PROJECT BASED LEARNING FOR IMPROVING UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGINEERING: APPLICATION TO PRODUCTION AND MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS

L. Godino Fernández , I. Pombo, B. Izquierdo , J.A. Sanchez

University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
The industrial reality of an engineer is to solve problems by combining different areas of knowledge in order to find the optimal solution from both functional and economic point of view. The university considers it crucial to train engineering students capable of solving real problems in which they have to apply the different knowledge they have acquired. Even learning new knowledge based on self-learning due to the needs they find when facing an industrial problem. In this sense, the Project Based Learning (from now on PBL) methodology together with self-learning are the most suitable learning methodologies for training qualified engineers. In this sense, the present work is focused on the application of PBL methodology to Production and Manufacturing Systems course, taught in the second year of the mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering degrees. It is noteworthy that this is a course that is taught in the 3 engineering specialities. Therefore, the subject requires a very multidisciplinary approach. The lessons are divided into lecture (3CTS) and practical (3CTS). The PBL methodology is applied on the practical part of the course, particularly in the first 10 practical hours corresponding to Metrology. A total of 340 students are coursing the subject, which are divided in groups of 20-25 students, and in turn into subgroups of 4 students. They have to measure a real industrial part using the theoretical concepts taught in theoretical lessons and also by self-learning. The calibration of measurement instrument, the estimation of the uncertainty of the measuring instrument identifying the main sources of uncertainty, the influence of measuring system, such as the procedure, the environmental condition or the employee. Through a complete analysis, the student have to be able of accept or refuse the manufactured part depending on whether or not it fulfils the tolerances marked on the design drawing. The students learn metrology concepts and the industrial procedure to carry out an adequate quality control of manufactured parts. It has been demonstrated that the proper use of PBL is beneficial to engineering student owing to the proximity to the real industry. The students are evaluated not only through the presented project but also through an online test. The results shown that the students have correctly assimilated the metrology concepts. Moreover, at the same time, different competences which are also crucial for their future, such as self-learning, teamwork, communication skills and leadership skills, are also performed.