The Everyday Engineering Examples page of this blog continue to be very popular. More than 70 engineering schools in the USA have signed up to use this approach to teaching engineering science as part of the ENGAGE project. The lesson plans on that page assist instructors to deliver traditional lectures that are engaging and effective. Now, we have transferred the approach to online delivery in a MOOC that was designed to support undergraduate learning as well as to increase public engagement and understanding of engineering science.
The MOOC entitled ‘Energy: Thermodynamics in Everyday Life‘ was completed by more than 960 learners from about 35 countries who ranged in age from 13 to 78 years old with a correspondingly wide range of qualifications in terms of both subject and level. I believe that this is the first MOOC to use Everyday Engineering Examples within a framework of the 5E lesson plans and it seems to have been effective because the completion rate was 50% higher than the average for FutureLearn MOOCs.
We also included some experiments for MOOC learners to do at home in their kitchen. Disappointingly only a quarter of learners performed the experiments but surprisingly almost half of all learners(46%) reported that the experiments contributed to their understanding of the topics. This might be because results and photos from the experiments were posted on a media wall by learners. There was also a vibrant discussion throughout the five-week course with a comment posted every 8 minutes (or more than 6,500 comments in total).
More than half the undergraduates (53%) who followed the MOOC did not continue to attend the traditional lectures and roughly the same percentage agreed or agreed strongly that the MOOC could replace the traditional lecture course with only 11% disagreeing. So maybe the answer to my question about death knell for lectures [see my post ‘Death Knell for the lecture?‘ on October 7th, 2015] is that I can hear the bell tolling.
I gave a Pecha Kucha 20×20 on these developments at an International Symposium on Inclusive Engineering Education in London last month, which is available as a short video.