Advertisement

The Use of PebblePad ePortfolio as a Tool for Teaching First-Year Engineering Design Practice

  • Ruby Naomi MichaelEmail author
  • Simon Howell
  • Chris Campbell
Chapter

Abstract

Engineering design practice is a new first-year engineering course at Griffith University that aims to give students an understanding of engineering for sustainability and to develop the foundational design and communication skills they need for their professional engineering careers. In 2017, students completed the Engineers without Borders Challenge (EWB Challenge) in teams of three to five to produce a design solution for a selected problem in Vanuatu. They also spent one week visiting a range of engineering workplaces where they prepared notes, recorded reflections and created a resume tailored to a graduate position. The PebblePad personal learning environment was used to guide the development of their 12-week engineering design project through a workbook called the Scoping Document and a portfolio called the Design Portfolio. A stand-alone workbook called the Employability Workbook was also used for one week to explore and reflect upon real-world futures they encountered through research and site visits. There was a significant positive correlation between student’s self-assessed achievement (SAA), and finding PebblePad was effective and helpful for achieving the learning objectives of the course, and when students were asked to finally judge the use of PebblePad, more than 80% said they would recommend the ePortfolio to students in the following year. While collaborative features need improvement, the teaching team found the PebblePad workbook format well suited to the iterative nature of the engineering design process and supportive for developing project-based group assessments. The learning designs, including details of the workbooks used and the assessment tasks they supported, are provided. Suggested future refinements are given based on the experiences of using these tools over one trimester to teach engineering design practice.

Keywords

First-year engineering Engineering design practice PebblePad Engineers without borders Project-based learning Sustainability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was made possible with the support of Christopher Allan. Thank you to Christopher for his valuable assistance and advice throughout the project including in supporting the creation of the PebblePad workbooks and learning designs, coordinating and conducting the interview of the teaching team and providing the opportunity to share this work via publication.

References

  1. Alam, F., Chowdhury, H., Kootsookos, A., & Hadgraft, R. (2015). Scoping e-portfolios to engineering and ICT education. Procedia Engineering, 105(2015), 852–857.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2015.05.102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennett, S., Thomas, L., Agostinho, S., Lockyer, L., Jones, J., & Harper, B. (2011). Understanding the design context for Australian university teachers: Implications for the future of learning design. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(2), 151–167.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2011.553622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3), 347–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university (4th ed.). Maidenhead: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Botterill, M., Allan, G., & Faulkner, M. (2009). Implementing a trial of a scalable enterprise ePortfolio system at RMIT University: A case study. In Proceedings of Learning Forum (pp. 40–45). London.Google Scholar
  6. Botterill, M., White, C., & Steiner, T. (2010). Developing professional skills: Introducing students to graduate attributes in first year engineering at RMIT. In Proceedings of Proceedings of ePortfolios Australia Conference 2010 (pp. 15–27).Google Scholar
  7. Dommeyer, C. J., Baum, P., Hanna, R. W., & Chapman, K. S. (2004). Gathering faculty teaching evaluations by in-class and online surveys: Their effects on response rates and evaluations. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29(5), 611–623.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02602930410001689171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donald, C. L., Blake, A., Girault, I., Datt, A., & Ramsay, I. (2009). Approaches to learning design: Past the head and the hands to the HEART of the matter. Distance Education, 30(2), 179–199.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01587910903023181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Engineers Australia. (2018). Accreditation management system. Accreditation criteria user guide—Higher Education AMS-MAN-10, Version 1.0. Retrieved April 18, 2018.Google Scholar
  10. Engineers Without Borders Australia. (2018). Background information. Retrieved August 27, 2018, from https://www.ewb.org.au/explore/initiatives/ewbchallenge/backgroundinfo.
  11. Faulkner, M., & Aziz, S. M. (2011) Stimulating self assessment in first year engineering using ePortfolios. ergo, 2(2), 5–17.Google Scholar
  12. Fielke, J. & Quinn, D. (2011). Improving student engagement with self-assessment through ePortfolios. In Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference 2011: Developing engineers for social justice: Community involvement, ethics & sustainability 5–7 December (pp. 473–478). Fremantle, Western Australia.Google Scholar
  13. Howell, S., Tansley, G., Jenkins, G., & Hall, W. (2018). An integrated professional practice and employability initiative in an engineering undergraduate program. In Proceedings of the 14th International CDIO Conference, Kanazawa Institute of Technology. Kanazawa, Japan, June 28–July 2, 2018.Google Scholar
  14. Jolly, L., Crosthwaite, C., Brodie, L., Kavanagh, L., & Buys, L. (2011). The impact of curriculum content in fostering inclusive engineering: Data from a national evaluation of the use of EWB projects in first year engineering. Paper presented at Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference 2011: Developing engineers for social justice: Community involvement, ethics &​ sustainability 57 December 2011 (pp. 203–209). Fremantle, Western Australia.Google Scholar
  15. Koper, R. (2006). Current research in learning design. Educational Technology & Society, 9(1), 13–22.Google Scholar
  16. Lloyd, M., & Bahr, N. (2016). What matters in higher education: A meta-analysis of a decade of learning design. Journal of Learning Design, 9(2), 1–13.  https://doi.org/10.5204/jld.v9i2.280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lockyer, L., Heathcote, E., & Dawson, S. (2013). Informing pedagogical action: Aligning learning analytics with learning design. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1439–1459.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764213479367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mor, Y., & Craft, B. (2012). Learning design: Reflections upon the current landscape. Research in Learning Technology, 20(sup1), 85–94.  https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v20i0.19196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.). Virginia, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruby Naomi Michael
    • 1
    Email author
  • Simon Howell
    • 2
  • Chris Campbell
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith UniversitySouthportAustralia
  3. 3.Griffith UniversityNathanAustralia

Personalised recommendations