Enhancing mechanics education through shared assessment design

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, 2016, 2016-June
Issue Date:
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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2016. There is considerable commonality between engineering undergraduate programs in terms of content, pedagogies, course structures and assessment practices, particularly in terms of engineering fundamentals such as mechanics. Despite this, and the availability of an array of online resources, there seems to be limited commitment to sharing learning resources among teaching academics and between institutions. Further, there seems to be a specific resistance to sharing those materials that support the teaching and learning of technical content1. Collaborations seen in research networks seem not to have equivalent presence in teaching and learning, despite a literature that points to the benefits of sharing curriculum resources 2,3. A few projects funded by the Federal Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) in Australia have made freely available resources as deliverables (A proactive approach to addressing student learning diversity in engineering mechanics 4; Promoting student engagement and continual improvement: Integrating professional quality management practice into engineering curricula5; Remotely accessible laboratories: Enhancing learning outcomes6 and many more 7). There has been varied uptake of these, however, and the long-term maintenance of online resources is problematic. There is also a literature that identifies sustainability challenges with open educational resources including funding and intellectual property rights 3. It could be argued that failure to provide resources and, concomitantly the uptake by teaching academics of such resources impedes student access to these resources and therefore impacts their learning. It also contributes to inefficiencies brought about by work duplication. The reasons for limited uptake of resources are both institutional and individual. However, there are nuances to what is meant by a resource, how resources are modified by academics and where in a program they might be used 1. For the purposes of this paper, we are looking at resources designed to assist in the learning and teaching of engineering mechanics. This paper presents the results of a workshop held as part of a project, funded by the Australian Council of Engineering Deans (ACED), to promote curriculum sharing across the 35 universities in Australia that teach engineering. It includes a description and analysis of the activities, an analysis of the workshop evaluation as well as one participant's reflection on the process.
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