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Title: Enhancing the employability of Brunel students: Assessment and evaluation of a Level 1 multidisciplinary project based teaching activity in the School of Engineering and Design
Authors: Smith, DR
Cole, J
Keywords: Level 1 Multidisciplinary Project (MDP);Teaching activity;Development of key transferable skills;Utilisation of problem solving skills
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Multidisciplinary Project Survey Analysis, 2011
Abstract: The Level 1 Multidisciplinary Project (MDP) is a weeklong project that takes place in the last week of Term 1. It involves first year undergraduate students from across the School subject areas of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Design. The project is designed to be a teaching activity that removes the barrier of academic ability by involving a non‐discipline technical element, the primary emphasis being on the development of key transferable skills and the utilisation of problem solving skills that students have begun to develop in their first term at university. Each year around 450 students take part in MDP and they are put into mixed discipline groups of 8 or 9 students tasked with designing, building and demonstrating Lego Mindstorms and BASIC Stamp micro‐controlled vehicles to tackle an obstacle course. This report presents an analysis of responses from students to an online survey set up to evaluate the MDP. The survey was created using the online ‘SurveyMonkey’ website and was made live on 30th March 2011. The survey consisted of 15 questions, including tick box style quantitative questions along with some text based qualitative questions. There was also a request for contact details to be provided, if students would be happy to be contacted for a follow‐up discussion. The aim of the survey was to obtain feedback from students in each subject area, in each academic year group that has taken part in the MDP in the School of Engineering and Design. The survey was designed to try and assess student experiences and recollections of the project activity, to evaluate how the MDP has evolved over the four years it has taken place and inform the continued development of the MDP in future academic years. Information about the survey was sent by email to all students that have participated in the MDP since it was introduced in the 2007/2008 academic year (approximately 1700 students). The emails were written by Dr David Smith who is responsible for the running of the MDP and Dr Jo Cole who is involved in the co‐ordination of the MDP, inviting students to complete the online questionnaire. This report is broken into sections, giving an overview of the survey results as a whole, before looking at key observations in the data by year and by subject area. The survey questions are given in Appendix A with summary charts of the tick box responses given in Appendix B and the raw data from all questions provided by SurveyMonkey in Appendix C. Key points raised in the follow‐up one to‐one email and phone discussions are then presented, with full transcripts of the questions and answers from these discussions given in Appendix D, along with feedback from the professional bodies that accredit the different undergraduate courses taking part in the MDP and the view of the Brunel Placement and Careers Office. A list of conclusions is then given, drawn up to reflect the aspects of the MDP that need improvement, to be used as input to the development of the MDP for the coming academic year. Collation of the survey data, follow‐up discussions with students and initial preparation of this report were conducted by Dianna Reid, with funding provided by the Brunel Academic Practice and Development Unit as part of a 2011 Learning and Teaching Innovation Fund award under project code 2LA026.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Design Research Papers

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