Proposed vertical integration of prior learning to support students undertaking chemical engineering design

Fletcher, Ashleigh and Boon, Stuart (2013) Proposed vertical integration of prior learning to support students undertaking chemical engineering design. Education for Chemical Engineers, 8 (2). e27-e85. ISSN 1749-7728

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Abstract

During academic session 2008-2009, the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, changed Year 4 Chemical Engineering Design project teaching to include mixed groups from Bachelors and Masters programmes; team delivery and two separate components of design. This paper presents data for 408 students studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde pre and post change; exploring the impact of these changes and highlighting potential for supported, vertically integrated learning programmes, across the first four years of teaching, to provide a framework fostering student confidence and autonomy. The impact of course restructuring indicates that Bachelors students' aspirations are increased, with no detriment to Masters performance. Early years performance over this period is unchanged, allowing separate investigation of the changes made in 2008-2009. Gender basis analysis shows that male students' performance is little affected, although the whole cohort fit shows a marked change due to the improved performance of low attaining female students. Post 2009 final performance shows direct correlation with Chemical Engineering Design mark, suggesting the latter may indicate final expected grades for given students. The study reveals widely applicable benefits for increased student motivation, managing expectation, and facilitating students' utilisation and integration of knowledge gained during their studies.