Chapter: Chapter 5

5.7 Student Centred Learning


A comment: Some of the students in your class are probably quicker and smarter than you; (I always hope so!) It is almost a cliché that we would like students to be confident and self-motivated, to ‘take control of their own learning’ or ‘own their own learning’ and to regard academics as one of the most … Continued »

5.6 Examples of PjBL


Graham (2010) identified seven highly-regarded and transferable types of PjBL projects. These are: Icebreakers (where team building is more important than the product); Partnerships with local companies; Product design; Video production; Robot competitions; Artefact analysis and improvement (reverse engineering); Crime scene analysis. I would add another: 8.  Social service projects, which might be based around … Continued »

5.5 Project-based Learning


Project-based learning is often confused (or conflated) with problem-based learning and both usually carry the acronym PBL, although Graham (2010), in a recent very comprehensive report, has coined the abbreviation PjBL. A definition of PjBL given by Prince and Felder (2006) is: ‘Project-based learning begins with an assignment to carry out one or more tasks that … Continued »

5.4 Problem-based Learning


Problem-based learning (PBL), at its most straightforward, involves posing a question (usually but not always open-ended) to a group of students who are provided with resources and a facilitator, but no lectures. It is widely used in medical education. In engineering the problem might be in the context of design – ‘devise a system to … … Continued »

5.3 The Tutorial


The word tutorial is used in different higher education contexts to indicate everything from one-to-one sessions to a lecture by another name. For our purposes let’s define it as a timetabled activity with a group of students which is smaller than the full class, and during which the lecturer speaks for a significantly shorter time than the students. … Continued »

5.2 Active things to do in lectures


Active things to do in lectures Feedback via smartphones (or, decreasingly by dedicated personal response systems – clickers). Ask a question at least once every 15 minutes. If you don’t have the technology (phones or clickers) ask for a show of fingers (‘raise 1 finger for answer 1’ etc) or issue four coloured cards which can … Continued »

5.1 The lecture


A question: If every lecturer had to publish all their teaching material openly, in advance, what would they want or need to do in a “lecture” period? Lectures are the staple of most existing engineering degree programmes. However, it has been known for many decades [Bligh, 1972, the book which first made me think about … Continued »

Introduction: Chapter 5


Teaching, Learning and Assessment A question: Do all students learn in the same way that you did? What you might take away from this chapter: An appreciation that there are very many ways of encouraging active learning and understanding; An understanding of several ways of enlivening a class even when it is held in  a lecture theatre; The … Continued »