Torres, MF; Sousa, AJ; Torres, RT;
International Journal of Technology and Design Education
Replanning is often used to optimize results of an activity in an ever changing world. To address the challenge of preparing future engineers for success, a special course was created for all engineering freshmen of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, in Portugal. Presented as a case study, this special course underwent a careful replanning as a result of several years of experience in teaching practice alongside with a theoretical deepening in pedagogical and technological issues, under the aegis of the action-research methodology. Within the context of the case study course, the mentioned replanning was also based on a theoretical approach that clearly identifies teaching–learning-assessment methodologies that promote regulation from those that foster emancipation, using a specific instrument: a taxonomy of educational processes. The replanning was designed to globally boost results regarding the educational aims of the course such as furthering freshmen’s integration into work environment and preparing them for success by fostering transversal skills (needed for study and work). Technology is seen as a mean of education enrichment as well as a productivity tool. The introduced innovations include fun-but-educational activities, several types of assessment over time and specific technological tools which were critical for the educational impact/achievement of this course. Success is demonstrated by encouraging feedback from the stakeholders, high students’ classifications and a steady reduction in retention. It is advocated that large portions of the reasoning behind the replanning can be extrapolated to other courses. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Torres, M; Ferreira, S; Sousa, A; Moreira, L; Torres, R;
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION
The presented research explores four years of newcomer engineering students at FEUP, one of the largest faculties of engineering in Portugal. The students are surveyed in a mandatory course common to all engineering programs at the mentioned faculty, totalling an involvement of about four thousand. This research explores the perceptions of 1198 newcomer students regarding learning and satisfaction, workload, integration into academic work environment and institutional support whilst trying to find gender differences regarding the following variables: engineering program, academic year and change of residence. The questionnaire used in the presented research was validated and its internal consistency was excellent. The findings reveal that students' perceptions on learning and satisfaction as well as on institutional support (two out of four factors) are consistently similar between genders throughout the four years of the study. The differences found between male and female students on integration and workload, however consistent, are small if not marginal. The study is significant because it shows the relevance of the optimization efforts for integration (in the academic work environment) introduced in a mandatory course at the start of engineering degrees in order to bridge the gap between male and female students. This research shows that we are walking towards gender equality in engineering, but we feel that there is still some effort to be done, namely through inspiring scholars to analyse and act upon academic contexts and higher education governance without prejudice and with an open mind: a commitment that is as hard as necessary.
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