Sustaining Curriculum Innovation: The Diploma in Chemical Engineering Experience

Sustaining Curriculum Innovation: The Diploma in Chemical Engineering Experience

S. CHEAH, D. SALE (2010).  Sustaining Curriculum Innovation: The Diploma in Chemical Engineering Experience. 16.


Curriculum innovation can be a long and challenging process in which a variety of conflicting interests and constraints have to be thoughtfully negotiated and addressed. It may take a number of years before the beneficial results of the desired curriculum change become evident. Adopting the CDIO Engineering Education Framework proved to be no exception. This paper details a major curriculum innovation for the Diploma in Chemical Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic in its journey to integrate CDIO into the three-year course program. 

The entire course structure of the chemical engineering curriculum was completely revamped to include systematic teaching of skills in conceiving, designing, implementing and operating as well as other selected CDIO skills, such as Interpersonal Skills (teamwork and communication), Personal and Professional Skills and Attributes, etc. This was achieved through a combination of structural curriculum changes, including introduction of new modules, integration and removal of existing modules. The outcome is a more efficient and integrated curriculum format that clearly incorporates appropriate learning outcomes for both technical content areas and CDIO skills.

Using the principles of an aligned curriculum, we identified the most appropriate pedagogic approaches to meet these learning outcomes, wherever appropriate, through an active and experiential learning context. This involved a careful analysis of module content and the learning opportunities they offered, and infusing CDIO skills that would naturally support the learning of technical subject content. The curriculum development planning cycle was completed through establishment of an assessment approach calibrated to the learning outcomes.

The paper firstly outlines the key phases of the CDIO implementation. This is followed by a detailed discussion of our sustained approach to infuse various CDIO skills into laboratory sessions of selected core chemical engineering modules. The final section presents main findings from a wide range of evaluation data collected over the past 2 years, identifies the significant learning experiences as well as the planned action for sustaining and enhancing the success of the innovation in future.


Authors (New): 
Dennis SALE
Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore
Chemical Engineering
CDIO Skills
Curriculum integration
Program evaluation
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