IGIP Newsletter - Issue 01 - 2018

23rd April 2018

IGIP Newsletter - Issue 01 - 2018

The IGIP Newsletter enters into its second year with this issue. A warm vote of thanks goes to all who have contributed to this achievement. The Newsletter continues to provide up to date information about the initiatives of the members of the IGIP community, as well as being an open forum for presentation and discussion of new ideas and relevant initiatives in the field of Engineering Education worldwide.

Teresa Restivo & José Couto Marques

ICL2018 - 47th IGIP Conference, 25-28 September 2018, Kos, Greece

The 47th IGIP International Conference, "The Challenges of the Digital Transformation in Education", will be held in the International Convention Centre, Kos Island, hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. This interdisciplinary conference aims to focus on the exchange of relevant trends and research results as well as the presentation of practical experiences in Interactive Collaborative Learning and Engineering Pedagogy. The deadline for paper submission is 01 June 2018.

The Conference will also host the the IGIP 'Games in Engineering Education Award' (GinEE Award), the 1st ICL International Student Competition on Learning Technologies, as well as various Special Sessions, Workshops and Round Tables.

To find out more: click here

President's Column

By Hanno Hortsch, President of IGIP

Engineering Pedagogics in Kenya

The project of establishing a continuing education system for Kenyan university teachers and managers at universities was started in 2017 with the support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Partners in the project are 10 Kenyan universities in the first phase. The management of the project has been taken over by the TU Dresden. The IGIP has the role of a stakeholder in this project.

The objectives of the project are to create and advance the development of tertiary continuing and post-graduate education and training on topics related to engineering pedagogics and higher education management and to strengthen pedagogical competencies in higher education in Kenya. The achievement of these objectives has been through the mentoring of key partners in Kenyan universities by the TU Dresden partner as trainers and coaches with the development of an online platform for e-learning and online coaching underway.  Partner in this project is also the IGIP as a mentor for a future National Section in Kenya.

Ten modules have been developed which include:

1. Steering Higher Education Processes

2. Development of Organizational Culture

3. Project Management in Higher Education

4. Higher Education Marketing and Branding

5. Knowledge Management

6. Transfer Management and Entrepreneurship

7. Program Design and Adaptation

8. Re-engineering Pedagogy

9. Media Didactics

10. Assessment

An impact monitoring was carried out in October/ November 2017 which indicated that trainings with these modules for the relevant target groups are already going on as planned. The Kenyan project is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service until 2019.

Executive Board Column

By Teresa Restivo, IGIP Past President

When surfing the internet for pictures of lecture rooms from the past up to now, the main difference that can be found is the level at which the teacher stands [1, 2,-3] - from a higher level in the Middle Ages, to a lower level nowadays. Students sleeping, talking to each other or laughing can be observed, as well as a few really paying attention.

By surfing a little bit more, the effect of technology in the lecture room can also be found [4]. An engaging approach from the lecturer does not inhibit students from accessing their personal interest topics with the technology they also handle.

The real problem is that the teaching task can no longer be faced in this way: a theatre, a teacher delivering a topic and the students listening. The need for a collaborative environment is a demand followed in many other education institutions in the world [5, 6].

This methodology needs changes at institution/teacher/student level and investments in structuring lecture rooms, in organizing topics in discussion approaches and in promoting cooperative activity.

For the Institutions, coping with the modern students massive access would be very difficult. For teachers, whose work is not properly recognized in our modern era, facing that challenge will bring an additional effort. For students, not used to a proactive attitude, this will need a strong adaptation.

The International Society for Engineering Pedagogy, as any other Society with this scope, needs to promote the discussion in order to find ways of leading its community to analyse changing attitudes.

IGIP, as the unique Society offering a Pedagogical Curriculum for teacher development, has a double responsibility in debating this aspect and fostering its community in the modern age where achievement in teaching is not reached just because the teacher uses technology in the classroom. So, my challenge today is to ask all to contribute with approaches, suggestions and successful examples for promoting a large discussion of this topic in the next IGIP Newsletter.


