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Guidelines for curriculum development of final year engineering projects to support achievement of AQF8 outcomes

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Robin Howard, C Kestell, Mohammad RasulMohammad Rasul, Justine Lawson
A substantial project exploring the organisation, supervision and assessment of final year engineering projects in Australia has mapped practices across 16 universities. It addressed the need that although Australia has a strong history of developing FYEPs as capstone courses in engineering education, there is no national approach to curriculum development. Practices are varied and the project team has worked towards identifying good practice such that universities are better positioned to meet Australian Qualification Framework level 8 outcomes. PURPOSE. The study set out to firstly map practices in relation to final year engineering or capstone projects andto consider the implications for compliance with AQF8 outcomes. Data from phase 1, together with the national and international literature, has been used to inform the development of good practice guidelines. These guidelines have been developed specifically to assist universities in ensuring their undergraduate engineering embedded honours degrees meet and reflect AQF level 8 outcomes in the key areas of curriculum, supervision and assessment. DESIGN/METHOD. The project methodology was largely qualitative, adopting a case study approach. Data was gathered from 16 universities across Australia (from all states and territories) and included university documentation such as subject outlines, rubrics and student guidelines. Additionally, interviews were conducted with coordinators of final year project courses. Data was also gathered from participants during a conference workshop designed to explore understanding of AQF8. All data was coded and analysed inductively and deductively for themes. These themes were compared to the AQF8 outcomes, and the outcomes relevant to FYEP were identified. This data was then used to develop curriculum guidelines to support development of AQF8 outcomes. The guidelines have been workshopped at a range of sites throughout the second half of 2014. RESULTS. AQF 8 identifies a range of outcomes that can be demonstrated through the outcomes of FYEP. However the curriculum needs to be consciously developed to ensure that the outcomes are developed by the students. The study has revealed great variation in curriculum development practices in FYEPs across Australian universities. The study has been able to identify guidelines for curriculum development that will support the development of AQF8 outcomes, and identify good practice as seen by FYEP coordinators to achieve the curriculum development. CONCLUSIONS. This paper presents a summary of the guidelines and examples for curriculum development of FYEP to support AQF8 outcomes, which were developed from a large study. While there is variation in the curriculum of FYEPs across Australia, this paper gives examples of good practice that supports the development of AQF8 outcomes


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


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Wellington, New Zealand


Massey University

Place of Publication

Palmerston North, New Zealand

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Learning and Teaching Education Research Centre (LTERC); School of Engineering and Technology (2013- ); University of Adelaide;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference