engineering Students and
Tools to Assist Mobility
David Buisson and Robert Jensen;
This paper presents the preliminary results from
examining how universities of technology can better prepare graduates in
engineering in both the EU and
of Learning Outcomes – Supporting Change and the Move From Input to Output
Liz Willis and John Dickens; The Higher
In this paper we will describe how the
Engineering Subject Centre has worked with the Engineering Council
Capstone Projects in UTS Faculty of Engineering: Has Aligning Assessment
with Engineers Australia Competencies Improved Learning Outcomes?
Keith Willey, Rob Jarman and Anne Gardner;
UTS: Engineering Capstone Projects are undertaken in the final semester(s) of study and provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate a capacity to perform at the level expected of a professional engineer. The existing subject requirements had remained relatively unchanged for over 10 years and some project supervisors had expressed concern regarding a perceived drop in quality of project work – and its assessment. To confirm the largely anecdotal viewpoint a benchmarking survey was undertaken during Autumn Semester 2007. The results of this survey were used to design a new subject structure. The new structure aligns assessment to competencies published by Engineers Australia, focuses on providing students with a more comprehensive learning experience, improved support in developing their project proposals and integrated feedback mechanisms. In this paper we analyse the initial evaluation of these changes to determine how successful they have been at improving student learning outcomes.
Accreditation for the Global Engineering Attributes: A Way Forward
Arun Patil, Chenicheri Sid Nair and Gary Codner;
Engineering graduates today need to work within
multicultural and multinational workplace environments with adequate
professional attributes or competencies. In addition to the mandatory
engineering (technical) capabilities, today’s engineering graduate need to
perform managerial, financial and other several tasks in the workplace. The
relevant literature on students’ learning outcomes shows that graduates from
university courses are not necessarily getting the skills and competencies that
are required by industry or employers. The ‘competency gap’ between engineering
graduate attributes and employers’ expectations are elaborated in this paper
using a case study of engineering graduates of
them, Teach them, Test them; Can a One-hour Library Tutorial Improve Students’
Susan Brookes and Aiguo Patrick Hu; The
The Faculty of Engineering at the
Bulb Moments: Identifying Information Research Threshold Concepts for Fourth
Year Engineering Students
Phil Yorke-Barber, Loretta Atkinson, Gisela Possin and Leith Woodall; The University of Queensland
The librarians in the Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences and Engineering Library undertook a project to identify information research threshold concepts which fourth year undergraduate students must know to produce high quality research assignments. The methodology used to identify threshold concepts was to survey students, librarians and academics. A suggested threshold concept in information research is the critical evaluation of information resources to establish their authority, quality and credibility. This paper aims to demonstrate how a threshold concept approach clarifies the student experience in information research and provides a framework for the design of future information skills training.
Your Foundations Sound? Information Literacy and the Building of Holistic
Craig Milne and Jennifer Thomas;
An engineer cannot be holistic without being information literate. Information literacy is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (ALA, 2006). These abilities are identified within university graduate attributes and the Australian Engineering Competency Standards – Stage 1. This paper outlines the process of addressing information literacy within the undergraduate engineering curriculum at Queensland University of Technology. It explores the blending of information literacy into a large faculty-wide first year unit. Discussed are collaborative partnerships between faculty academics and librarians in content creation, teaching and assessment, success factors and areas for ongoing development to enhance learning outcomes.
an Authentic Learning Environment to Help Students see that there’s more to
Research than Google and Wikipedia: a Reflection
Sandra Cochrane and Steven Goh; University of Southern Queensland
Authentic learning environments open up opportunities to help students learn about the value of research skills and the importance of professional sources (two aspects of information literacy). Individual students begin to see how limiting a reliance on Google and Wikipedia is to the development of their professional knowledge base. But, it is important to recognise that these skills and knowledge are built over time. Information literacy is not achieved in one course alone. It grows as discipline knowledge grows over an entire program.
