Publication Details

C. McLauchlan, P. Ciufo & S. Perera, "A reflective closed loop approach for implementing a new authentic assessment-based teaching facility for electric motor and drive systems," in Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education AAEE2013, 2013, pp. 1-10.


BACKGROUND A new teaching facility with a focus on electric motor and drive systems has been implemented at the University of Wollongong. This facility aspires to use authentic assessment principles to assist in preparing students to properly utilise electric motor and drive systems in professional practice. In an attempt to realise this aim, the implementation of this facility was undertaken using a reflective closedloop approach, addressing the educational outcomes achieved by the students. Setting a holistic scope for the implementation beyond technical concerns to include educational outcomes was critical to the success achieved and has laid the foundation for further improvements.

PURPOSE The motivation for this work was to implement a teaching facility that successfully assists in preparing students for professional practice with electric motor and drive systems.

DESIGN/METHOD The facility and associated curriculum was designed, built and implemented based upon the principles of authentic assessment and industrial expectations of engineers working with electric motors and drives. A number of methods were employed to reflectively assess student attainment and the effectiveness of the facility, including before and after testing of students undergoing training on the facility; the results of which were used to improve the facility and associated curriculum. This cycle of training, reflective assessment and improvement of the facility has been undertaken upon two successive elective classes of final-year undergraduate and post graduate engineering students.

RESULTS The facility and associated authentic assessment worked well and students' attainment measurably improved, although some of the highly aspirational aims set for student attainment were not met after training on the facility. The reflective assessment of student performance before and after training allowed for the identification of avenues of improvement in the use of the teaching facility to reach the aims set. Some of these avenues have been successfully employed, improving attainment while others have been identified for future work.

CONCLUSIONS Training on the facility has resulted in measurably improved student attainment in using electric motor and drives systems in engineering practice. Setting the scope of implementation of the training facility beyond purely technical concerns to include educational outcomes has been crucial to the success achieved thus far and the identification of opportunities for future improvements.