Author(s): Sakari Lukkarinen (1) & Minna Lakkala (2)
Affiliation(s): (1) Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, (2) University of Helsinki
Date of publication: March 22, 2015
The Educational Problem
In engineering education in the universities of applied sciences, it is important that students learn, in addition to domain contents and professional practices, also social and academic skills such as learning to make systematic exploratory knowledge work, working in groups, explicating one’s ideas to others, or peer evaluation.
The ways of working and nature of tasks in the bachelor level Sensor Technology course was designed to support the practicing and learning of various skills. The students worked collaboratively to create wiki pages around the topic - sensor technology (e.g. how the common sensors work electrically and physically, how to design and verify measurement systems, how to analyze measurement systems, how to optimize signal to noise ratio and analyzed examples of real-life sensors and measurement systems). At the end of the course, the students produced a presentation of another group’s topic in a new group composition and gave the presentations in small groups. Students wrote weekly self-evaluations and commented on other groups’ products several times using Moodle tools. There was natural cross-fertilization in the course because students both from English and Finnish study programs participated in the course.
Producing wiki articles was a good assignment; also another student group was able to participate in the knowledge production through a shared wiki site. Moodle’s Workshop tool was useful when the students cross-evaluated each others writings. It is important to keep the structure of the virtual spaces simple enough. The organization of the last seminar as making a presentation from some other group’s article was an interesting experiment; students had to work for common good, not only for their own product. However, the task also received critical comments from students; they would have liked to make presentations from their own theme. There has to be some way to promote cross-fertilization between groups, but the solution needs improvement; perhaps more commenting tasks throughout the course and also face-to-face interaction between students. Also some concrete hands-on work or lab work with sensors should be added in the course. The supervision and guidance of the groups’ progression could be improved.
Materials and Links
- Course wiki for students’ articles about Sensor Technology: https://wiki.metropolia.fi/display/sensor/Sensor+Technology+Home
- Final presentations were made by PowerPoint using the idea of Slidedocs http://www.duarte.com/slidedocs/