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Improving student satisfaction improves learning : a case study in the scholarship of teaching

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Nirmal MandalNirmal Mandal
BACKGROUND OR CONTEXT: Many learning and teaching institutions use benchmarks to evaluate performance of faculty members. Three of these benchmarks are: 1) student feedback, 2) student grades, and 3) student attrition rates. This paper describes the teaching enhancements the author used to improve the student satisfaction ratings in three higher year Mechanical Engineering courses: Statics & Dynamics, Solid Mechanics & Computational Analysis, and Capstone Thermofluid Engineering. Improvements to student satisfaction and feedback rates were obtained by applying the Central Queensland University 7 principles of good teaching and other innovative practices such as the four-point strategy developed by the author. PURPOSE OR GOAL: The purpose of the changes in teaching practice over the past five years is threefold: 1) to improve student learning, 2) to increase student satisfaction in their learning journey, and 3) to reduce student attrition. APPROACH: After each term during which the courses were taught, the author reflected upon student feedback comments, their learning needs and resources and considered the Central Queensland University 7 principles of good teaching to decide what teaching interventions to implement for the next term. A new innovative teaching approach, called the four-point teaching and learning strategy to make red courses green and good courses excellent, was developed and employed. The following teaching interventions were implemented over five terms the courses were taught: 1) using tag questions, 2) integrating physical models relating to lecture contents, 3) linking the content to the context, and 4) introducing animations relating to contents, including class tests in project based learning (PBL) courses. Student satisfaction ratings and attrition rates, as well as student grades over five terms, are compared to identify trends. DISCUSSION: Over the five terms, both the student feedback rates and the student satisfaction ratings improved. In addition, student attrition rates fell over that period of study and remains far below the university’s average attrition rate. Lastly, overall course grades improved and the percentage of students achieving high distinction (HD) increased. The approaches were presented to other engineering colleagues, and some of my peers employed these and an overall improvement in course delivery and students’ learning are noticed in recent terms. CONCLUSIONS: This paper provides an example of the Scholarship of Teaching where an instructor uses a systematic approach and a rational framework to make changes to course delivery to improve the students’ learning and satisfaction, as well as to reduce attrition.


Parent Title

Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2015), Blended Design and Project Based Learning : a future for Engineering Education, 6-9 December 2015, Geelong, Victoria

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Geelong, Australia


Deakin University

Place of Publication

Geelong, Vic.

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference

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