According to one recent study, pedagogical initiatives in many institutes of higher education are still largely drawn from faculty intuition and their experiences as students and teachers. The same report calls for future enhancements, particularly those related to the learning environment, to be grounded in learning theory. One promising area for enhancing student engagement in higher education is the practice of integrating research components in undergraduate courses and programs of study. However, in order for undergraduate research to be incorporated successfully into curricula, research skills need to be foregrounded in the general education years of the degree program. This paper describes a program of study, initially designed to compensate for a range of twenty-first century skills and competencies found to be lacking in students, and developed to promote engagement, enhance communication and research skills, and to foster cognitive development. The two Communication courses described here target first year undergraduate students at an engineering school in the Middle East, where English is the medium of instruction. For the vast majority of this population, English is an additional language, and the approach to studying and learning is one they had not experienced in high school. This paper describes the range of learning outcomes which are addressed in the two courses, and attempts to document gains which enable students to gain a better understanding of content, and also of how knowledge is created, thereby foregrounding opportunity for future participation professional life.
Robert Craig, Petroleum Institute, UAE
Stream: Curriculum research and development
This paper is part of the ECE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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