Theories on teaching and learning for adult learners are constantly being reviewed and discussed in the higher educational environment. Theories are not static and appear to be in a constant developmental process. This paper discusses three of these theories; pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy. It is argued that although educators engage in many of the principles of either student-centered (andragogy) and self-determined (heutagogy) learning, it is not possible to fully implement either theory. The two main limitations are the requirements of both internal and external stakeholders such as accrediting bodies and requirements to assess all student learning. A reversion to teacher-centered learning (pedagogy) ensues. In summary, we engage in many action-oriented learning activities but revert to teacher-centered approaches in terms of content and assessment.
do they Know? An Entry-level Test for Electricity
Industry demands an increasing number of
engineering graduates. However, if first-year engineering numbers are to grow,
much of the growth is likely to come from students with lower achievement
levels. In order to support these students effectively, and to ensure the
courses they take remain appropriate, the academic preparedness of these
students must be determined. Recent changes to the way
Experiment in Improving Engagement with Students in Lectures and Tutorials
The aim of this study was to experiment with activities that can be done during lectures and tutorials to improve engagement with students. The various activities took place during lectures and tutorials of ENB240 – Introduction to Electronics, a second year Electrical Engineering subject. In the first stage of the project, students were asked what could be done to both improve engagement in lectures and tutorials and to assist with their learning. Based on student responses, various activities were undertaken during the semester including: online quizzes; worked examples on the document camera; using an audience response system with keypads; and passing around physical devices in class. At the end of the semester, “Worked examples on the document camera” was reported by the most students as assisting with their learning, while “Use of keypads” was reported by the most as improving engagement in the lecture.
Auditing of Stage 1 Competencies for Accreditation and Beyond
Herein we describe our process for auditing and
mapping the teaching and assessment of the Engineers Australia’s Stage 1
Competencies listed as the ‘PE3s’. The mapping was catalysed by an
impending Engineers Australia accreditation review of the
Teaching of a History of Technology Course in an Engineering Program – Comments
and Observations on Relevance to Graduate Attributes and Learning
Raymond Lewis and Jane Stewart-Lewis; UNSW@ADFA
Many universities and engineering accreditation bodies stress the importance of engineering programs that include a breadth of learning beyond the technical aspects of engineering and science. Many university and engineering accreditation boards emphasis the development of learning skills and the provision of opportunities for a liberal education. However, the perceived need to cover curriculum content sometimes obscures these stated ideals. This paper discusses a history of technology course that attempts to redress some of the observed failings of content-driven courses. The discussion focuses on two examples of lecture content that illustrate the corrigible nature of engineering and science knowledge and also provides elucidation of the teaching and learning methodology. The examples of then are discussed with regard to the manner by which they help the student attain the graduate attributes of a deeper understanding and a social responsibility that is associated with their chosen discipline.
Lifeboat: A Process for Rationalising Engineering Course Content
Anna Carew; The University of Tasmania
Euan Lindsay; Curtin University of Technology
The problem of how to deal with overloaded curriculum and out-of-date content faces many engineering course co-ordinators. Engineering is a rapidly evolving field, and recent changes in the higher education landscape (e.g. changed accreditation expectations; changing demands of incoming students) mean curriculum rationalisation is a priority. As Professor Norman Fortenberry has said (EE, 2008): “That which is not core we must be willing to let go”. In this paper we describe a process to aid course co-ordinators and academic teachers in negotiating shared content priorities. The ‘Curriculum Lifeboat’ process is presented as an enjoyable academic development activity which serves as a precursor to rationalising content at unit level. We describe how to run a Lifeboat and detail two examples of outcomes from the process; a small group Lifeboat run at course level, and a pair Lifeboat focussed on priority concepts for first year statics.
Use of a Concept Inventory to Provide Individual Automated Feedback from Online
Tests based on the idea of a Concept Inventory have been developed in many engineering and science areas over the last two decades - the most well known being the Force Concept Inventory used to assess understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Generally these have been used to assess the effectiveness of variation in teaching methods. This paper presents an alternative approach to assessing students’ misconceptions that provides not only an assessment of conceptual understanding in terms of a conceptual inventory but also provides the student with guidance on what to do next. The technique aligns errors with likely misconception(s) - these links carry a level of confidence. As a student progresses through the online tests the level of confidence that there is, or is not, a particular misconception grows. The resulting diagnosis is then used to direct students to relevant learning material where the misconception is deemed serious.
did we go wrong?” An Examination of Students Treatment of Experimental
Error in Engineering Mechanics Laboratories
Tim Anderson, Rob Torrens, Mark Lay and Mike Duke; The
The ability of engineers and applied scientists to undertake experimental measurements is a fundamental requirement of the profession. However, it is not simply good enough to be able to perform experiments if we are not able to interpret the results. In this study, reports prepared by mechanical engineering students were examined to determine how students dealt with the disparity between experimental measurements and theoretical results in their Engineering Mechanics laboratories. Analysis of the reports, and discussions with students in their laboratory classes, revealed a superficial understanding or regard for experimental error. This superficial treatment of experimental error is, most likely, due to a number of factors that are discussed. Some possible strategies for addressing the issue are also examined.