Executive Board Column

By Axel Zafoschnig, Vice President of IGIP

Within the IGIP Austria Section, the year 2018 has also been named the “Year of Entrepreneurship in Engineering”, because engineering and entrepreneurship simply belong together. It has been a long-standing request by the Association of Austrian Industries that young engineers are also equipped with a genuine economics competence, with strategic entrepreneurial thinking, and with innovative ideas in the field of business leadership. At the same time, the European Commission also promotes the concept that young Europeans should be prepared for the world of work by fostering their creativity, their willingness to act innovatively, and their readiness to take risks. Together with the ability to plan and manage engineering projects successfully, the prospective specialists shall develop their entrepreneurship skills and shall thus help to found businesses, trades and companies in their various environments.

In this respect, it is the clear goal of the IGIP Austria Section to encourage young engineers to develop an entrepreneurial attitude along their engineering personalities, to promote self-employment, and to create a more valued culture of entrepreneurship within the engineering community. The main focus is hereby put on merging technology, innovation and economic efficiency successfully. This can also be achieved through the certification and accreditation scheme that IGIP Austria has already been running for the HTL (Secondary Engineering Colleges) for a few years. The certificates are awarded under the guidance of Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Stefan Vorbach from the Institute of General Management and Organization at Graz University of Technology. Through this process, the prospective engineers can achieve a certificate that confirms their skills and competences in Entrepreneurship.

This certification and accreditation program can also be extended to other countries and institutions, if needed. The IGIP Austria Section is willing to spread the idea and to provide advice to other interested organisations. First steps into that direction could be taken by registering for and participating in the Special Track “Entrepreneurship and Innovation“ at the ICL Conference 2018 in Kos. For this conference, any contributions in the field are, of course, most welcome!

Contact persons are MR Mag. Wolfgang Pachatz Wolfgang.Pachatz@bmbwf.gv.at and Dir. DI Jürgen Jantschgi juergen.jantschgi@htl-wolfsberg.at.

Message from the IGIP International Monitoring Committee

By Tiia Rüütmann (ING.PAED.IGIP), President of IGIP IMC

During the period January-March 2018 the IGIP IMC received 33 applications for the Ing.Paed.IGIP qualification. Ing.Paed.IGIP applications came from Russia (21), Estonia (3), and Slovakia (9). 18 applications from Russia have been approved, other are in the process of review. Members of the IGIP IMC reviewed applications online, in Conftool environment. For every application at least 2-3 reviewers were assigned.

I would like to thank the members of the IGIP IMC: Dr Dana Dobrovská (Czech Technical University Prague Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies, Czech Republic), Dr Ivana Simonova (Univerzita J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic), Dr Alexander Soloviev (MADI, Russia), Hants Kipper (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia), and Dr José Couto Marques (Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal) for their entire commitment, fruitful cooperation and thorough contribution to the work of the IGIP IMC.


Europe and the World, Bologna and the Future

By Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo, Rector, University of Porto

These notes are ultimately about pedagogy, a major issue of today´s university education that I shall comment within a wider context – that of European cooperation in Higher Education, in a global World going through times of significant instability. And this, of course, has to do with the Bologna Process, a major European movement with a political, an economic and an academic dimension, which aims at strengthening both European cooperation, mainly through the mobility of young people, and the European competitiveness worldwide, very specifically thinking of the opportunities (and related threats) of ‘Education without Boundaries”.

Now that the Ministers of Education of the 48 countries that signed the Bologna agreements are about to meet once again (this time in Paris, on 24-25 May, 2018) to set European policies for the future, it is worthwhile to revisit the structure and the substance of the academic dimension of the Process, formulating and answering the following simple question: what do we expect from Paris 2018 and beyond?

In global terms two main expected developments should be singled out:

-  The irreversible digital transformation of Universities, in all domains of its mission, which indeed is already on its way, being of interest to note that this transformation is experiencing relatively fast progress in the administration, in the research and in the innovation areas, but not yet significant advancement in the area of education. The latter is now a felt urgency in Europe, with the European Commission proposing an Action Plan, aiming at stimulating purposeful use of digital and innovative education practices.

