Promoting integrative learning through student assignments

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NAIRTL_2009_KMcC.pdf(134.04 KB)
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McCarthy, Kevin G.
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National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL)
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This poster reports on an investigation with students taking a design course in a final-year Bachelor of Engineering programme to test the hypothesis that “careful selection of the continuous assessment topic will lead to an integrative learning experience for the students, helping to unify the different strands of the module and developing the students’ capabilities to apply their knowledge to new situations beyond the classroom environment”. The course investigated in this study, “Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design”, incorporates a continuous assessment element which contributes 20% to the final module grade. In previous years the continuous assessment was based around the use of a Computer Aided Design tool used to perform detailed simulations of a circuit block that had been introduced in class. For the 2008/9 academic year, the continuous assessment was based around a technical research paper which incorporated some elements that had been previously discussed in class but also incorporated some elements not seen previously by the students. In this way, the students were challenged by a new application scenario for their knowledge while at the same time being encouraged to see how the different strands of the module could be combined to form a useful commercial product as outlined in the research paper. This paper outlines how different elements of integrative learning such as an emphasis on real world problems, an emphasis on the interconnections between the course topics, the incorporation of a student seminar (student as teacher) and the use of reports and feedback were incorporated into the continuous assessment component of the design module. It presents the results of a questionnaire designed to uncover the students’ own opinions about their learning and provides an overall review of the investigation to identify the strategies that helped to promote integrative learning with a view to further developing these for future years.
Poster presentation at the NAIRTL National Academy 3nd Annual Conference, 11-12 November 2009, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Continuous assessment , Integrative learning , Engineering
McCarthy, K. (2009) ‘Promoting integrative learning through student assignments’, National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) 3nd Annual Conference, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 11-12 November.
© 2009, Kevin McCarthy.