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Aligning renewable energy engineering units to a design studio based curriculum

Calais, M., Armarego, J. and Cole, G. (2004) Aligning renewable energy engineering units to a design studio based curriculum. In: ISREE 10 (International Symposium on Renewable Energy Educators), 28 Nov.-1 Dec. 2004, Perth, W.A.

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A number of constraints have initiated a major curriculum revision of the Bachelor of Engineering degrees offered at Murdoch University (MU). The new curriculum will have mostly traditionally taught units in first and second year followed by design studios in third and fourth year, incorporating problem and project-based learning. Two examples from European Universities where problem and project based learning have been embedded in engineering curricula are reviewed. They highlight many positive aspects of student-focused teaching methods, but also show that there is inevitably some loss of technical competency for engineering graduates. The paper then investigates the transition from two traditionally taught units in Photovoltaics and Wind Energy Engineering at MU to an engineering design studio that is part of the Renewable Energy Engineering specialisation. First core content centred learning objectives are determined before a number of possible projects are evaluated. It is found that, in order to achieve technical as well as process skill competency, students should be exposed to a number of projects and a combination of traditional and problem/project-based learning methods should be applied. The paper also discusses the challenges of a successful implementation of the design studio model at Engineering MU, which will require resources, training and support for staff so that they are prepared for their new roles in a more student focused learning environment.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering Science
Publisher: International Association for Solar Energy Education
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