Practical Intelligence from a Laboratory Experience be Measured?
Zol Bahri Razali and James Trevelyan; The
Empirical studies of engineering practice suggest that implicit and tacit knowledge acquired through hands-on activities in laboratory classes is valuable in engineering practice. Implicit and tacit knowledge or “practical intelligence” occurs when a person learns unintentionally, could also be a useful learning outcome from a laboratory experience. Nonetheless, when evaluating laboratory exercises, the assessment involves only explicit outcomes and student perceptions. Practical intelligence has not yet been assessed or measured. Industry surveys provide strong evidence that engineering graduates do not seem to be aware of the kinds of practical intelligence needed in their work. This may result from the implicit devaluation of practical intelligence which might significantly impair engineering students’ ability to acquire and value this knowledge. Therefore, developing ways to include effective assessment of practical intelligence could be one way to overcome this difficulty. A methodology for developing effective assessment of practical intelligence is proposed in this paper.
Reflections on On-line Tutoring and Plagiarism
Nathan Scott and Brian Stone; The
In 1995 the authors developed and implemented an online tutoring system for first year engineering dynamics. This involved a set of problems with diagnostic feedback and a sub-set of problems that earned credit. Initially the system was very effective but over the years the degree of plagiarism has increased. This paper is concerned with describing the history of events, describing remedies that were put in place, examining their outcomes and suggesting ways forward. In particular the issue of why students choose to cheat and not spend the time mastering a topic is discussed.
Use of a Wiki to Facilitate Virtual Team Work in a Problem-Based Learning
Sandra Cochrane, Lyn Brodie and Greg Pendlebury; University of Southern Queensland
This paper investigates the use of a wiki to support forty-two virtual teams and their development of three team reports for assessment in a core first year course. ENG1101 Engineering Problem Solving 1 uses a problem-based learning paradigm to facilitate the development of effective teamwork, communication and problem solving skills, as well as the acquisition and application of key technical knowledge to real world engineering problems. Our early analysis of student evaluation responses, the monitoring of teams’ wiki use and teams’ assessment outcomes support our choice of a wiki as a learning platform
The Classroom Walls: Remote Labs, Authentic Experimentation with Theory
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard;
Recent calls of constructivist pedagogy emphasize the role of delivering education in more authentic and real contexts. It urges the change of the classical classroom lecture model towards more active participation of the students. Engineering is to large extent an applied science, it is very important to be taught in its genuine context rather than the current more theory oriented model. One important issue is to support the classroom theoretical lectures with real applications. Laboratories are provided essentially as core part of engineering education as a platform of showing the applicability of theory into practice, however, most labs are not portable and can not be moved into the classroom to show the links between theory and practice in real time. One solution is close the distance through remote operation of the lab rig during the lecture. This approach is also useful in enriching the number of utilized rigs through sharing among institutes. This paper reports on the approach of utilizing and sharing remote experimentation for classroom theoretical lectures. It also reports the students opinion towards the novel approach.
Preparation for Teaching Engineering on a Remote Campus
Alan McPhail; CQUniversity, Sydney
The University is planning to teach the first two years of an established engineering program on a remote campus. We report on the context, preparation and strategies to ensure that students will develop the same engineering attributes as students on the home campus.
W1A4 A New
Paradigm for Professional Development Framework and Curriculum Renewal in
Engineering Management Education: A Proposal for Reform
Steven Goh; University of Southern Queensland
Management education for engineers has been confined to traditional management programs offered by business schools, often in the form of an MBA. However, the changing environment for future engineering managers demands a revitalised framework and refreshed curriculum for professional development, especially in postgraduate education. The fluid nature of the management education market has introduced many influencing factors such as corporatisation of management education and proliferation of short courses. This change in delivery and curriculum preference is mainly as a result of the changing dynamics and needs of both employers and employees within the engineering context. Hence, this paper presents to the engineering profession a proposal to reform the professional development framework and curriculum renewal for engineering management education within an Australian context.
