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Outcomes of blending project-based and traditional lecture-based  teaching approaches in engineering education at the United Arab Emirates University Outcomes of blending project-based and traditional lecture-based teaching approaches in engineering education at the United Arab Emirates University HOT

 

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT

 

CONTEXT  

Over  the  years,  several  teaching  approaches  are  trialled,  practiced  and  modified.  While  a  direct  flow  of information  from  academic  staff  to  students  is  the  central  view  of  traditional  approach,  the  project-based learning (PBL) approach considers an active and deep learning through engaging students in a real world issue in a collaborative environment. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, and majority of engineering programmes in the world still apply traditional lecture-tutorial approach. This study investigates the outcomes of a blended model (mix of PBL and traditional) in teaching some engineering courses at the United Arab Emirates University, with the aim of eliciting the advantages of both approaches.     

 

PURPOSE OR GOAL 

This study investigates the use of blended approach (mix of PBL and traditional) with the aim of eliciting the advantages of both approaches to enhance student learning outcomes. Constraints of PBL implementation in engineering education are their resource intensiveness, reluctance of teaching staff to embrace it and differences in  students’  learning  styles,  beliefs  and  expectations.  On  the  other  hand,  traditional  approach  is  generally considered  as  a  passive,  surface  learning  and  exam-focused  teaching  approach.  Therefore  the  outcomes  of blended approach of teaching are analysed and presented in this paper. 

 

APPROACH  

Two courses were selected, an undergraduate course GENG 315 (Engineering Practices and Entrepreneurship) and  a  post-graduate  course  GENG  602  (Environmental  Impact  Assessment:  Principles  and  Applications). Assessment  items  for  both  courses  included  class  participation,  quizzes, assignments,  midterm  exam,  project report (with presentation for the post-graduate course) and final exam. Students’ group projects consist of 15% and 40% of the total marks for the undergraduate and post-graduate course, respectively. Learning resources and controlled  information  were  provided  to  students  with  a  brief  outline  of  the  project  and  its  requirements.  Students were encouraged to freely set out the direction, range and timing of activities that facilitate them to reach the best learning results. They were allowed to choose their study team of 4 or 5 mates by themselves. At the end of the semester, students were handed out a questionnaire to assess their achievement in intended course outcomes  in  a  scale  from  1  (very  low)  to  5  (very  high).  In  accession  to  this,  students  performed  the  course evaluation at the end of the semester. The data were then analysed to find out how the blended approach helps students to achieve their course outcomes. 

 

ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES  

It was found that the blended approach of teaching in the selected engineering courses was very successful in terms of achieving students’ actual course performance, students’ evaluation of the course and their achievement in intended course outcomes. 

 

CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY  

Carrying out of blended model of teaching in engineering courses can help to minimize the problems of both the standalone traditional and PBL approaches. Even so the blended model needs to be designed appropriately and carefully so that it is well matched with the learning styles of students.   

 

KEYWORDS  

Project-based learning, traditional learning, blended model, course outcomes. 

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Created 2016-11-13
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