AAEE 2007 Workshops and Fora

National Symposium on Mathematics Education for 21st Century Engineering Students

Friday, 7 December 2007, 9:00–17:00 (RMIT University)

The purpose of the national workshop is to energise interest in teaching mathematics to engineering students. It will provide an opportunity for people to showcase different teaching ideas, discuss issues and generally create a forum for discussion. Results of the national survey will also be given, together with some exemplary case studies.

There will be four invited talks, and a number of short contributed talks, each followed by discussion. This will allow time for a brief description of pedagogical techniques and outcomes, with little discussion of the background theory and philosophy. There will be longer discussion times after groups of talks to reflect more widely on the input. A panel session to close the day will attempt to identify potential ways forward. Discussions and papers will be continued at the AAEE conference.

Teaching and Learning with Style: A Learning Styles Workshop

Sunday, 9 December 2007, 11:00–16:00 (Alice Hoy Room 242)

A growing body of research suggests that increased learning gains can be achieved with college students when instruction is designed with learning styles in mind. In addition, several practitioners within the domains of science, engineering, and technology education have noted the importance of embedding a learning style approach within a variety of teaching strategies. Furthermore, attention to learning styles and learner diversity has been shown to increase student motivation to learn.

In this interactive workshop, the research base on teaching and learning styles will be outlined. Emphasis will be placed on specific applications of teaching and learning styles in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Additional emphasis will be placed on the critical role that a learning style approach can play in terms of STEM education.

This workshop will begin with an overview of several available learning style models and instruments. Information regarding how to choose the right assessment tool(s) for use with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students will also be shared. In addition, a description of some of the highlights of reported studies and programs involving learning styles in STEM education will be given.

Following this introduction, a more detailed look at two specific learning style models will be provided. The basic elements of these two learning style models will be described. In addition, the Kolb assessment will be administered during the workshop thus allowing participants the opportunity to identify their own individual learning styles.

Specific examples of teaching and learning strategies utilized at our respective institutions will be shared. Central to each strategy is the fact that when students' individual learning style preferences are accommodated their motivation to learn increases. When students are more motivated to learn the potential exists for enhanced learning and increased learning gains.

As time allows, a comparison between learning style and personality type will be presented. The most well-known instrument used to assess personality type is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI was developed by Isabel Myers and is based on the theories of Carl Jung. Workshop participants may have the opportunity to complete a modified MBTI and receive a formal summary of their individual personality types. Use of the MBTI as an indicator of personality type will be compared and contrasted to the assessment of learning style via the Dunn and Dunn and Kolb Models as time permits.

The workshop will be led by Teresa L. Larkin and Dan D. Budny.

Industry Presentations

Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:00–12:30 (ICT Theatre 1)

Session chair: Frank Bullen

This session provides several exemplars of industry-university engagement in educational programs.

Industry Collaboration Workshop

Monday, 10 December 2007, 13:30–15:00 (Executive Lounge, Alan Gilbert Building)

In this workshop, senior industry representatives and Associate Deans (T&L) of engineering schools/faculties will meet to consider key recommendations from the Review, such as:

  • What are the best-practice models for industry-university engagement in educational programs? How can we raise awareness of what is on offer and what is possible?
  • How can we leverage our collective strength to develop common resource materials and also economise the effort that we are all making?
  • How can we share the responsibility and risk for these shared developments?

Discussions will cover: Industry input into curricula, both undergraduate and postgraduate; industry-based learning programs, including vacation work and part-time study; industry input into teaching activities, for example as adjuncts, in design projects, and so on.

Outcomes will be summarised and reported to all participants after the conference.

Industry Forum: Developing Industry Linkages

Monday, 10 December 2007, 15:30–17:00 (Executive Lounge, Alan Gilbert Building)

This event follows on from the Industry Workshop with the intent of developing plans for specific industry linkages with universities. It is relevant for those who might be involved in, or consider the development of industry linkages with Engineering. We will explore how industry could best be engaged and incorporated into Engineering programs.

Key questions that we want to discuss include:

  • What role should industry have in Engineering programs?
  • What role does industry want to have if any in Engineering programs apart from sourcing graduates?
  • What links do the various Engineering Schools already have with industry? Are they at a general Industry Advisory Committee level or do any Schools have deeper linkages such as summer vacation work or final year work placements and internships?

We also want to address

  • How to establish linkages with potential partner industries? The development of partnership programs at Murdoch and Macquarie will be outlined.
  • Does industry have a role in each School's curriculum development and if so, how are these views gathered assessed and integrated into the curriculum?

