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SEED projects 2020 – Designing for learning

Fostering multidisciplinary mind-sets and transferable skills in a student: the development and evaluation of an assessment framework

Dr Andrea Kolb

Dr Andrea Kolb

Dr Andrea Kolb (Faculty of Engineering), Yantao Song (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences) and Judith Marecek (Unleash Space).

Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat. The innovation of this project lies in developing a framework that evaluates how students develop multidisciplinary mindsets and transferrable skills by participating in the ‘Chem-E-Car’ project. Currently, there is no systematic or formal evaluation of this aspect.

To increase student engagement, the Chemical & Materials (CHEMMAT) Engineering department gave 3rd-year CHEMMAT students the opportunity to participate in the Chem-E-Car project. The project was hands-on and addressed the global challenges of climate change. To provide the students with a holistic experience, the teaching staff of CHEMMAT, Unleash Space and Multi-disciplinary Learning Spaces have established a teaching collaboration and have defined together learning outcomes and activities. Since the end of July 2019, nine students grouped into three teams have been working toward innovative approaches to powering a toy-sized car. Over the last month, the students have gone through a steep learning curve. On one hand, the students have been challenged to apply their theoretical discipline-specific knowledge. On the other hand, these students with a chemical and materials engineering background have also been challenged to develop multidisciplinary and transferable skills such as vehicle design including mechanical and electrical aspects, critical thinking and problem solving as a team, time and project management.

We have identified that the development of multidisciplinary and transferable skills is particularly challenging yet beneficial for our 3rd-year CHEMMAT students and that they need more support in this regard. We put our collaborative efforts toward fostering students’ multidisciplinary mindsets and transferable skills, and we evaluated how effectively students developed such mind-sets and transferrable skills while participating in their Chem-E-Car projects. For this, we applied for SEED funding to jointly develop and evaluate an assessment tool for the purpose described above.

We developed a preliminary framework and example to embed fostering students’ transferable skills in teaching, which can be propagated across the University of Auckland. We aimed at planting a seed which grows into a program of substance and value that will benefit innovative and collaborative teaching and learning across the University.

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Fostering multidisciplinary mind-sets and transferable skills in a student (3.5MB)