Two scenarios for engaging first year engineering students: Project based learning and the inverted classroom

Bigham, Aidan (2013) Two scenarios for engaging first year engineering students: Project based learning and the inverted classroom. In: Sino/NZ research Forum: Excellence in Vocational Teaching Symposium, 23rd to 24th September 2013, QingDao, China. (Submitted)

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Abstract or Summary

This presentation will explore two different classroom teaching methods for first year diploma engineering students. Engineering Fundamentals is a cross disciplinary paper which is compulsory for all diploma students. This course is part of the first semester and is seen as a way to give all students the physics fundamentals to succeed in future courses while exposing them to other engineering specialisations. To encourage cross disciplinary collaboration within the course, and to help improve knowledge around student’s non-specialised topics, a project was created to be completed in large teams. A scenario was given to the students which involved making a car that could carry a load (mechanical) to move unaided over a bridge (built by civil) and while travelling open a barrier arm without to pass through (electrical). Students were placed in consultancy groups of mixed disciplines (nine or ten per group) and worked together to solve the problem. At the time of presenting students are half way through this project, and engagement is high. Geology (civil engineering) was previously taught in a traditional lecture environment. Geology is made up of a range of topics with a high volume of specific terminology, hence it was difficult for students to retain knowledge, and then to apply the new learning to contextualised (and examinable) situations. In addition, the need to use the limited time available each week to teach course content meant there was little time available for engaging class activities to help students reinforce knowledge or to construct new knowledge. To create more learning opportunities the course was redesigned into an inverted classroom. Repeatable online activities were created to investigate each topic, complemented by in-class workshops where students worked collaboratively on a range of activities. This mix was designed to increase retention of knowledge by creating situations in class where the students would use the geology terminology they had learnt online. Results were compared with the previous year to evaluate the new approach and the external exam result showed a clear increase in marks. In particular it was pleasing to see that the lower quartile exam mark showed the most movement; increasing from 35 % to 54 %. The redeveloped course environment was supported by the students, with significant positive feedback in the end of year evaluation forms.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Keywords that describe the item:Project based learning, Inverted classroom, flexible learning, blended delivery
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Science and Primary Industries
ID Code:2866
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Deposited On:18 Feb 2014 02:42
Last Modified:12 Mar 2014 00:25

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