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Enhancing critical thinking in first year engineering students

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Lawrence, N and Thomas, GA and Visentin, DC (2006) Enhancing critical thinking in first year engineering students. Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education 2006. pp. 305-310. ISSN 1-905788-11-8

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Abstract

Students come to first year engineering degree
courses with a variety of learning styles and
experiences. Many students can solve
problems but lack the ability to critically
analyse data and results, and are unable to
present the data in meaningful ways. There can
be an expectation that these generic attributes
are either already present, or will be developed
by osmosis through the degree program. This
paper describes how learning outcomes are
achieved, generic student attribute skills are
fostered and experimental reporting skills are
nurtured in a specialised unit in experimental
methods.
Students are introduced to programming,
problem solving and analytical skills using
software such as LabVIEW and MATLAB. These
skills will then form a basis for later studies. The
focus is on developing the ‘tools’ for problem
solving early in the degree program, and giving
generic skills a prime focus rather than
allowing them to become a peripheral issue to
the ‘content’ of the engineering degree.
Students are encouraged to explore the
relationship between theoretical predictions
and experimental results. In particular students
are encouraged to critically appraise
experimental data collected, apply error
analysis, discuss and present results
meaningfully and reach conclusions.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education 2006
Page Range: pp. 305-310
ISSN: 1-905788-11-8
Additional Information:

© 2006 The Higher Education Academy, UKCME

Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009 01:01
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:57
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