-  A new ambition, right now on the move: the setting of Networks of European Universities.

In wider and more detailed terms, referring to the basics of the Bologna Process, we should expect for European Universities:

-  Concerning the structural objectives of Bologna: (i) to reaffirm the European dimension – furthering implementation, i.e. the inclusion of all 48 countries; (ii) to promote TRUST as the main requirement for cooperation, through making ever more transparent the Qualifications Frameworks, the Quality Assurance procedures and the Recognition of studies; (iii) to strengthen international cooperation, namely further supporting ERASMUS; (iv) to recognize short cycles in Higher Education, in order to promote mass higher education.

-  From the point of view of the academic substance: (v) to reaffirm Research&Education as inseparable pillars of the educational mission; (vi) to promote the Knowledge Economy; (vii) to definitely adopt a dual offer of education on campus and on line; (viii) to promote Student-Centered methodologies; (ix) to promote the use of Digital Collaborative and Cooperative Systems and of new tools for distance and cooperative learning, within a concept of education without boundaries and without walls.

The striking aspect of this latter challenge of transforming teaching and learning is that it requires significant pedagogical commitment from the academics, a requirement that, though uncommon in the traditions of Academe, is steadily being accepted and adopted as the third and the fourth waves of Pedagogical Qualification of Faculty [1].

Indeed, we face the challenge of adapting the academic substance to the times, thinking of our obligation of meeting the expectations of the young generations.

[1]     Anthony G. Picciano, Online Education Policy and Practice: The Past, Present, and Future of the Digital University, Routledge,  Taylor&Francis, NY, 2017

Talking about Teaching: Assessment for Learning - Part 2

By Susan M. Zvacek, Teaching and Learning Consultant, Castle Rock, Colorado

In my previous column, I described the value of frequent, meaningful assessment activities and their influence on student motivation. In this edition, I’ll discuss the role of feedback in shaping the activities themselves and improving their usefulness as measures of student progress.

Although feedback provided to students is a vital component of assessment, its significance as a source of guidance for instructors rarely gets the attention it deserves.  While it’s easy to identify potentially problematic assignments or tasks if every student does poorly, it may be less obvious when there is greater variability among scores.  Objective assessments (e.g., multiple-choice tests) are not always a robust source of information about learner progress, yet they allow the use of item analysis to identify questions in need of revision.  In this case, too many right answers may mean the question is not challenging enough, while too many wrong answers could suggest a too-difficult question or that the question is confusing or poorly written.  Item analysis can also identify questions that do not discriminate well between those who know the content and those who do not. That is, if the highest-performing students get a question wrong yet many of the less-clever are answering it correctly, that question is not considered a valid assessment of learning.

Unfortunately, while such analyses are computed easily with testing software, subjective tasks may require a more labor-intensive review of student performance. This is where an assessment rubric can be especially useful. By specifying the multiple characteristics of an exemplary outcome/performance and providing a descriptive continuum to describe degrees of mastery, the instructor can more readily identify task components that appear problematic. For example, with an end product that has five distinct, quantifiable attributes, a consistent dip in scores for one of those criteria may signal the need for a closer look at the assignment.

Although student performance data can provide information about the quality of the assessment itself, it should also prompt a review of the instructional efficacy of a lesson or unit of content.  Low results among many students (including high performers) on a particular task may be the result of ineffective teaching strategies, unclear expectations, low-quality content resources, and/or misalignment between tasks and stated outcomes. Unfortunately, it may also be the result of the students’ poor study habits – a more challenging factor to address. (An upcoming column will focus on study habits and strategies that instructors can encourage and how these are related to self-regulated learning.)

By using the information gained from well-designed assessments, instructors are in a much better position to hone their teaching and course design based on evidence. Ideally, we can use assessment data to design activities that facilitate learning – not just measure it.