Search for best practice in education: Machine design in Aalto University

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School of Engineering | Master's thesis
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What are best practices and how are they relevant to Aalto University's Department of Engineering Design and Production (KoRa)? This study looks into best practices in engineering education through the CDIO Initiative's standards, syllabus, and philosophy to find out how suitable the CDIO standards are for KoRa. In the process, stakeholders are involved by using participatory action research (PAR) methods in the form of a workshop. A Teaching Evaluation Exercise (TEE), which is running parallel with this study, is observed closely in order to diagnose the state of education at KoRa. The results of the TEE self-evaluation are used to evaluate KoRa according to the CDIO standards. The results of the TEE panel's report are used to study best practice closely and develop tools for introducing best practices at KoRa. How can best practices be adopted at KoRa? There are three sets of tools that are developed: physical tools, intellectual tools, and virtual tools. Physical tools are spaces, such as a Math & Physics Gym, which enhance the learning experience by developing the working environment. Intellectual tools are ways of working that change the organisation. Three intellectual tools are introduced: the Ice Breaker Programme, which is a tool for maximising students and alumni as resources for education and research, the Black Box Workshop (Inspired by Edstrom's Black Box Exercise), which is a tool for integrated curriculum design, and the Inverted Classroom, which is a way of transforming teaching into coaching. The virtual tool introduces is Aalto Cloud, which is an all-inclusive web service for managing courses and supporting lifelong learning. The study concludes by revising the strategic implications of this study's results, giving a few suggestions for future research, and a call to action to decide on joining CDIO officially or unofficially. The main benefit of CDIO would be the network of universities resulting in increased international collaboration. The danger is if CDIO is adopted with the wrong attitude; the attitude that the standards are definitive. CDIO standards are recommendations not standards. For KoRa to work towards Aalto University's ambitious strategy, it is essential that that universities collaborate, adopt a learner-centred attitude, take command of modern teaching and learning tools, and use students and alumni are resources in teaching and research. The suggested tools are ways of enforcing these four essential goals.
Ekman, Kalevi
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Forsblom, Juha
CDI0, inverted classroom, engineering education, e-learning, student assessment, Aalto University, mechanical engineering, KoRa
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