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Kevin Wells

Page history last edited by sceptrept 13 years, 11 months ago

Problem-based learning for labs: Re-engaging students with design and professional development

Kevin Wells and Janko Calic, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of Surrey


This presentation will report on a pilot project aimed at re-engaging students sense of enquiry and personal expression through a design, implementation and testing process that spanned first year Laboratory and Professional Skills courses. This SCEPTrE-funded project had the dual aims of

(i)     Bringing greater relevance to developing professional skills in Surrey’s  first year electronic engineering programme

(ii)    Enhancing student engagement with practical work by replacing tired script-based experimental work with an industrially-flavoured student-led design and implementation process.


As a result of work initiated in January 2008, and continued during the current academic year, we believe we have successfully developed a method to teach professional skills (time management, team working, brain storming etc) in a way in which undergraduate freshmen students can see practical application for their current programme of study and beyond.  By developing these activities as a primer to free-form laboratory sessions, we have developed skills in planning, team working, design and innovation, professional judgement and criteria design and assessment. Results of the initial student-designed peer assessment scheme, and the QA methods used on the raw assessment data will also be presented.


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