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NEXT LEVEL BLENDED LEARNING FOR AN EXCELLENT ENGINEERING EDUCATION

L. Koettgen, S. Stiehm, C. Tummel, A. Richert, I. Isenhardt

IMA/ZLW & IfU - RWTH Aachen University (GERMANY)
The digitalization of higher education in general and Blended Learning in particular have been the center of attention for a long time. In addition to applying new technology, focusing on interdisciplinary competences during studies has always been part of engineering studies.
The lecture Communication and Organization Development (KOE) is a constituent part of the Bachelor's degree studies in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, addressing 1500 freshmen of the RWTH Aachen University.

For decades the lecture “KOE” has been part of frequently used revision along with an agile progression of applied mixed methods and new demands using the previously mentioned teaching development. The number of first semester students is still increasing and beginners entering the university are partially minors (17 years old) due to the shortened school career.

To master these and further challenges successfully, the didactical method mix is based on a cube model developed by Baumgartner and Payr (1996), which combines different levels and perspectives of a diverse teaching approach. Elements such as the flipped classroom concept along with the discussion forum, which were introduced during winter term 2013/2014, have become a permanent feature of KOE. Moreover this, the blended learning elements were increased by attaching a two-stage business simulation called ROBOFLEX to bring the theoretical elements to an immersive, problem-based learning approach.

ROBOFLEX was developed to enable students to experience realistic virtual communication within computer science and engineering disciplines. Students are divided into groups and become entrepreneurs and founders of start-ups that specialize in the production of innovative robots (using Lego Mindstorms’ NXT) for the automotive industry.

This paper presents the cube model’s current status as part of the method mix of KOE. Additionally, based on last year’s evaluation results, the paper examines students' reactions towards the tutorial class ROBOFLEX as well as its potential for optimization. Furthermore a general analysis of the evaluation results from the winter term 2013/2014 compared with 2014/2015 is performed to identify scopes for further development of KOE.