Creating a community of freshers: A new culture in engineering education
From Simone Dimartino on June 1st, 2021
In this contribution I would like to share my experience with the blank-slate design of Engineering 1 (first delivery in 2020-2021 AY), the first course all engineering students take as they hit their university studies. In this exercise, part of a wider curriculum renewal effort at the School of Engineering, I decided to employ a project-based approach to develop professional skills while cultivating community building. Students played their role as “engineers in the making” since day 1, and inspired to deliver on 4 different group projects. Student teams were allowed to set their own objectives based on their interests and strengths, creating a safe environment where the whole team could explore their own capabilities as well as test their limits by interacting with their peers. Assessed reflective elements helped students nurture their self-awareness as individuals, and recognise the potential inherent to teams. The excellent level of interaction and coordination achieved by the teams is exemplified by the final group videos published in the Engineering 1 Media Hopper Replay channel https://media.ed.ac.uk/channel/RGM%2BSUBMISSIONS/190276703. This approach helped to create a community of more than 400 learners with very diverse interests and backgrounds (e.g. students from all engineering disciplines and from other Schools) and fully compatible with the virtual environment. I hope this community of engineering freshers will last over their university studies and beyond.