The Value of Immersive Learning Experiences within an 'Introduction to Engineering' Module

The Value of Immersive Learning Experiences within an 'Introduction to Engineering' Module

M. Murphy, T. Bullough, M. Johnson, S. Millard, A. Shenton, C. Sutcliffe (2006).  The Value of Immersive Learning Experiences within an 'Introduction to Engineering' Module. 10.

Students usually choose Engineering because they have an enthusiasm for creating new products, structures or systems. One purpose of ‘Introduction to Engineering’ modules is to implement active learning principles and build on this enthusiasm by engaging students, early in their programme, in the practice of engineering through problem solving and simple design-build-test exercises.

Introductory modules should seek to introduce the roles and responsibilities of professional engineers and the people they interact with; to illustrate how disciplinary knowledge is applied in the solution of engineering problems; and to target the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential to professional engineering.

The University of Liverpool has developed a new introductory module for all year-one students across six engineering disciplines: Aerospace, Civil, Design, Integrated, Materials & Mechanical. The module is structured around an intensive, team-based project in which students spend two weeks, full time, on the design-build-test of either a rocket, an aeroplane or a bridge (depending on their discipline). These immersive practical projects have been termed ‘Two Week Creations’ (TWCs). The module also includes an intensive CAD training week and a range of topics such as design theory, engineering drawing, professional practice, sustainable development, project management and personal development planning.

The module begins in Week 1, Semester 1 with a four-afternoon, team based project that engages all new students in a basic build-test exercise: introducing topics such as time management, work planning, team-working and experimental technique. This ‘Ice-breaker’ project is designed to prepare students for the TWCs and other learning experiences to come; and to introduce them to the Department, to its staff, and to each other. The icebreaker is one of the students’ very first experiences of undergraduate teaching and it provides a sound foundation for study by helping to foster a sense of responsibility towards learning, a sense of community within the Department and perhaps most importantly a sense of fun and enthusiasm.

This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation of this module; explores how it serves to integrate different elements of the first year curriculum; and discusses the learning outcomes delivered.

2nd International CDIO Conference, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden, 13 – 14 June 2006

Authors (New): 
M.L. Murphy
T.J. Bullough
M.W. Johnson
S.G. Millard
A.T. Shenton
C.J. Sutcliffe
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Active learning
Two Week Creations
CDIO standards
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