Technology-Enhanced and Personalised Laboratory Learning Experience for Undergraduate Electrical Engineering and Electronics Students
Keywords:Technology-enhanced learning, personalised lab experience, large cohorts, student satisfaction, personalised feedback, motivation, engagement
Teaching large and multicultural cohorts in lecture theatres is often a challenging task, and it becomes more challenging when it comes to laboratory teaching where students carry out practical work is involved. Students often complain about the quality of delivery with regards to the support they get from teaching assistants and technicians, and the lack of meaningful and personalised feedback they receive afterwards. Taking into consideration the fact that cohort sizes are often caused to increase from year to year, a serious sustainability issue therefore arises. Students in such cohorts may eventually disengage from their studies as a result of their perception of a lack of personalised learning experience. This often combines with other compounding factors into a downward spiral of disillusionment and demotivation that further jeopardises their studies and makes subsequent re-engagement less likely. Furthermore, the physical capacity restrictions of the laboratories and resources impose a further limit on how work is organised, and with constant budget cuts and increasing expectations and workloads, some form of crisis may seem inevitable.
This paper portrays how such a crisis was averted by implementing a package of transformational change delivered in a planned, incremental fashion over a period of 5 years to bring a notable improvement in the overall laboratory and practical coursework provision to second year Electrical Engineering and Electronics students, by employing a number of innovative approaches to enhance student experience. Moreover, the incorporation of tools such as instructional videos, online pre-lab and post-lab questions, blogs for student projects, weekly FAQs and Twitter feeds were particularly innovative and effective in their deployment, and resulted in a win-win situation in which both students and staff were able to communicate instantly and asynchronously in a manner that was hitherto not possible. This is particularly timely as the continuous increase in student numbers means that such techniques will be used increasingly. As a result, student satisfaction has improved in a steady and quantifiable manner, with a 29% increase over three academic years.
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Copyright (c) 2019 Ali Al-Ataby, Waleed Al-Nuaimy
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