CUED Publications database

Evidence-informed development of engineering practical work: Effecting change through staff and student engagement

Burchmore, H and Reilly, A and Hunt, H and Shercliff, H (2008) Evidence-informed development of engineering practical work: Effecting change through staff and student engagement. EE 2008 - International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education.

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This paper discusses innovations in curriculum development in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge as a participant in the Teaching for Learning Network (TFLN), a teaching and learning development initiative funded by the Cambridge-MIT Institute a pedagogic collaboration and brokerage network. A year-long research and development project investigated the practical experiences through which students traditionally explore engineering disciplines, apply and extend the knowledge gained in lectures and other settings, and begin to develop their professional expertise. The research project evaluated current practice in these sessions and developed an evidence-base to identify requirements for new activities, student support and staff development. The evidence collected included a novel student 'practice-value' survey highlighting effective practice and areas of concern, classroom observation of practicals, semi-structured interviews with staff, a student focus group and informal discussions with staff. Analysis of the data identified three potentially 'high-leverage' strategies for improvement: development of a more integrated teaching framework, within which practical work could be contextualised in relation to other learning; a more transparent and integrated conceptual framework where theory and practice were more closely linked; development of practical work more reflective of the complex problems facing professional engineers. This paper sets out key elements of the evidence collected and the changes that have been informed by this evidence and analysis, leading to the creation of a suite of integrated practical sessions carefully linked to other course elements and reinforcing central concepts in engineering, accompanied by a training and support programme for teaching staff.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div C > Materials Engineering
Div C > Applied Mechanics
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:26
Last Modified: 22 May 2018 06:24