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Using theory to improve design instruction in a new common first-year programme for engineers
European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) (2015)
  • Una Beagon, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Ted Bruke, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Shannon M. Chance, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • C. Fionnuala Farrell, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • John McGrory, Dublin Institute of Technology
We represent a group of lecturers teaching a design module in a new common first-year engineering programme, delivered for the first time in the 2014-5 academic year, which provides a single entry point for all honours Bachelor of Engineering majors at our institution. In this paper, we describe the rationale and format of the Design Projects module. We explain how we used theories by Crismond and Adams [1] in the module and what we observed in doing so. The Design Projects module comprises three separate group-based design projects. It has four weekly contact hours over the entire academic year and accounts for ten ECTS credits (out of 60 earned in first year). Each student takes part in one semester of robot building, half a semester of bridge design and construction, and half a semester designing and constructing a model energy efficient building. A student completing the module should, inter alia, be able to: operate effectively within a design team; apply engineering concepts and design tools to solve engineering problems; and solve problems by following appropriate specifications and standards. To enhance our team‟s efforts in explaining effective design process to students, a small group of lecturers volunteered to participate in a project proposed by a visiting Marie Curie Fellow. Individually, we read the article “The Informed Design Teaching and Learning Matrix” [1] and analysed its two-page matrix. We then met several times to discuss the matrix and its relevance to our module. Having found this very useful, our aim in writing this paper is to introduce the matrix to a wider audience and to make it more accessible for ourselves and for others to use.
  • design,
  • rubric,
  • first year,
  • reflection
Publication Date
Citation Information
Una Beagon, Ted Bruke, Shannon M. Chance, C. Fionnuala Farrell, et al.. "Using theory to improve design instruction in a new common first-year programme for engineers" European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) (2015)
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