Designing Learning Experiences For Teaching & Assessing The CDIO Skill Hypothesis Testing

Designing Learning Experiences For Teaching & Assessing The CDIO Skill Hypothesis Testing

A. YUEN, S. CHEAH (2012).  Designing Learning Experiences For Teaching & Assessing The CDIO Skill Hypothesis Testing. 12.

The Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) in Singapore Polytechnic adopted CDIO as the organizing education framework for a major curriculum redesign initiative in 2007. Subsequently, various CDIO skills have been incorporated in specific core modules in the diploma’s three-year curriculum. This paper explains one such integration effort, specifically for hypothesis testing, a key CDIO skill in Section 2.2: Experimentation, Investigation and Knowledge Discovery. From our gap analysis, we find that this skill is most suitably embedded into the bio-processing related modules.

To provide a good understanding of the context of this work, this paper firstly outlines the expanded role of chemical engineers in the area of bio-processing and how the course structure and curriculum has been revised to align with these needs. We emphasize the significance of student competence in being able to formulate, state and test hypothesis in bio-processing work. We explain the need to provide authentic learning experiences to students to facilitate the learning of both the technical subject and soft skills in a fully integrated manner. Specifically the paper documents the work done to integrate hypothesis testing into a Year 2 core module entitled Bioanalytics. Other CDIO skills (e.g. teamwork, communication) are also integrated where appropriate.

We explained important learning points from previous practices in the module, which clearly communicated to us that we need to do more if we want our students to master this important skill. This paper also describe the re-designing of learning tasks based on real-world scenarios that provide for an authentic learning experience and aligns with the intended learning outcomes. We then present the survey of our students’ learning experience in this new approach. The results are highly encouraging as they show that the students feel they are well prepared with regards to hypothesis writing and testing.

In conclusion, several challenges faced when executing the change initiative and key learning points from the first author’s self-reflection, who is relatively new to the teaching profession, are shared together with ideas for further improvement of the coverage of “Experimentation, Investigation and Knowledge Discovery” in the DCHE curriculum.

(NOTE: Singapore Polytechnic uses the word "course" to describe its education "programs". A "course" in the Diploma in Chemical Engineering consists of many subjects that are termed "modules"; which in the universities contexts are often called “courses”.)


Authors (New): 
Aaron W.P. YUEN
Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore
hypothesis testing
Curriculum integration
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