Resources and Business Case Issues in Programme Design, Development and
The discussions in this paper centre on the affordability of staff resources vis-a-vis workload norms particularly in relation to new programmes of study. A simplified procedure for arriving at staff resources using standard workload norms is described. The affordability of such requirements is assessed through a simplified business-case model. These are lean and rapid approaches which help develop strategies for resolving imbalances between resource requirements and affordability with ease. These simplified approaches assist in making informed choices and for gaining new insights in preference to standard budgetary procedures. Recruitment of staff during the establishment phase of a new programme must be seriously thought through to avoid disastrous consequences. Related strategies should be established with a focus on commercial realities. The simplified approach described herein creates transparency on decisions regarding staffing levels and provides an opportunity for all staff to be part of such decision making and thereby diffuse any tensions that might prevail over workload allocations.
Operating System Concepts Through On-Demand Virtual Labs
James Lucas and Steve Murray;
Computer laboratories in universities are in most cases tightly controlled managed services in order to ensure a high level of availability to all students. This involves restricting user privileges and removing the ability to modify configurations and system programs. These environments are not well matched to the practical side of teaching operating system concepts especially when it comes to experimentation with the kernel of an operating system. Through the use of computer virtualisation technologies we can provide students with the computing resources to experiment with an OS.
for Remotely Accessible Laboratories at the University of Southern Queensland
Tony Ahfock, David Buttsworth, Mark Phythian and Andrew Maxwell; University of Southern Queensland
Technological developments during the last two decades have made it possible for educational institutions to establish systems for the remote access of hardware and software resources. Teaching staff around the world have come to recognize the educational and other benefits of laboratories that their students can remotely access. A number of remotely accessible laboratories are now in operation. Remote access of hardware and software resources is of particular interest to the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) because of its high proportion of students studying in distance mode. Work towards setting up remotely accessible laboratories at USQ started at the end of 2006. This paper reports on the University’s remote laboratory communication infrastructure and the reasoning behind its design. It also provides details of the various techniques that are being used for interfacing with laboratory hardware. The paper includes a discussion on the initial experience of staff and students involved with the use of the remote access system and what is being done to improve user experience.
to Our New Students: Flexible Remote Laboratories for Regional Learners
Adam Thompson and Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity
Just as engineering practice is changing at an ever increasing pace, so are out students. They are no longer content to sit as one among a faceless crowd at set times in set places. The pressures of work commitments, as well as different learning styles means that a different approach is required. The hardest aspect of this are the laboratories required as part of the accreditation process. This paper discusses the use of flexible remote laboratories to help meet this challenge, particularly with labs that require consumables.
the Effectiveness of a Remote Laboratory for Microelectronics Fabrication
Aaron Mohtar, Zorica Nedic and Jan Machotka; The
The development of a second remote laboratory in the School of Electrical Information Engineering (EIE) follows the success and effectiveness that our first remote laboratory, Netlab, achieved. This laboratory will be used to conduct experiments in the relatively narrow field of Microelectronics Fabrication, where remote laboratories rarely exist due to the obstacles specific to this field. This type of laboratory requires a substantial amount of human interaction, where users control the position of micro-probes under a microscope to test the electrical characteristics of electronic circuits on a silicon wafer. Since this remote laboratory is a pioneer in this field of education it requires careful deployment and development. In this paper, we present the tools that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this new remote laboratory.
W1B5 A New
H.E.L.P. Kit for Teaching Practical AC Electronics to Undergraduate Distance
John Long, Lee De Vries, Hall Robynne and Abbas Kouzani; Deakin University
An important part of educating students in
electronics and electrical engineering is laboratory practicals. Providing
effective practical experience to students by distance education has always
been a significant challenge to the engineering educator.
Moodle, An Open Source Learning Management System, To Support a National
Teaching and Learning Collaboration
Trish Andrews; The University of Queensland
Chris Daly; The University of New South Wales
and Monitoring Self-regulated Learning Techniques in Engineering Schools
Self-regulated learning (SRL) comprises a set of processes that students can use with the objective of improving academic performance. SRL has been the subject of research for over two decades and there is a general acceptance that the methodology has some real value in helping students to increase academic achievement. There remains some uncertainty about how best to introduce SRL to students, to encourage use of SRL, and to measure the benefit (or otherwise) of its practise. Tools for SRL have been developed and are available to students and educators. This paper discusses how SRL may be taught and how student usage of the techniques may be encouraged and monitored.
