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Blended Design and Project Based Learning: a future for engineering education
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Monday, December 7 • 3:50pm - 4:05pm
| 3C | Where (or what) to next for the High School 'PBL' STEM graduate?

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Parramatta Marist, a comprehensive boys high school in Western Sydney, adopted Project Based Learning throughout the middle school curriculum in 2008; in 2010, a Problem Based Learning approach (modelled on the ‘One Day, One Problem’ approach pioneered at Republic Polytechnic, Singapore) was adopted throughout all Year 11 Preliminary Higher School Certificate (HSC) courses; in 2011, our first ‘PBL’ HSC class graduated. In 2013, a subsequent innovation, the ‘Flipped Classroom’, was adopted in Year 12 to meet the needs of the content heavy HSC syllabi and standardised exit exams. Besides increasing academic success, the intention in undertaking these fundamental shifts towards student-centred, active learning pedagogies was threefold: increase student engagement; explicitly teach and assess important ‘soft’ skills; and repackage the curricula to be more representative of typical, authentic, industry-inspired, real-world projects and problems that students may encounter when they attend university and/or join the workforce. These modes of learning have proven most suited to (and popular in) the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects: this is unsurprising given their emphasis on the design process; experimentation; problem solving; portfolio process; project management and kinaesthetic approaches to learning. Moreover, these pedagogies place significant emphasis on the teaching and assessing of ‘soft’ or 'employability' skills that are almost identical to Engineers Australia’s (EA) ‘Professional and Personal Attributes’ work-related competencies. Consequently, given the PBL approach to learning and the desires of peak professional bodies like EA, what do STEM students, educated in a PBL environment, perceive universities doing to facilitate this skill development?


Monday December 7, 2015 3:50pm - 4:05pm
Zeally Room RACV Torquay map C5

Attendees (3)