Finally we will ask

  • Does this partnership between industry and Engineering have a role beyond work experience? Can there be a role for industry/University partnerships such as being a factor in the recruitment of students from high schools, or perhaps providing opportunities for skills and qualifications upgrading for employees with technical qualifications from within the industry partner?

The forum is led by Daniel McGill and Graham Town.

What Do We Know about Students' Learning Styles and Our Own Teaching Styles: Implications for Attracting and Retaining Engineering Students

Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:00–12:30 (ICT UG15)

Nationally, we must address ingrained educational problems in our engineering programs in order to retain the students we have and increase program intakes. Currently, there is an increased level of interest and activities to explore various aspects of Engineering Education, especially those supported as Carrick research and development projects or fellowship programs. Research shows that there is a mismatch between students' learning styles, staff teaching styles and engineering pedagogies, causing students to disengage from the discipline. This workshop will explore possible processes of investigation, analysis, problem-solving, pedagogical design and implementation that can develop a culture of shared responsibility between students and staff for creating learning outcomes.

The workshop will be led by Wageeh Boles and Prue Howard

Remote Laboratories: Sharing Expertise, Sharing Resources

Monday, 10 December 2007, 13:30–16:30 (ICT UG15)

Laboratories are an integral element of engineering courses within Australia. The Engineers Australia accreditation criteria includes "proficiency in appropriate laboratory procedures; the use of test rigs, instrumentation and test equipment;" as well as "Access to simulation, visualisation, analysis, design, documentation, planning, communication and management tools as well as test and measurement equipment and information resources appropriate to current industry practice".

Laboratory infrastructure is, however, expensive to maintain and imposes significant logistical constraints on course delivery. One option to reduce these burdens is the use of remote laboratories, where students are able to remotely interact with the laboratory hardware. Remote laboratories are an increasingly popular innovation in engineering education, but their development has for the large part been an ad hoc process - they are developed in isolation to address the needs of a particular laboratory class; and they are often regarded as a second-best substitute for the real thing.

The workshop is aimed at sharing experiences within the Australian engineering education environment, with the goal of ultimately developing a remote laboratories special interest group and/or consortium tasked with the ongoing development and sharing of remote laboratory facilities.

The workshop will be led by Steve Murray, David Lowe, Euan Lindsay and Dikai Liu.

The Carrick Institute's Grants Scheme: Is There Anything of Value for Engineering Education?

Monday, 10 December 2007, 16:30–17:30 (ICT UG15)

Session chair: Harald Søndergaard

The forum will be led by Dr Elizabeth McDonald (Director, Grants Scheme) from the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. It will cover the following topics:

  • The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Grants Scheme in context
  • The principles underpinning the Grants Scheme
  • The differences between the three types of grants - Leadership, Priority Projects and Competitive Grants
  • Projects and other activities of interest to engineering
  • An opportunity to raise ideas and test whether they fit within the Grants Scheme 2008

Graduate Attributes Helicopter: Processes and Tools for Program-Level Review of Graduate Attribute Learning in Engineering

Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 11:30–13:00 (ICT UG15)

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to several tools and processes that have been used by engineering schools and faculties to support program-level review of curriculum intended to embed the teaching and assessment of graduate attributes. The session will commence with an explanation of several tools and processes, and description of how each has been applied. Participants will then form groups around four distinct catalysts for engineering curriculum review/renewal (for example university policy directed, visioning/blue sky thinking, accreditation/reporting, industry/career destinations), and groups will review the value of the various tools and processes to support review. Groups will then develop and report back on the ideal features for a curriculum review process driven by the catalyst they are considering. The session will conclude with a general discussion of how the various tools and processes could be improved or adapted to support program-level approaches to teaching and learning of graduate attributes in engineering.

The workshop will be led by Anna Carew and Sandrine Therese.

Inclusive Curriculum in Engineering Education

Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 15:30–17:00 (ICT UG15)

Engineering academics are urged to be inclusive when teaching classes of diverse students. Research has shown that an inclusive approach not only assists the progress of socially and culturally under-represented students, it will also broaden the perspectives of all students, and thus improve the overall quality of an engineering program. This workshop aims to introduce participants to the concept of inclusive curriculum in engineering with a particular focus on gender inclusivity, in keeping with 2007 The Year of Women in Engineering. Strategies and examples will be presented and participants will then have the opportunity to consider how these may be implemented within one of their own courses. Anticipated outcomes include the sharing of examples of good practice and ideas among participants and the development of a plan of action for improving the inclusivity of participants' own courses and/or programs.

