Curriculum Initiatives to Help Engineering Students Learn and Develop

Curriculum Initiatives to Help Engineering Students Learn and Develop

Duncan Fraser (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1809-1.ch005
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This chapter discusses two sets of initiatives: the first set aims to improve student learning in engineering through the use of computer simulations and Problem-Based Learning, and the second set aims to help students grow through building community and developing their sense of identity as engineers. The chapter shows how these initiatives have been underpinned by viewing learning as participation and not simply acquisition of knowledge, by embracing knowing, acting, and being as three pillars of curriculum design, and by recognising the important role that variation plays in learning. It also discusses other frameworks that have been drawn on, namely pedagogies of engagement, Problem-Based Learning, learning through computer simulations, and learning outside the classroom. The chapter concludes after describing each of these sets of initiatives in some detail.
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Conceptual Frameworks

There are a number of conceptual frameworks for learning that have strongly influenced the approaches we have taken to teaching and learning in our programme, as well as curriculum development in the programme.

The first conceptual framework is the set of perspectives on learning identified by Sfard (1998) and which we developed into a position paper in the Centre for Research in Engineering Education (CREE) at UCT (Allie,et al. 2007 and 2009). In this we argued that learning should be seen as taking on a discursive identity through participation in a community of practice, and not simply as knowledge acquisition.

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