ASSESSING INDUSTRY-BASED PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING WITH ENGINEERING STUDENTS: LESSONS LEARNED
Problem solving skills are an essential part of an engineering education, due to the fact that industry hires engineers primarily looking at the workplace solving skills of candidates. On entering the workforce engineering graduates and postgraduates will deal with a great range of problems, many of them related to the need of companies to deal with new product-market challenges and the identification of product-service based new businesses.
Thus, due to its University-Industry collaboration approach and philosophy, Mondragon University has fostered the implementation of a project-based learning (PBL) approach based on current industry demands. This new learning methodology involves industry within the whole PBL project; since the introduction of the organisations’ problematic, until students’ project proposals. This approach has helped students refine their soft skills in addition to a deeper understanding of their technical, creative and managerial skills, in an industrial environment full of technological and market uncertainties. Therefore, this Industry-Based Problem-Based Learning approach gives students an opportunity to develop and apply a range of experiences which will prepare them to contribute to the needs of companies.
However, in order to deal with real life problems in collaboration with industrial partners, involving a highly motivated bunch of engineering students, there are some key challenges that need to be addressed to establish a win-win situation, among students, instructors and industrial partners, and assure the use of theoretical disciplines and the learning process, while obtaining industrially interesting results. One of these challenges has to do with the assessment of these Industry-Based Problem-Based Learning projects.
In this context, the aim of this paper is to show the Mondragon University´s approach to the implementation of different assessment methods, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as their evolution on time. Therefore, this paper explains the assessment methods deployed by Mondragon University as long as the experiences obtained, lessons learned and suggestions for institutions approaching this challenge. Furthermore, the paper explains how a rubric based approach has been developed as an ultimate method for PBL assessment, and how this technique helps students and instructors map teams´ learning journey, in a three milestone based learning process.