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Blended Design and Project Based Learning: a future for engineering education
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Monday, December 7 • 11:35am - 11:50am
| 1A | Introduction to Needs Analysis for increasing first year engineering students’ ability in conceptual design

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The transition from school to university can be extremely difficult for many students. Traditional first year programmes, based around taught content, may have helped with a student’s introduction to university life but lacked the engagement and autonomy needed to stimulate effective engineering education. While the new project-based-learning paradigm gives students the contextual elements needed for more relevant project experience it may also ask too much of students in the early years of study. Increased support during early project based learning activities may well provide the answer to improving student project outputs while fostering an empathetic, user-centred design mind-set._x000D_
During 2015 we had an opportunity to involve two senior (i.e. third year) students in this programme as student-student mentors supporting the first year students in a first semester design project. Here students worked in teams of four or five on humanitarian engineering projects for the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Challenge to develop innovative new concepts to solve specific issues faced by a particular community._x000D_
Lack of sufficient information gathering and poor problem definition are key features of conceptual design processes in the freshman year. These are greatly enhanced when new engineering students are faced with solving a problem that is remote from their physical, cultural and social identity. This initial part of the project (i.e. conceptual design) was identified by the senior students as a particular problem they experienced when they went through the process two years earlier.


Monday December 7, 2015 11:35am - 11:50am
Rincon Room RACV Torquay map C3

Attendees (14)