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Project Management and Communication Skill's Development: Students' Perception on Their Learning
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015, Conceive Design Implement Operate, CDIO , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When a course has ended, the grades have been distributed, and the course evaluation is finished, one could still ask oneself if the course really gave something for the individual student. The final grade is a result of the assessment of the students’ skills in relation to stated learning outcomes according to the syllabus. But what if the students enter the course with different skills’ levels? If a specific student already possesses a certain amount of competence within an area, can he or she still learn something in a basic level course?

In this paper we investigate the outcomes of a project management course in terms of syllabus fulfilment with regard to the students’ perception of increased learning. The course comprise theoretical as well as practical training in writing, study design and project management. The student group is heterogeneous and consists of national programme students as well as international exchange students representing a wide range of subjects, nations and previous study experiences. Therefore, even if the course formally is a first-year course, the real skills’ possession of the participating students varies a lot. This makes this course challenging to teach, and raises several questions: Do all students develop their individual skills during the course, disregarded of the skills level which they entered the course with? Are we focusing on the right set of skills, or are some skills more important to develop than other skills? How should we improve the design of the course to enable each individual student to develop their skills? The paper focuses on the first and second question, because understanding the problem is the first step in any improvement activities. This understanding could thereafter be used for improving the course syllabus in terms of contents, learning outcomes and activities.

After a general discussion regarding personal and interpersonal skills’ development in higher education, findings from the course entitled Technical projects and report writing are presented. The course design and student characteristics are described and thereafter the work with assessment of skills’ development is described. We asked the students to state their skills level within x predefined areas connected to the course contents. In the end of the course, the students were asked to once again state their skills’ level. Results from the skills’ evaluation are presented and discussed, and conclusions regarding the possibilities to further improve the course design are drawn. The positive and negative aspects of homogenous student groups in project courses are also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Conceive Design Implement Operate, CDIO , 2015.
Keyword [en]
Project management, academic writing, information handling, study design, basic level course, skills’ development, skills’ assessment, CDIO standards: 2, 8, 11
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-46150OAI: diva2:852178
11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

Available from: 2015-09-08 Created: 2015-09-08 Last updated: 2015-09-17Bibliographically approved

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Kans, Mirka
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