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Working together: the positive effects of introducing formal teams in a first year Engineering degree

Author(s): Thomas Joyce | Clare Hopkins

Journal: Engineering Education
ISSN 1750-0044

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 21;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: team working | collaborative learning | focus groups | student feedback | first year

Students enrolled in engineering courses in the UK have a higher than average rate of non-progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2. In the academic year 2009/10, in response to these concerns, the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering at Newcastle University introduced a model of team working based on a scheme which had previously proved effective in increasing retention at another institution. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of students’ perceptions of the introduction of team working revealed both their appreciation of this way of working together with identification of aspects of the model requiring further refinement. Analysis of statistical data relating to progression from Stage 1 to Stage 2 for this cohort of students revealed an increased number of students continuing into Stage 2, from an average of 82.0% over the academic years 2005/06 to 2008/09, to 92.5% for the academic year 2009/10. This paper discusses the impact of the introduction of this team working through feedback provided by the students themselves.
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