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Supporting students

Investigating students perception of some of the key learning activities in T272

Project leader(s): 
Foroogh Hosseinzadeh, Anne-Marie Gallen, Helen Lockett and Rafael Hidalgo
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

T272 is the first module in the undergraduate qualification that introduced the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Software, ANSYS, to provide a foundation for students to further develop their skills using this industry standard software in later modules.  Following T272, ANSYS has been introduced in the first Level 2 Mechanical Engineering A module (first presentation in 21J) and will be integrated in Level 3 modules (Mechanical Engineering B and Solid Mechanics and Materials Failure)

Also, T272 is the first module for students in Stage 2 that introduced an OpenEngineering Laboratory (OEL) Pressure Vessel Experiment in which students run the experiment on their own rather than simply observing or collecting data. In addition, the mathematical content in Part 2 of the module is a pedagogical major step up for students compared to the maths content in earlier modules.

T272 module team would therefore like to investigate students’ perception around learning on some of the key activities introduced in T272 related to ANSYS, the OEL experiment and the simulation tools provided in Part 2 of the module. We are interested in whether students make the connection with the taught theory when doing the activities and why students respond differently to the designed activities. 

This project will use Real Time Student Feedback (RTSF) questionnaires to collect data of their perception on these key activities. This will be followed by interviewing students whom responded to the RTSF. The outcome of the in-depth analysis of the collected data will be used to define recommendations for potential changes to the module material and inform future module design. It is hoped that the potential impacts of this project are for students to improve their learning experience, for the project team to improve their professional practice and for the university and the wider community of HE educators to improve delivering teaching materials.

Foroogh Hosseinzadeh, Anne-Marie Gallen, Helen Lockett and Rafael Hidalgo poster (PPT)

 

Developing student use of feedback on their marked TMAs

Project leader(s): 
Carol Calvert and Clare Morris
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

This project builds on and develops recent work investigating students’ non-collection of marked TMA scripts (Intranet only).

The previous work was undertaken by an AL and a staff tutor in their own time and has yielded potentially useful results; we now wish to design/test/build and evaluate an advice source for students and tutors. The goal being to improve student confidence, achievement and ultimately retention and progression.

A key element of this project would be to use the information we have acquired, particularly from the level 3 students, to help more students move more rapidly and effectively to actually using the feedback that they receive. This strand will involve development work potentially by both ALs and students. Materials developed will be evaluated using mechanisms appropriate for the materials and the implementation method. They are likely to mirror those in the document on the above scholarship exchange site.

There is also a need for a broad dissemination strand  to ALs using scheduled development sessions, the more informal PALS sessions and via proactively posting on tutor forums etc. This awareness raising will be assessed in terms of any hard evidence of non-collection being reduced. 

Outcomes would be - 

  • a series of presentations and discussions with ALs;
  • a recommendation to module teams  about what and where to post on module websites to encourage and monitor student take-up of marked TMAs;
  • development of materials to encourage both ALs and students to view the tutor primarily as a support to learning rather than as an “assessor”. 
  • Contributions to conferences and journal paper(s) – for example in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education or MSOR Connections

Carol Calvert and Clare Morris poster (PPT)

Engineering residential school or home experiments? A comparison from the perspective of both the student and the tutor

Project leader(s): 
Alec Goodyear, Iestyn Jowers, Jan Kowal and Carol Morris
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

Residential schools are essential for accreditation of our engineering qualifications by Professional Engineering Institutions and they have had to be temporarily replaced by a set of practical engineering activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students will be sent a Home Experiment Kit and be supported by synchronous and asynchronous tuition during June and July 2021.  There are four cohorts involved; T176 20B; T276 20B; T176 21B and T276 21B totalling approximately 1800 students. T176 students have no previous experience of a residential school, but the majority of the T276 students will have attended a residential school in the recent past. Students will be supported by Group and Activity tutors.

Phase 1:

This phase consists of a surveying a representative group of students from each cohort, via  comprehensive questionnaires, which would be conducted at the start of the period, at the end of each activity and in the final week of the practical engineering activities (w/b 24/07). Activity tutors would be surveyed at the end of each weekly activity and group tutors at the start and end of the period. The aim is to understand students’ study experience and whether they encountered any difficulties using the kits which affected their engagement and learning as well as understanding which activities have worked well and which have presented challenges for students/tutors. Real-time student feedback will be used to supplement information obtained from the more detailed surveys. We would also like to understand the experience of tutors and whether the tuition and support structures enabled them to work with students effectively.

Phase 2:

This phase would consist of individual interviews with both Stage 1 and Stage 2 students to gain a deeper understanding of their study experience on T176 and T276 and any ideas they have for future provision of practical work. For example, does the experience of those who have previously attended a residential school differ from those who have not? Alongside, we would carry out in-depth interviews with tutors – both existing ALs and those who were recruited short-term to support the experiments. Student and tutor views and their perceptions of the value of practical engineering to an academic qualification in engineering and to the wider employability needs will also form part of the interviewing.

Phase 3

Compare module results for the four cohorts listed above with previous years to see if there is any statistical difference in pass and progression rates and student satisfaction.

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