FOSTERING LEARNING AND STUDENT INTERACTIVITY IN REAL WORLD ENGINEERING PROBLEMS
About this paper:
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The main purpose is to describe some key aspects of the design and evaluation of cooperative and collaborative learning as well as Problem and Project Based Learning of individual and team work assignments over a whole semester in an MSc Engineering course.
The major motivation to this work is closely related with the following research questions:
i) How are learners and learning changing? ii) How do we get Engineering students to work effectively? iii) How to promote students’ engagement and motivation? iv) How to use formative assessment as a part of learning and a path to evaluate the learning process and the final results?
The Energy Production and Management course, described here, is a mandatory subject over one semester in the first year of the degree course leading to an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. Emphasis is given on engaging the students, the use of a wide variety of learning activities which assist and promote different learning preferences, promoting autonomous learning and incorporating assessment at the design level.
One of the major concerns is related to the design and sequence of the learning activities that allows for formative assessment with emphasis for diagnostic issues. These learning activities can be either performed individually or as a group and are carried out in and outside class. The present paper will address three course projects that are presently implemented:
Project 1 – Energy Audit (characterize, monitor, analyse, implement measures, continue monitoring, calculate specific consumptions, quantify benefits, etc.).
This Course Project is mainly characterized by the following: i) Individual project carried out at the students’ own homes during the whole semester; ii) incorporates several formative and summative learning activities either in or outside class; iii) covers predictions, measurements and simulations; iv) includes cooperative and collaborative learning; v) has interaction with society, and; vi) has Mid Term and Final assessment.
Project 2 – Real World Case with Industry/Business support
Course Project 2 is mainly characterized by the following: i) Team work (teams of four) running for eight weeks; ii) three working Questions & Answers sessions (every three weeks) plus a final oral presentation and a written report; iii) it is an open ended project as several final layouts are possible; iv) an assessment rubric is used in all working sessions; v) assessment focuses on technical and non-technical skills, and; vi) the working sessions run as in a real world environment – Client / Supplier format.
Project 3 - Problem Based Learning
Course Project 3 is mainly characterized by the following: i) Team work (teams of two) running for five weeks; ii) two distinct problems are introduced and prepared in-class; iii) half of the teams work with Problem 1 and the other half with Problem 2; iv) teams are requested to prepare a structured and comprehensive solution and a short report for each problem, and; v) teams switch problems and roles as they will be requested to assess, provide structured feedback and evaluate each other’s work based on a rubric.
A detailed description and analysis of the process and final results will be provided for these course projects.
Keywords: Engineering teaching/learning, PBL, Assessment, Rubric, University-Society, University-Industry.