The workshop will be led by Julie Mills, Judith Gill and Gunilla Burrowes.

CDIO Forum

Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 14:00–15:30 (ICT Theatre 1)

CDIOstands for Conceive – Design – Implement – Operate. CDIO is an innovative educational program for producing the next generation of engineering leaders. It is being adapted and adopted by a growing number of engineering educational institutions around the world including leading engineering schools in the U.S., Europe, Canada, U.K., Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The CDIO Initiative offers an education stressing engineering fundamentals, set in the context of the Conceiving - Designing – Implementing – Operating process, which engineers use to create systems and products. The CDIO Initiative is rich with student projects complemented by internships in industry. It features active group learning experiences in both classrooms and in our modern learning workshop/ laboratory, and rigorous assessment and evaluation processes.

The CDIO framework and standards align strongly with ABET and Engineers Australia educational outcomes. It is a forum for sharing resources, and has a growing community of practice engaging and sharing experiences. The growing resources include: handouts, FAQs, early success stories, reports, introductory kits, CDIO Syllabus, Instructor Resource Modules (IRMs), CDIO Initiative organization, policies, Standards, and adoption charts.

Australia New Zealand Regional Group

In July of this year, a CDIO workshop was hosted at the University of Sydney. There was a lot of enthusiastic and intensive discussion with about 31 attendees. At that meeting, the ANZ Regional Group Steering Committee was formed with the following membership: Dave Levy (Chair), Duncan Campbell (Vice-Chair), Lyn Brodie, Carl Reidsema, Roger Hadgraft (AAEE liaison), Clive Ferguson, KC Wong, Peter Gibbens, Dorothy Missingham, Dylan Lu and Des Tedford. The steering group is keen to progress with a number of activities which will be further discussed at this AAEE workshop. They include:

  • Coordination of activities and the sharing of experiences
  • Interact with other Australian activities/initiatives
  • Collaborative projects
  • Applying for grants

We invite all who are interested to attend the workshop to learn more about CDIO and to participate in discussion.

Technology Tracking and Technical Book Writing

Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 14:00–15:30 (ICT Room 206)

Many academics dream of writing a book, but only a few finally get to finish this dream project before their careers end. In science and technology areas, there is a large amount of industrial developments which is complementary to the work within the academia and research. Researchers and academics can easily work within these knowledge interfaces between industry and research, to document their hard-earned, career-long subject expertise into a well published book for visibility, satisfaction and, most importantly, to share there hard-earned knowledge on an international basis.

The workshop presenter, who has authored six technical books (1996-2007) with IEE (London), Elsevier, Artech House and CRC Press will share his experiences in developing a manuscript of a technical book from concept through contract to print at this workshop. Managing the content and its current awareness, collecting base information and archiving them, communicating with a reputed publisher, contractual negotiations, getting assistance from industry and dealing with sales and marketing will be included in this workshop.

The workshop will also discuss the possibilities of identifying the hot subject areas, gaps in print form books, reliable publishers to work with, establishing contracts, managing your time through the writing process and ultimately working with the publisher to see the book is selling reasonably.

The workshop will be presented by Nihal Kularatna.

Educational Research Methods: Advancing the Global Capacity for Engineering Education Research and Exploring the Issues for the AaeE Community

Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 9:30–11:00 (ICT UG15)

To launch the Association's new Educational Research Methods Group, this workshop explores some of the contextual issues surrounding doing education research with the aim of helping to define research strategies and directions for the future. This is part of a joint JEE/ASEE and EJEE/SEFI initiative to explore ways to build the global capacity for engineering education research. The results will be jointly published in JEE and EJEE in early 2009 and it will also be included in a separate but complementary "year of dialogue" now ongoing within ASEE to "advance the scholarship of engineering education." Small groups will be used to explore critical issues to define and build an infrastructure to support engineering education research both within Australasia and worldwide. A recent article in the Journal of Engineering Education (Borrega 2007) identified five key areas to be considered when turning to this kind of research:

  • Framing the research question
  • Using theoretical frameworks
  • Operationalizing and measuring constructs
  • Appreciating qualitative and mixed-method approaches
  • Pursuing interdisciplinary collaboration

The workshop is built around these five issues, with the added issue:

  • Using specifically engineering knowledge

The workshop will be led by Lesley Jolly (UQ), Anette Kolmos (SEFI) and Maura Borrego (ASEE).

