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Janko Calic

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Augmenting Enquiry by Embedded Collaborative Learning




Summary of the project


In the current climate of strategic learning, so present in the culture of engineering studies, there is an increasing demand for a new approach to teaching and learning. The reasons behind this strategic culture are numerous: a tendency to convey the schematic nature of the concepts involved, the way students are being assessed, a dry and inappropriate utilization of electronic materials such as lecture notes and slides, to name but few.

This project will raise the profile of Enquiry Based Learning and engage ‘alienated’ students in the process of learning the foundations of Digital Signal Processing. In addition, it will attempt to steer the existing student culture towards enquiry, self-learning and peer learning.


Problems and Issues arising during the project


One of the major difficulties was to introduce peer assessment to the CL sessions. This was due to inherent inking to other modules that have been trying to facilitate peer assessment, which for this module could be a hindrance. In addition, the initial feedback from the cohort and the assistant was to introduce more involved reflection of the individual enquiry. Therefore, student presentations and discussions were introduced to the CL session with a great success.


Unfortunately, the second level enquiry after the CL sessions was minor, due to the existing workload. Students have been investing a lot of time into the primary enquiry, so that the pressure of other modules minimised the commitment towards the second level enquiry.


In addition, the lack of guidance into the depth of individual enquiry made some of the students invest too much effort into their enquiry. However, due to an collaborative environment and an intensive feedback and communication with the lecturer, these problems have been rectified as the module progressed.


Initial successes


The project was exceptionally accepted by the students and the following results were outstanding:


  • Peer pressure and critical reflection at CL sessions set a very high criteria of student involvement and understanding
  • Commitment of the cohort was exceptional - sometime overwhelming
  • Group based and off-line discussions yielded collaborative enquiry
  • CL sessions induced rich interaction at lectures
  • Collaborative environment enabled almost experiential learning by facilitating group work, knowledge sharing and presentational skills, modeling the real-world engineering environment


Interim plans

The interim plans are twofold. One stream is to use student questionnaires and analyse data. This would enable finalisation of the reporting process and a possibility to publish a journal paper. The publication idea has been openly supported by Prof. George Allan, and there might be a collaboration on a number of EBL ideas coming from this project.

The second part is the project dissemination. That would include remaining editing audio and video materials and uploading them to the public spaces. In addition, a contribution to the Fellowship Wiki pages is planned. Finally, a seminar presenting

the outcomes of the project will be held on 18th March.


More detailed description of the current project status can be found in the interim report.


Your feedback will be much appreciated.





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Dr Janko Calic

Faculty of Electronics & Physical Sciences

University of Surrey

Guildford GU2 7XH

United Kingdom

e-mail: j.calic@surrey.ac.uk

web: http://personal.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/J.Calic

tel.: +44(0)1483 68 4739

room: 06BB01


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