Influences on Student Learning in Engineering: Some Results from Case Study Fieldwork

By Boles, W.; Jolly, L. et al. | Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Influences on Student Learning in Engineering: Some Results from Case Study Fieldwork


Boles, W., Jolly, L., Hadgraft, R., Howard, P., Beck, H., Australasian Journal of Engineering Education


1 INTRODUCTION

Currently, there is increased demand for engineers (King, 2008; Taylor, 2008; Engineers Australia, 2006) that is not matched by an increase in student demand for engineering programs. This highlights the importance of maximising retention rates of students in engineering programs. Nationally, the retention rate is 54% (King, 2008); that is, 54% of students who commence an engineering program graduate with an engineering degree. Can we do better than this?

To support and facilitate student success rates and engender active learning, there is a need to have a commitment to identify and respond to any weaknesses in teaching strategies, and in the learning environment in an integrated way.

To retain students and to evaluate the success or otherwise of their programs, universities routinely conduct surveys and collect data. However, it is vital to have sophisticated program evaluations that are well documented and supported by thorough data analysis. It has been observed that in data collected via the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), students may rate all aspects of teaching as being of high quality, yet they score the whole course/program's experience as being poor. Such a dichotomy highlights the need to have a closer look at survey questions, and other feedback and data collection mechanisms to gain insights into factors affecting engineering students' perceptions of quality teaching and to discover the reasons that contribute to their success. There is also a need to share research results in order to assist in stimulating a productive discussion on the matter.

This paper presents some results of the fieldwork of case studies associated with an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Fellowship program. It seeks to bring to the fore the connections between academics' aspirations for their teaching (teaching goals), their teaching approaches in the classroom, their learning styles and those of their students, and link those to possible influences of the academic institution on students' learning.

2 FIELDWORK SETUP

As part of the ALTC Fellowship program, case studies were designed and conducted at three Australian universities, including fieldwork that was carried out on site.

The sites chosen for the case studies reflect a range of institutions whose cultures and demographics could be expected to have an impact on students' abilities to learn how to learn. One of the universities is a technological university (Queensland University of Technology, QUT), one is a traditional "sandstone" university (The University of Melbourne), and one is a regional university (CQUniversity). The program leader at QUT worked closely with two program collaborators at the other universities to ensure consistency in carrying out field work at each site.

The case studies were used to gather and organise a wide range of information, which was then analysed by seeking patterns and themes in the data. A case study protocol (Yin, 2003) containing a set of procedures and general rules was devised and followed. The case study protocol considered the objectives and issues to be investigated, and the research questions to be addressed. Procedures for identifying and gathering information were also put in place to support the conduct of the program, and to ensure the achievement of its intended objectives.

At each university, a call for participation of academic staff was made via information sheets, discussions and presentations. These varied depending on the circumstances of each institution. The timing for conducting the studies was largely determined by semester schedules, and staff and student timetables.

The program leader was in direct communication with colleagues at QUT via formal and informal meetings and discussions. He was assisted by a program officer who communicated with all involved, and organised and kept track of activities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Influences on Student Learning in Engineering: Some Results from Case Study Fieldwork
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.