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Evaluating the effectiveness of a first year module designed to improve student engagement

Author(s): Peter Willmot | Glynis Perkin

Journal: Engineering Education
ISSN 1750-0044

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 57;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: engagement | transition | enquiry based learning

A key challenge for universities is to provide motivators, beyond those gained by the award of marks. Student engagement is essential for learning, as even the best teacher cannot succeed without it. This paper describes the evaluation of an innovative year-long module for mechanical engineering students that embraces competitive challenges, student-centred learning activities, problem solving, creative design and skills workshops that was designed to sit alongside and provide motivators for a broadly traditional first year curriculum. The module was under development for three years and anecdotal evidence suggested there were very positive benefits, so an independent evaluation was commissioned, funded by a small grant from the Higher Education Academy. The evaluation used both qualitative and quantitative methods of enquiry and largely confirmed what had been noted anecdotally. Following the evaluation, additional minor changes were made and feedback from the improved module is reported.
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