Deakin University

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A systematic approach to teaching and learning development in engineering

conference contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Tiffany GunningTiffany Gunning, Siva KrishnanSiva Krishnan
Abstract: Context: Over the last three years, as academic course designers in the Learning Support Team, we have supported academic staff in the School of Engineering at Deakin University, to develop and implement courses and units using the Project- Oriented Design Based Learning (PODBL) approach. During this time, Deakin University also embarked on Course Enhancement, which was a major curriculum renewal process. Together, these strategic objectives aimed to improve student experiences and learning outcomes, thereby preparing them for the jobs and skills of the future. The school's initiative combined with the University's intervention, provided us the opportunity to work closely with academics. Our aim was to build academic capacity for developing teaching, learning and assessment activities, that enable our students to evidence learning outcome achievement. Purpose: Drawing from examples around teamwork skill assessment, this paper describes the systematic approach taken to support pedagogical change in academic practice, from a teacher- centred approach to a student- centred approach. We emphasise the need to support academics from the design stage through to delivery of teaching, learning and assessment of their units. Approach: Shifting the academic's thinking about their pedagogical approach, required review and revision of teaching, learning and assessment practices in many units. We interviewed academics and then workshopped ideas for teaching and assessing specific unit and graduate learning outcomes. Following the interview, volunteering academic staff members were recruited to implement changes to their units, in alignment with the course- level thinking. These academic staff were provided with personal one- on- one support to integrate graduate learning outcomes into their unit and assessment design. Our support then continued beyond the initial design phase to include practical advice during the teaching and assessing delivery phases, and ended with unit performance reflection and consolidation. Results and Conclusion: Shifting to learner- centred teaching and learning activities was quite confronting and challenging for most. A recurring theme was the reference to "soft skills", with the implication that these skills were not as important as the "hard skills" of discipline- specific knowledge. Additional concerns included lack of time, and the stress associated with teaching and assessing skills outside their 'comfort zone'. By taking this systematic approach, we were able to foster positive and trusted relationships with early adopter academic staff. This resulted in measureable growth and development in their teaching and learning skills. These academics in turn became role models for change within their course teams.





Sydney, N.S.W.

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Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2017, Australasian Association for Engineering Education


Huda N, Inglis D, Tse N, Town G

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2017 : Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education


Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (28th : 2017 : Sydney, N.S.W.)


Australasian Association for Engineering Education

Place of publication

Sydney, N.S.W.


Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference

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