Adapting to engineering educational and teaching challenges

Karl Dearn, Athanasios Tsolakis, Thanos Megaritis, Doug Walton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The widespread reduction in teaching hours and increase in student numbers
has resulted in pressure to reduce syllabuses. The increased number of students with varied cultural background and the need for multi-disciplinary teaching in order to reduce teaching duplication and costs, introduces the need for teaching innovation and teaching methods that are effective. Difficulties are also arising in providing academic support particularly in tutorials. Even worse, a cultural situation is developing where the expected work levels for students are vague. This paper addresses these issues and looks at how syllabus contents in core engineering modules can be retained by concentrating on student self- learning. Three phases of student centred learning are proposed. First is the subject material itself and how this needs to be written and presented to the student.
Engineering encompasses fast advances, new technologies and applications that need to be integrated within the modules, while still equipping students with fundamental knowledge as well as communication and interpersonal skills. The second is a preliminary tutorial system in which students, working in student centred learning groups, start by answering broadly based questions designed to test their understanding of the subject before attempting the third phase, that of solving traditional type tutorial questions. Educational advantages that merge traditional methods of engineering education delivery with new and innovative methods, are described in this paper. It also includes details on the deeper understanding exhibited by students, illustrates a greater student involvement and enhanced tutorial support, as well as staffing implications and problems encountered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Symposium for Engineering Education
Subtitle of host publication(ISEE 2010)
EditorsEdmond Byrne
Place of PublicationCork, Ireland
PublisherUniversity College Cork
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium for Engineering Education
ISSN (Print)2009-3225


  • Student-centred,
  • small group,
  • learning,
  • formative assessment,
  • diversity


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