Framework for an Integrated Learning Block with CDIO-led Engineering Education

by   Mouhamed Abdulla, et al.

As a CDIO collaborating member, the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of Sheridan maintains a curriculum that is deeply rooted in skills-based learning, experiential learning, and engineering design. To ensure our graduates are agile and ready for the workforce, we are taking proactive measures to further improve their learning experiences. An important challenge still impeding our students knowledge acquisition is the perception that program courses have disjointed learning outcomes. The course map of programs is carefully designed in such a way that technical skills acquired in particular courses gradually build on each other. Despite the traditional existence of prerequisites and co-requisites, the inaccurate view that courses function independently persists among students and, occasionally, among faculty members. One feasible approach to tackle this pedagogical challenge is to combine various courses into an integrated learning block (ILB) having a unified mission and objective. At Sheridan's School of MEET, we are applying an ILB with three engineering courses offered within the same semester for all our B.Eng. degree programs. The ILB deliverables are based on the design of a chosen engineering system or subunit in a project-based learning (PBL) environment. The rationale of this paper is to share our framework for implementing an ILB in engineering programs and to examine the opportunities and challenges related to this type of curriculum design. In particular, we will discuss the methodology by which courses are selected to form an ILB while taking into account their appropriateness for an industry-driven PBL. This will be followed up with some of the strategies that are proposed to evaluate the performance of students in an ILB through formative and summative assessments based on CDIO competencies.


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