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Student Attitudes to Engagement – a case study of engineering programmes Margaret Morgan and Pearse O’Gorman School of Engineering.

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Presentation on theme: "Student Attitudes to Engagement – a case study of engineering programmes Margaret Morgan and Pearse O’Gorman School of Engineering."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student Attitudes to Engagement – a case study of engineering programmes Margaret Morgan and Pearse O’Gorman School of Engineering

2 Clean Technology Biomedical Engineering Electronic Engineering Mechatronic Engineering Engineering Management Mechanical Engineering Sports Technology Technology with Design Main programmes: MEng\BEng Hons BSc Hons HESA: mechanical/production / manufacturing engineering ~ 33% of student numbers 834 FTEs School of Engineering

3 Rationale How we might engage our students more effectively? Engagement retention NSS results

4 Approach (1)Heller, R et al, Student and Faculty Perceptions of Engagement in Engineering, Journal of Engineering Education, 2010 (2)Bjorkland, S.,and Fortenberry, N., Measuring Faculty and Student Engagement in Engineering Education, CASEE Report Investigate what could be done improve ‘engagement’ Questionnaire – closed and free response Heller 1 and CASEE 2 All years were surveyed – response rate 51% Student Focus groups

5 Students’ familiarity with the term ‘engagement’ Survey Results

6 Lecturer views on a fully engaged student attend all timetabled classes, prepared, on time and contribute enthusiastically in class discussion. occupy themselves with purposeful activities when they are not in class. devote at least 35 hrs per week to their studies inclusive of class contact time.

7 Students’ perception of their participation levels 85% considered that they participated fully in their studies 65% believed that attending all timetabled classes is important

8 Typical class contact (hours): 18 – First Year 18 – Second Year 15 – Final Year How many hours do students spend on their studies outside timetabled classes?

9 Large lecture Perceived benefit and enjoyment Engineering Assignments Small lecture Oral Presentations Tutorial Laboratory/Workshop Team projects Management assignments Enjoyable (fun) activities tend to improve participation

10 Easy to learn situations/activities

11 Free responses were categorised into five main areas: Relating theory to professional practice Lecturer attributes Programme organisation Team working e-Learning opportunities Three things that SEng should do to enhance student participation?

12 CategoryStudent suggestions Free response % Relating theory to professional practice Real-life assignments Practical laboratory work Industrial visits 56 Lecturer attributesInterested in students Enthusiasm for subject Clear communicator Approachable 44 Programme organisationTimetabling Balanced assignment workload Fewer large lectures 38 Team-workingDesign-type assignments Small-group tutorials 29 e-Learning opportunitiesPodcasts, BlackBoard, CAE, software Lectures and assignments on-line 17

13 Focus Groups Two groups with 8 students per group – balanced representation across the two programmes and across all years Groups asked to address those main categories identified for improvement Validate free responses Explore what students believe would enhance their engagement

14 1. Real-life assignments, engineering activities Material is more interesting when we see its relevance. Lecturers should relate lecture material using real-life examples/anecdotes. Assignments and exercises should be related to ‘real’ engineering. Company visits - to see what engineering is about - what jobs engineers do. Science and maths is easier to understand when we see where it is used in everyday situations.

15 2. Lecturer attributes Like to feel that our lecturers care about us and make an effort to be helpful. Good if he/she can relate classroom material to real-life engineering problems. Humorous Classes are more interesting if the lecturer uses a variety of media, e.g. videos, software, demonstrations. Approachable, available outside class and provides good feedback on our assignments. We like a lecturer that encourages interaction and allows us to ask questions.

16 3. Programme Organisation Our timetables sometimes don’t seem to take account of the expense of travelling to Uni or accommodating a part-time job. 10 am starts are better than 9 am as rush- hour is avoided. We would prefer 3 reasonably busy days per week. Fewer large lectures. Not good for asking questions and whenever questions are asked they tend to break the flow. Class duration: 2 hours max. Ideally an hour long and no more than an hour gap between classes. Easier to learn where there is a clear link between the lecture and tutorial class.

17 4. Team-working Enjoyable – provided we have clear outline of what’s expected. Good if all team members contribute equally. We see the benefit of ‘team-work’ for industry. Put good students together in groups. We don’t like group work in final year. We like ‘shared experience’ of working together in small group tutorial. Makes you feel part of a team.

18 5. e-Learning Notes available beforehand to ease notetaking. Make notes available on a week-by week basis. Specialist engineering software should be available somewhere we can socialise together informally. Podcasts would let us access information and revise when it suits us.

19 Thank you


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