Project and Team Based Learning - an Integrated Approach

Project and Team Based Learning - an Integrated Approach

D. Tedford, R. Seidel, M. Islam (2006).  Project and Team Based Learning - an Integrated Approach. 14.

One of the most important requirements of modern graduate engineers is their ability to manage and/or collaborate in complex, open-ended projects. This requires effective communication skills, both within the engineering profession as well as with non-engineering professionals. It also requires the experience and ability to work independently as well as in a team environment, with the ability to think both critically and creatively. It is widely recognised that project and team based learning, in particular within the framework of larger open-ended design and industry-based projects, provides undergraduate engineering students with the best opportunities to understand the complex multidisciplinary contexts that are typical for many professional tasks. The approach also helps students to develop the skills and gain the experience necessary to carry out projects successfully in the real world.

In this paper, the experiences gained from project based learning within design courses in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland are discussed. Issues covered include the identification of knowledge gained through project based design courses, the formulation of project objectives in connection with learning outcomes and assessment procedures, and the opportunities and challenges associated with project management and teamwork. Examples are drawn from the students’ initial exposure to project based learning in the first year design course, through to the final year open-ended project base course. A critical analysis has been performed to verify actual outcomes against intended outcomes from these courses in the context of the developed methodologies. The effectiveness of our project based learning approach has been monitored for a number of years through an elaborate student feedback process. The main outcomes and conclusions resulting from this feedback are discussed in detail.

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

Authors (New): 
Des Tedford
Rainer Seidel
Md. Ariful Islam
The University of Auckland, New Zealand
open-ended projects
open-ended design
industry-based projects
Undergraduate engineering education
Project based learning
learning outcomes
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