Growing pains in the revitalisation of a 2nd level engineering and spatial science PBL course

Goh, Steven and Worden, John and Zhou, Hong and Clewett, John (2012) Growing pains in the revitalisation of a 2nd level engineering and spatial science PBL course. In: Developments in engineering education standards: advanced curriculum innovations. IGI Publishing (IGI Global), Hershey, PA. United States , pp. 105-126. ISBN 978-1-4666-0951-8

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This chapter is a report on a 3 year study of the effects of curriculum reform on student learning outcomes and experiences in a 2nd level engineering and surveying PBL course which offers on-campus and off-campus modes of study. The investigation was initiated in 2007 producing a list of recommendations that led to structural changes in the subsequent 2008 course offer. Additional student feedback was collected in 2008 to further refine the model, and these student evaluations resulted in modifications to the course model that were implemented in 2009. Data collected and lessons learnt in 2009 were used to fine-tune the course design in 2010. The consequences of these course modifications were that even though curriculum reform has resulted in enhanced student learning, it gave rise to negative student experiences in 2009 and 2010. It can be argued that though the course design implementation process overall has been regarded as successful, academics' attitudes towards PBL, opportunities for training and orientation in PBL, and familiarity with the new course design were evidenced as weaknesses in the delivery of the course. While both facilitators and students focus on the explicit teaching goals, such as technical and engineering aspects, there is less of a focus on the 'hidden' curriculum of team work skills and group dynamics and this can compromise the way in which the course is undertaken. Despite introduction to PBL methodology in a prior course that has a strong focus on team work and group skills, students fail to progress this acquired knowledge and continue to compartmentalize their learning. This scenario also alludes to the dynamics of change management involving large teaching teams, in particular, difficulties relating to academics' buy-in and adherence to collective decisions.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Date Deposited: 07 May 2013 23:51
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2017 01:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: problem-based learning; project-based learning; curriculum design; pedagogical challenges; learning experience; assessment design; first year engineering; engineering education; change management
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development
Identification Number or DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0951-8.ch006

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