Sin Moh Cheah and Hui Bee Lee

The Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) of Singapore Polytechnic (SP) has been using the CDIO Framework to re-design its 3-year curriculum since 2007. In its continual efforts for improvement, the DCHE Course Management Team (CMT) applied the 12 CDIO standards to both the design of new modules as well as the review and re-design of existing modules. This paper shares the latest initiative on the latter endeavour, where we used the CDIO Standards to assist module coordinator in formulating action plans that are aligned to the course-level initiatives to enhance the curriculum.

We firstly summarise recent efforts to integrate the 12 CDIO Standards into the institution's Academic Quality Management System (AQMS), which is based on the same Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) principles of ISO9001. We then used the CDIO Standards to aid the course review process as required by our AQMS. The outcome of this process are a list of broad areas of curriculum improvement. Modules most suited for implementing these areas of improvements are then identified, and appropriate action plans formulated for these modules. We recognised the challenges in existing module review process for a module co-ordinator, as one has to consider a multitude of factors ranging from content and contact hours, choice of pedagogy, assessment schemes, equipment and workspace requirements, budgetary needs, utilities and waste disposal, etc. The aim of the present initiative to use the CDIO Standards for reviewing and re-designing of existing modules is therefore an attempt to make the entire process more holistic, encompassing, focused and manageable for the module coordinator.

By considering a module as a product, we draw correspondence between the C-D-I-O process of conceiving, designing, implementing and operating a product with the module design and development process espoused in the SP AQMS. We then share our interpretations of the CDIO Standards in terms of their applicability at module-level, and proposed a module-level self-evaluation template for use by the module coordinator. The template serves as a useful checklist as it requires the module coordinator to specifically identify, for any proposed action item, his/her own training needs, budgetary requirements, etc. and link these to existing institutional-level mechanisms already in place. We also briefly discuss the applicability of CDIO standards at module-level, and address how the scoring done at the course-level should be interpreted at the module-level.

Finally, we present an example of the application of the self-evaluation template on a current module entitled Plant Safety and Loss Prevention. This non-examinable module will be shifted from the current second year to the third year, with effect from the next academic year in April 2015. This provides the impetus for the module team to conduct the self-evaluation to completely review and re-design the module for higher-level applications of concepts appropriate for a higher year of study. The team also took the opportunity to introduce into the module an innovative pedagogy based on case histories of major accidents that integrates the use of information-communication technology to support flipped learning and use of peer instruction.

Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

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