Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Feedback from the Engineering Group at the 24th June TASH event

Feedback from the Engineering Group:

Group membership: Plato Kapranos (Materials Eng), Juliet Wilson (plagiarism working group ) , Jen Rowson (Mech Eng), Tom O’Brien (student – Biomedical Engineering) , Alice Lawrence (ELTC), Linda Gray (ACSE)

Priorities/ what does Engineering need from TASH:

  • Lab reports – how to write. (Please note that Tom O’Brien is writing a guide. Also Jen Rowson (Mech Eng) has a guide - see below)
  • Observing that engineering students have lots of contact time early on, and that therefore engineering students appear to expect that all work must be done in contact time. Engineering departments want to move students on from much contact time/little independent work to little contact time/much independent work as their academic career progresses. To do this, one priority is to encourage student skill acquisition in information gathering and to get students to buy into doing this information gathering.
  • Referencing – with a real need for consistency within departments and across departments. At the moment students are either told to use one method for one piece of work and another method for another, or they aren’t given a specific system to use at all.
  • Helping students relate criteria used in assessment to examples of real work. Helping students understand how different assessment criteria reflect developmental stages.
  • Helping to show students how they are expected to develop through their academic careers.

Resources already available:

  • ELTC resources – online and face-to-face
  • Library’s ISR , in which there is a specific Engineering hub (which ACSE contributed to)
  • MATLAB tutorials – several available in University, and Tom is writing another MATLAB tutorial
  • JAR’s (Anthony Rossiter's) animations on MOLE for systems related to modelling electrical circuits. JAR’s simulations on MOLE for pendulum and particle3D.
  • MASH material – extensive support for Maths
  • MECH eng has guides to
    o Writing lab reports
    o Literature reviews
    o Referencing
    o Plagiarism
  • ACSE and AERO have material for educating about plagiarism and collusion, which has also been adopted by the Uni plagiarism working group
  • Peter Judd (EEE) has developed some animations to support teaching the C programming language

How could TASH be used in departments:

  • Linked to from student portal - with noticeable pop-up or other attention getting icon.
  • Buy-in by lecturing staff, to include mention of during lectures/assignment descriptions. If appropriate could also demonstrate interaction with TASH during lectures
  • Personal tutors – could devote personal tutorial session to showing tutees material on TASH
  • Perhaps don’t talk about TASH much in induction, because of the information overload problem.
  • “Foreground expectations” – repeatedly make it clear that lecturers intend students to use the TASH resource.
  • Weekly calendar reminding students of academic schedule (specific to department), with mention of relevant material in TASH for the current assignment/task

Challenges for the TASH project:

  • Making it specific enough for individual students
  • Every department will want different things from it
  • Finding material that is already available
  • Embedding into the subject discipline, because TASH type material is not of itself interesting. For this reason a large example set for subject specific tutors will be necessary.
  • Making resources available to allow students to catch up to already assumed levels. (This is a particular issue in the service-module oriented engineering faculty).
  • Overseas students (of which the engineering faculty has a large number) – may be overwhelmed by visual information if their English language skills are weak, so the design needs to carefully limit the information on the page without being too simplistic therefore patronising.
  • Overseas students’ previous experience of using IT will vary depending on country.


Willy Kitchen said...

Two questions from an engineering innocent: what are MATLAB tutorials, and what is meant by "service-oriented modules"?

Linda Gray said...

how about this for a late late reply:

MATLAB is a high level computational tool used extensively in Engineering. Students often want guides on its use - and such a guide would be a "MATLAB tutorial".

Engineering is service module oriented, in that the regulations for a large number of the degree programmes offered in Engineering contain specific modules from other departments. These modules are referred to as service modules.