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Aims of the modules
Engineering Science 1 is a course that is aimed at laying a foundation for the students that take different Engineering courses. It aims at equipping the students with the basic principles in Mathematics and Physics that are applicable to different fields of engineering like Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Aeronautical, or Ship engineering.
The learning outcomes
- At the completion of the module, a student is supposed to have understood the basic mathematical concepts like fractions and the number line and is able to relate algebra to geometry; the student should be able to represent algebraic equations on some co-ordinate system and interpret what the graphical presentation means.
- The student should have learned the basic units of measurements that are used in engineering and from which the other units are derived.
- The student should have learned vector presentation in 2-dimension and in 3-dimensions, vector algebra, and the different vector quantities that are encountered in mathematics and physics.
- The students should have learned the force as an important vector quantity and the different types of force like friction that are very significant in mechanics. The student should be conversant with the various laws of motion and their implication. Pressure as a vector quantity should have been understood.
- The student should have learned the relationship between the center of gravity of an object and its stability.
- The student should have been introduced to basic concepts in electricity like resistance, current, capacitance, and inductance.
The module contains topics in Mathematics and Physics namely: Numbers, algebra, geometry, graphical equations, vectors, the motion of objects, friction, pressure, Current electricity 1, Basic units of measurement, and Centre of Gravity and Stability
Modes of assessment
The assessment consisted of Continuous Assessment Tests that accounted for 10% of the total score. There were a series of practicals that accounted for 20%. An exam at the end of the module accounts for 70% of the total score. The assessments are aimed at evaluating the student’s understanding of the concepts.
The instructor provided the course outline and the schedule that would be adapted to the completion of the module. The instructor adopted a thematic approach to teaching mathematical concepts. The different units under the module were meant to demonstrate the mathematical fundamentals of mechanical and electrical systems and thus were supposed to revolve around one large area. The introductory units often have different applications but later converge to a common application.
In teaching the module, the instructor first taught the mathematical concept based on the provisions of the course content with little regard to the applications. The students were to understand the concepts in that simple context. Then the instructor brought in some real-life applications of the mathematical concepts that had been introduced. The applications were still distinct but provided an insight into the relevance of the concepts. The last stage module involved mathematical modeling that channeled the different applications towards a common entity.
The college had materials in the library that were relevant to this module. However, the number of copies in the library was not sufficient to meet the demands of the many students taking this module as students from other modules also used the materials. The college also has an online library that is accessible by all the students in session. Besides, the instructor provided handouts and tutorials especially for the units that were not consolidated in most of the texts.
Number of students in each class
The module had a significantly large population of students. With 250 students registered for the module, the population was divided into two classes with 125 students each. The instructors also subdivided the classes into smaller groups for purposes of group discussions, group presentations, or practical activities. The groups comprised five to ten students depending on the individual abilities that had been identified.
Coverage of the course content
Despite the planned schedule that was provided at the beginning of the module, the whole content was not covered fully. The final stages were hurriedly covered to fix the content now that the end-of-module exams had been set. The last weeks of the module were characterized by a series of impromptu classes and voluminous handouts in a bid to clear the course content. The procedures that are essential for a new concept to be imparted were not followed and these last concepts were understood only by fast learners.
Table 2.1: Module Planning for Personal Development.
|Factor description||Observation |
|Importance||Comments on the factors|
|Nature of the subject||The lecturer developed concepts and principles procedurally as the concepts translated into new ones.||7||The module is procedural. The mathematical principles require the building of concepts that can be used to solve other arising problems|
|Layout and constraints |
in the room
|The classroom environment was conducive and the students were able to form groups. The group work helped the teaching process as weaker students got assistance from their fellows.||6||The lecturer needs to instill the spirit of teamwork in class to enhance learning. The lecturer should have to exercise good control of the students.|
|The student number||The student population was relatively large and student management was quite challenging owing to this large student: teacher ratio.||5||The student: lecturer should be relatively small to enable the teachers to manage the students effectively. A ratio of 50 is appropriate.|
|Lecturer’s teaching style||The teaching style adopted by the lecturer was relevant to the module. It involved a systematic development of concepts and their applications towards one large concept.||6||The lecturer should adopt a teaching style that is relevant to the nature of the subject area and the students, abilities.|
|Learning materials||Their online materials and the handouts complemented the few resources that were available in the library.||8||More materials that are useful should be availed in the libraries to enhance learning.|
|Time management||Time management was poor by both the lecturer and the students. Students were not available at the expected venues in time. The lecturer was behind the schedule in starting the module. This contributed to incomplete coverage of the contents.||9||The students and lecturer should ensure that they go by the schedule that is provided at the beginning of the schedule. The lecture should organize for the make-up of missed lectures.|
Table 2.2: Assignment/Project Planning for Personal Development.
|Observation and reflection||Importance||Comments on the factors|
|Exam scheduling and timing||The continuous assessment tests were administered on an irregular basis and some were not scheduled. Most of these assignments were often submitted online. Group practical were scheduled and took three hours. A report would be submitted later. End of module exams was scheduled and timed. The exam took two hours as speed and accuracy were essential.||8||Every exam needs to be pre-scheduled and timed so that the student’s ability is evaluated. Assessment periods should be explicitly defined at the beginning of a module.|
|Exam environment||The continuous assessments were administered in the normal classroom setting whereas practical activities were performed in the laboratory. In the final exam, the classes were subdivided into groups of about 60 students and evenly spread in four examination halls. There were strict invigilation and supervision by other lecturers.||5||The examination room should not be tense to stigmatize the students. On the other hand, the students are supposed to work independently in the final exam. This calls for a more spacious environment with closer supervision by the lecturers.|
|Instructions and guidelines provided||There were instructions on the number of questions to be tackled in all the assessments. The students were not audio-visually impaired and so the instructions were easily understood.||7||Instructions for the exams need to be clearly stated in a form that is understood by every student. Verbal instructions may be used to complement the written instructions for full understanding.|
|Exam standard||The exams reflected on the contents that were contained in the module. However, the compulsory questions in the final exam were numerous, detailed, and demanding and could not be tackled within the given period. The content of the module appeared to be larger than required.||7||The exams should reflect on the course content that has been covered in class. The detailed concepts that are to be covered later should not be tested here. The exam should be doable by the students within the allocated time.|
|Assessment materials||The assessment materials during the practical activities and in the final exams were adequate. The exam materials were clear and no corrections were made by the course instructor during exams.||6||The adequacy of exam materials is essential in evaluating every student, as it will ensure the students work independently. There should not be sharing of materials in exams. The materials should be clearly designed with no printing or logical error.|
|Evaluation||The students’ evaluation was carried out objectively. The instructor was not biased in awarding grades to the students in the C.A.T’s and in the final exams. Practical activities were evaluated on a group basis.||7||The lecturer needs to the objective in awarding grades to students. The students should be graded on genuine merits and no biasness should be employed-.|