This paper describes an innovative new multi-disciplinary single undergraduate degree with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Architecture completed within four years. The program is Civil Engineering with Architecture. It is not a combined degree, it is a “with” degree. The core of the Civil Engineering Program is maintained and supplemented with almost a full year of courses from the Architecture faculty. The program aims are to provide an appreciation of architectural principles, an understanding of the architect's role, the interaction between architects and engineers, and the importance of ethics, context, sustainability, unique innovative design and aesthetics. Students graduating from this program will be better equipped to collaborate with architects and other professionals in the built environment to produce integrated and sustainable design.
Partnership for Development of Mechatronics Engineering Education of the Future
A collaborative partnership between
Online Teaching Resource for Acoustical Engineering
Andrew Hore and Brian Stone; The
In producing online teaching resources for acoustical engineering students, an applet shell is a fast and effective choice in order to produce a wide range of programs. This online material is not intended as a substitute for traditional classes, the applets can act as supplementary material to help strengthen a student’s understanding of the subject area. The online format of these types of teaching aids means they can be easily used in any tertiary classroom setting, regardless of class size. By creating basic functionality for a shell an academic does not need to waste time writing code that performs tasks not associated with producing the acoustic theory part of the program. Nor are they required to know exactly how those tasks are performed. This paper describes the creation of a shell designed specifically for acoustical engineering that enables students to both observe graphs but more importantly to hear the sounds on the computer’s speakers as they adjust the input. Using a collaborative approach between a programmer and an academic a Java shell was created that can be used to create many online acoustical resources for students similar to the examples presented in the paper.
of Modes of Electronic Delivery of Construction Management Courses
Willy Sher and Thayaparan Gajendra; The University of Newcastle
The profile of construction management students is changing. In
Role of Project Based Learning and Reverse Engineering in the Education of
Aliya Valiyff, Rebecca Baylis and Christopher French; The University of Adelaide
Today's engineering industry calls for graduates who have not only well developed technical skills, but also expertise in the fields of communication, interdisciplinary team work and manufacturing. Project based education is one such way in which these skill sets can be nurtured. Although the effectiveness of project based learning in relation to improving the student’s technical knowledge, team work and management skills are well documented, the application to the education of manufacturing has yet to be quantified. In a field such as Aeronautical engineering where specialist techniques and processes are utilized, it is a challenge to offer practical hands on experience on every aspect of a project. This paper discusses the role of project based learning and reverse engineering in the education of manufacturing processes.
on Inductive-based Teaching of Fundamental Engineering Science Subjects
Josef Rojter; Victoria University
As part of
Learning in Teaching Formal Specification
Roslina Sidek and Fauziah Zainuddin; Universiti Malaysia Pahang
Learning process is very important in academic industry. Students are the person that will give the service to the country after they finished their study yet. So, as academician, we underlined the way we teach really important to our student. We proposed a process to make student understand about the subject which is Formal Methods by using problem-based learning process. We discussed about the traditional approach with proposed approach. This method can help student in construct formal specification. This approach can train our student more critical thinking, independent and confident.
Learning Outcomes in PBL Using Fuzzy Logic Techniques
Srikanth Venkatesan and Sam Fragomeni;
Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a popular pedagogy in many parts of the world. A significant advantage of PBL is that the problems (or projects) can be chosen (or developed) to achieve (or deliver) certain learning outcomes. As students are encouraged to work in groups, the final product which is the result of a group work forms the basis of assessment. Often group marks are allocated to individuals. In some instances the assessor comes with own rules of individual assessment within a group. However the measurement of learning outcomes is usually ignored. The common practice is to rely on the final summative assessment. This paper shows that this reliance could be inappropriate, based on the analysis of a recent teaching assignment delivered in PBL mode. In particular fuzzy logic techniques have been adopted to measure the learning outcomes. A class size of 130 students were analysed to develop the methodology and the results of key student groups are presented in this paper.
Control of Assessment in Large Engineering Courses
Jim Greenslade; The
In some large engineering courses, assignments are being replaced by invigilated tests, due to issues of plagiarism. However, it is a concern that tests may not have the same formative benefit as regular assignments. Whether assignments or tests are employed, the quality of marking remains a key to any successful assessment process. Recent research on the variability of grades between markers in large courses is presented. Strategies to more closely engage lecturers in the assessment process are proposed, along with more targeted training and moderation of markers. Measures of acceptable variance, and threshold tests for early identification of potential marking problems, are discussed.
