A Case of Implementation of an iPeer Software Tool to Assess and Develop Engineering Students Teamwork Capabilities in a Large Class Environment
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Due to the growing administrative challenges and addressing the need for creating efficient large class learning environment a peer review approach was introduced as a part of Engineering Management module’s teamwork assessment. The module is compulsory to all engineering disciplines and has an annual class size of ±1000 students. As a result of the enormous class size the workload of academic staff has concurrently become unfeasible, especially concerning the student assessment and feedback. Furthermore, the industry feedback indicated that the current system was not successfully producing these employability capabilities needed in the real world. This competency gap between students’ actual teamwork skills and the skills required by the industry further sparked the need to revisit the teaching, learning and assessment practices of teamwork. Hence the technology assisted peer review provides a possible solution to maintaining the workload as well as the prospective to work smarter and more impactfully than what of with the traditional approaches.
This paper aspires to advance a better understanding regards the utilisation of peer review and its educational value in a large class size environment as the existing literature currently focus on small class size applications (Brill 2016, Cheng et al. 2015, Nicol et al. 2014, Ballantyne et al. 2010, Willey and Gardner 2010, Ballantyne et al. 2002, Topping 1998).
This is an interactive mix methods study with a multiphase concurrent interdependent design. The emphasis is in practical approach and the considerations of practical reality as the instructors in the high education institutions under the pressure of growing class sizes are in constant need of useful tools and new practical knowledge to better operate in their environment. The convenience sample included 826 students forming 166 teams. The first phase is a compulsory peer review for the students, when the participation to the following second phase feedback questionnaire is voluntary. The results are qualitatively coded and statistically analysed and the outcomes are integrated throughout the study completing in a meta synthesis. The purpose for applying a mixed methods approach is to seek complementarity through more deeper elaboration and clarification of results by using qualitative data as supplementary means to illustrate quantitative results.
After the completion, it has become apparent that peer review can be used for assessment for a teamwork evaluation with certain limitations and that it has a positive impact on students' self awareness, as also recognised by the previous studies (Purchase & Hamer 2018, Willey and Gardner 2010, Willey and Freeman 2006, Clark 2005). The cognitive learning is however limited because of the lacking integration of the peer review to an academic process. This paper argues that the peer review doesn’t provide a ‘quick fix’ automatically improving students’ teamwork capabilities but rather only assists in highlighting the problem areas when used in isolation. To enable actual cognitive learning and skills development a more systematic approach involving curriculum development is required where teamwork skills are developed gradually through different modules from first to last year.
Project Management of Global Project-based Learning Course for Innovation and Sustainable Development
1Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan; 2King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand; 3Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Indonesia
In recent years, educators have made changes to the curriculum of engineering education. These changes have been incorporated because the society now expects engineering education to sensitize students about social problems apart from imparting technological knowledge. It is necessary to link education to societal needs and innovation. The innovations in education would need to enhance practical training to create new values at each stage of undergraduate and graduate studies. In line with these trends, science and engineering educational institutions have developed various project-based learning educational programs.
In 2013, we designed a global project-based learning (PBL) course, which we have been implementing until now. The global PBL course is an engineering educational project for fostering innovative and globally-minded engineers and scientists; this course is based on multidisciplinary, multinational, and an industry–academia collaborative project-focused learning. The participants included third- and fourth-year undergraduate students and first-year graduate students from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Vietnam. The project themes were related to sustainable development goals and real-world problems in the industry, and they covered a wide range of topics, such as energy, transportation, environment, poverty, natural disasters, and education. Multinational-student teams first determined and defined social, technical and interdisciplinary problems, and they then designed and prototyped the necessary solutions.
Global PBL programs comprise two types of projects: (i) projects for the faculty and (ii) projects for students. To implement the global PBL program, the faculty needs to perform certain project activities such as designing an educational program to improve the international learning environment and implementing, controlling, and continuously improving educational activities. This international collaboration project conducted by the faculty enables students to conduct active learning in Japan and abroad. Project deliverables and activities are organized as a work-breakdown structure (WBS) prior to the commencement of the project. This process involves defining the roles of the faculty members, preparing a schedule for the preparation phase, and implementing the global PBL program. The faculty plans, executes, monitors, and controls the project. At the end of each year’s global PBL course, the Keep–Problem–Try (KPT) method is used to implement continuous improvement. “Keep” includes the items that should be kept because they are good. “Problem” refers to the problem areas that require improvement. “Try” refers to trying new ideas. The KPT method is a mental framework used to determine the actions taken for improvement. At the end of the course, the faculty describes the KPTs in line with the WBS items. The KPTs are then collected and shared among the faculty and continuously improved.
The students develop their own project plans; they execute and control these plans in a global environment. Quality assurance of the developed education program is achieved by assessing the learning outcomes based on the rubrics and using an assessment test called the Progress Report on Generic Skills.
Engineering students' perspectives on the use of group work peer assessment in two undergraduate Industrial Engineering modules
1University of Waikato, New Zealand; 2University of Pretoria, South Africa
Group work is commonly used in undergraduate engineering curricula as it cultivates attributes that make graduates work-ready. However, freeloading behaviour, frequently observed at university level, spoils learning benefits and can deepen marginalisation and prejudice. Therefore, conversations about how to fairly credit individual contribution in group work are ongoing in literature and practice. Peer assessment is a popular mechanism for distinguishing individual marks, but it is not without its criticisms. This study evaluates students' perspectives regarding the use of mark-influencing peer assessment in two junior-level Industrial Engineering courses at the University of Pretoria. The findings show that students acknowledge the learning benefits of group work but group work overuse and freeloading mars their experience. They support the use of mark-influencing peer assessment in general, regardless of whether groups are self-selected or allocated. The study's findings offer practical insights for engineering educators and broader inputs to the development of assessment policies.