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Independent learning using the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) EduPack software with large class sizes

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Author(s): Shezad Abdul-Rehman | Claire Davis

Journal: Engineering Education
ISSN 1750-0044

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 2;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: CES EduPack | Software Learning | Independent Learning

ABSTRACT
The Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) EduPack software has been used in undergraduate teaching at the University of Birmingham since 2006 for materials selection courses with small class sizes (typically 15 - 55 materials engineering students). In 2007 the software was introduced to first year undergraduates across the School of Engineering via an existing large class module (>300 students). In introducing the software it was required that the module contact time was not increased; independent learning was promoted and the existing syllabus was maintained. Thus the software was demonstrated within lectures and made available on the engineering computer clusters and via a CD available for personal student use. At the time of its introduction no exercises requiring its use had been developed or embedded in the course. Student feedback indicated that approximately 74% of students used the software to support their learning, although 94% stated that they recognised its potential as a beneficial tool. The main barrier preventing its use was unfamiliarity with the software and many students (34%) expressed the need for additional support classes. In response to the results, tutorial style questions based on the software were developed for the class of 2008, along with step-by-step guidance on how to answer them. Some lecture content was also compromised in order to allow discussion in class. An increased number of students chose to use the software during the lecture course (77%), with others indicating they would use it for revision and, unlike the 2007 cohort, the 2008 students commended its ease of use (35%).
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