Strategy for Virtual Teams Undertaking the EWB Challenge
The Engineers without Borders (EWB) Challenge
has been incorporated into a core first year course in the Faculty of
Engineering and Surveying at
Comparison of Mechanics Examinations: A Guide for the Curious
Thomas Goldfinch and Timothy McCarthy; University of Wollongong
Anna Carew and Alan Henderson; The University of Tasmania
Anne Gardner; University of Technology, Sydney
Giles Thomas; Australian Maritime College
This paper describes a process used to compare
final mechanics exam papers for first year engineering mechanics courses at the
Each Other - How Can We Give Feedback that Students Really Value
Neil McCallum, Julian Bondy and Margaret Jollands;
(Hons) Final Year Project Assessment – Leaving out the Subjectiveness
Guy Littlefair and Peter Gossman; AUT University
Final year projects for BE(Hons) programmes are
the linkage between the academic and the industrial domains. Projects are often
judged by respective employers as the measure by which students are considered
and are also closely surveyed by professional bodies when accreditation is
sought. In some instances, final year projects can lead to publications in
conferences and journals and also allow students to continue their academic
study into research degrees. However, the assessment of both the final thesis
and the process of conducting the project are often subjective and open to
challenge. This paper discusses a comprehensive strategy for removing some of
the inconsistencies and proposes a transparent and robust assessment model
which can be applied in similar areas elsewhere. This approach has been
developed at the
– Based Assessment: An Alternative Continuous Assessment Strategy for
Laboratory Learning Outcomes
Engineering programs often feature units that contain a semester-long laboratory project, in which students complete an extended piece of work throughout the full duration of the semester. This paper presents an alternative assessment approach called “Milestone-Based Marking”. As students make incremental progress they can claim incremental marks, and are able to receive incremental feedback on their progress. Each of the milestones is rated for difficulty – Easy, Standard, Hard or Challenging. Easy milestones require less effort than Hard milestones, providing students with a clear guide as to how best to invest their time and effort. This approach changes the nature of the assessment from a purely summative process to a largely formative process. This approach has been used successfully across a number of units, with students indicating that they believe that the approach is fair, and that it better supports their learning.
This paper reports on an innovative unit that embeds the acquisition of communication and professional skills into a technically based project. The project revolves around two engineering artefacts: a popsicle-stick bridge and a mousetrap-powered car. The design and construction of each artefact are conducted by different teams of students – each team designs a bridge and constructs a car, or vice versa. The core principle behind this approach is requiring the students to act as Student Engineers, rather than as engineering students. Requiring students to work both as designers and constructors introduces them to the different communication requirements of each role. More powerfully, they also portray the role of the clients for each others’ engineering project, providing a valuable alternative perspective. The project has led to significant improvements in students’ communication skills as well as their development of their identities as professional engineers.
Engineering Graduate Capabilities Against Assessment Tasks: A Preliminary Study
Long Nghiem and Maureen Bell;
This paper investigated the connection between assessment tasks and graduate capabilities. Surveys conducted as part of this study revealed differences in planning for the development of, and student achievement of, graduate capabilities and that assessment tasks were valuable tools to guide and facilitate the development of intended graduate capabilities. Drawing from the obtained data, a prototype framework for curriculum design was proposed, allowing for better alignment of assessment tasks and graduate capability development in systematic subject design.
Concept Map Enhancements for Electronic Study Materials
Mark Phythian and Jishu Das Gupta;
The use of topic maps and concept maps has long been encouraged by instructional designers as a means of providing an overview of content in study materials. Educational theory and practice affirm the effectiveness of concept mapping: as a concise summary of a body of knowledge; as a practical means by which students can construct and record their own knowledge; and as a means of evaluating student understanding. This paper presents the aims, methodology and initial findings of a project commenced in Semester 1 2008, to include hyperlinked concept maps as an enhancement to electronic study materials. The project aims to evaluate their effectiveness: in improving student understanding of the concepts in the course; and as a means of navigating and accessing electronic study materials. The course of study is in the field of Microcomputer Design.
Effectiveness of Using Self and Peer Assessment in Short Courses: Does it
Improve Learning Outcomes?
Keith Willey and Anne Gardner;
The authors have previously reported the effectiveness of using self and peer assessment to improve learning outcomes. It thoughtfully provides opportunities to practise, develop, assess and provide feedback on graduate attributes even within subjects where traditional discipline content is taught. In this previous research we have shown that it is most beneficial to use self and peer assessment multiple times a semester. In this paper we investigate whether it will be just as successful in achieving similar benefits when used in short courses.