Below are all the abstracts for Session 8 of the STEM Conference 2017
Session 8.1: Integrating teaching and research in the undergraduate curriculum to produce industry ready science graduates
Dr Lee Byrne, Dr Chris Harvey, Canterbury Christ Church University
There are two specific challenges to produce industry ready science graduates: to provide students with relevant subject specific and transferable skills, and to provide them with appropriate industry engagement. A team of interdisciplinary Life Science lecturers shared the vision to develop a curriculum with a strong focus on research and knowledge exchange, which could help to enhance our students’ critical thinking, subject specific skills, and employability prospects. Research and research-like activities were put at the centre of the curriculum, moving students from being recipients of knowledge to collaborators in its production. We call this approach “research-involved teaching”. This session will provide an overview of key interventions.
Session 8.2: Challenges and opportunities for Embedding Employability in STEM programmes
Stuart Norton and Kay Hack, Higher Education Academy
The Campaign for Science and Engineering has estimated that there is a 40,000 annual shortfall of STEM skilled workers in the UK and report that 40% of all employers state that they prefer STEM qualified graduates. Why then should universities focus on developing employability of STEM graduates? Both the Shadbolt and the Wakeham reviews identify that challenges remain to ensure that all STEM programmes deliver the outcomes students need for their success. Fostering employability clearly matters, but what is it and are we getting it right? Does our approach to developing employability only prepare students to get their first job, or a professional career? Is it flexible enough to equip them for a wide range of careers, or only those in the discipline written on their degree certificate? Does our approach provide opportunities for all students?
In this interactive session you will have the opportunity to discuss these issues with fellow delegates, explore current practices, identify and prioritise gaps and consider how and where employability can be integrated into the curriculum. Through a structured dialogue around student employability and success, we hope to inform practice and help you develop a case for excellence.
Session 8.3: Teaching Hardware Security at Southampton University: A Course Design and Evaluation
Dr Basel Halak, Southampton University
This work describes the design and evaluation of a secure chip design module for graduate students and junior engineers with electronics and computer engineering. This course has two broad goals, the first is to teach students how design complex systems on chips using industry standard tools and the second is to educate them on emerging hardware security threats and countermeasures. The design principles of the course are explained in details, followed by a summary of the evaluation processed we have used and how they helped improved the quality of our teaching and enhance the students’ experience.
Session 8.4: Engineering Habits of Mind – what are they and how can we cultivate them?
Engineering and Materials
Dr Janet Hanson, Professor Bill Lucas, Swansea University
The predicted future shortfall in engineers has energised bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering to support initiatives in schools aimed at encouraging more young people to study engineering at post-secondary level. One such initiative, Thinking like an Engineer, has involved the exploration of pedagogies for teaching engineering to children that cultivate engineering habits of mind (EHoM). The aims and objectives of this workshop are to introduce the HE STEM community to EHoM and to explore how this concept might be used within HE to enhance students’ academic and employability dispositions, focusing in particular on the adaptation of an EHoM questionnaire for use in HE.
Session 8.5: Improving learning within Massively open online courses
Engineering and Material
Dr Manish Malik, University of Portsmouth
Inspired by the ‘Hole-in-the-wall’ experiment of Mitra & Dangwal (2010), research on a new MOOC format, Self Organised Open Course (SOOC) is presented. A quasi-Randomised Control trial (RCT) and a repeat RCT was used to evaluate Artificial Intelligence and Learning Analytics to encourage ‘Mastery’ of topics through social learning within a Microwave and Wireless technology teacherless SOOC. Learning gain of 13% more than the control group, where learners only watched videos and did quizzes, was found. Due to social learning the enjoyment and engagement was also reported to be high. Unlike in MOOCs, the participants experienced no information overload.
Session 8.6: How do we teach architecture to engineering students?
Ms Cheryl Pilliner-Reeves, Ms Chianna Roberts, London Metropolitan University
Engineering is perceived as the practical application of knowledge and less so as being creative; architecture is regarded as a more creative option. Two universities bridged this perceived gap with a cross-disciplinary collaboration on a course for engineering students taught by architects.
This presentation shares 2 decades of experience from BA Civil Engineering with Architecture. It addresses creativity and identifies teaching and learning methods that stretch the conventional engineer mind-set.
It considers transforming students with low creative confidence into award winners by way of a series of strategic steps in developing general creativity using architectural design as the evaluation vehicle.
Session 8.7: The BME attainment gap – defining the problem
Dr Nicholas Freestone, Kingston University
In the UK there is a well-defined Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) attainment gap in university outcomes in terms of final degree classifications. To be able to address this problem adequately we first need to understand it completely. University categories for minority ethnic status give rather broad choices within which students are supposed to define themselves. This may leave many students unable to “officially” define their ethnic identity in our current systems. This study seeks to ask individual students how they define their own ethnic identities and maps this granular data against module outcomes.
Session 8.8: Statistics anxiety, self-efficacy, and computational self-concept: which are the most productive targets for potential improvements in student engagement, transitioning, and success?
Dr Alex Marchant, London South Bank University
A recent HEA survey identified three factors that students self-report as contributing to them struggling with quantitative methods: statistics anxiety, lack of confidence, and the time elapsed since they had last studied mathematics (Field, 2014). The current longitudinal study measured these factors (and others) in a cohort of first-year psychology undergraduates. Results indicate that these factors are all unrelated to student academic attainment. Interestingly, whilst statistics anxiety was stable across the year, students’ level of self-efficacy and computational self-concept did significantly increase. Targeting factors that change with exposure to quantitative methods could lead to improved student engagement, satisfaction, and success.