Engineering Education for Sustainable Development

Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 11:30–17:00 (ICT UG15)

This workshop is delivered in three segments and delivers:

  • an overview of three new Engineering Education for Sustainable Development open source course material resources,
  • an outline of creative ways these new courses have been taught at universities to date, and
  • an update on ways these courses have been incorporated into university courses so far.

It also invites feedback and discussion of further ideas of how these new courses can be creatively taught from workshop participants.

Download a Workshop Flyer (PDF).

Workshop 1: Professional Development for Sustainable Engineer (Industry Professional Development level)

The presentation and workshop are based on The Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program, Sustainable Energy Solutions Portfoliothat provides an effective toolkit for capacity-building engineers and other key technical professions, in the skill of finding cost-effective low-carbon energy approaches and energy efficiency options. The capacity-building training program will empower engineers to address these issues through the course of their professional life through three advanced training programs focusing on the following themes:

  1. Identifying, quantifying and implementing energy efficiency opportunities for Industrial/Commercial users - by Technology;
  2. Integrated systems based approaches to realising energy efficiency opportunities for Industrial/Commercial users - by Industry Sector; and
  3. Integrated approaches to energy efficiency and low emissions electricity, transport and distributed energy.

Developed as part of a collaboration between TNEP, Griffith University and the Australian National University for the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship. The courses will be freely available from our web site to help enable rapid uptake of these course materials throughout the university sector. Additional funding to enhance to the project has been received from the National Framework for Energy Efficiency to support a survey of universities, to scope and understand what is currently being taught on energy efficiency and sustainable energy topics within current engineering degrees. This survey will help this education and training package to target common gaps in current engineering degrees in this area.

Workshop 2: Introducing Students to Sustainable Engineering (1st-2nd year introductory level)

The presentation and workshop are based on the first two modules of the The Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program, Critical Literacies Portfoliothat provide an introduction to sustainable engineering focusing on how engineers can make a positive difference. The modules, funded by UNESCO, Engineers Australia and the Society of Sustainability and Environmental Engineering were awarded the Prime Minister's Banksia Award for Leadership in Environmental Education in 2005. This course material is freely available (see web links below) from The Natural Edge Project web site to help enable rapid uptake of these course materials throughout the university sector. These courses have been taught at Griffith University.


  • Introduction to Sustainable Development for Engineering and Built Environment Professionals
  • Principles and Practices in Sustainable Development for the Engineering and Built Environment Professions

Workshop 3: Teaching Technical Design for Sustainable Engineering (3rd-4th year / Masters technical design level)

The presentation and workshop are based on The Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program, Technical Design Portfolio: Whole Systems Design Suitethat responds to the reality that over 60 percent of environmental impacts are determined for many engineered systems by decisions made in the design phase of project development. Engineers, designers, architects involved with design have a critical role therefore to play to help society achieve sustainable development. The Suite aims to provide a training program to cover this crucial area of whole system sustainable design that can be taught to all engineering disciplines. Funded by the Federal Government's Department of Environment and Water Resources, TNEP has developed comprehensive and up to date course resource that is freely available from our web site to help enable rapid uptake of these course materials throughout the university sector:

  • Technical Design Portfolio - Whole Systems Design Suite

The workshops are led by The Natural Edge Project secretariat: Karlson Hargroves, (TNEP's Project Director), Michael Smith, (TNEP's Research Director), Cheryl Paten, (TNEP's Education Director, and 2005 Australian Young Professional Engineer of the Year), and TNEP Associate Directors Peter Stasinopoulos and Renee (biographical information).

PBL: Evidence and Change Strategies

Thursday, 13 December 2007, 11:00–15:00 (Alice Hoy Room 242)

Problem/project-based learning is rapidly becoming known as a highly effective method for teaching and learning in higher education. According to research conducted in the fields of Engineering and Science, PBL motivates students to learn at deeper levels than students in traditional settings. Studies also indicate that graduates from PBL studies are better at collaboration, project management, knowledge sharing, and communication. In short, PBL is becoming known internationally as a tool that can help students develop the professional and transferable skills that we want them to use once they graduate from our programs.

The workshop will provide an overview of the various PBL models, research on the effect of PBL and strategies for institutional change. It will be led by Anette Kolmos (Aalborg) and Roger Hadgraft (Melbourne).