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Supervision and management practices of Final Year Engineering Projects: Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
conference contributionposted on 11.05.2022, 03:17 by Mohammad RasulMohammad Rasul, Nirmal MandalNirmal Mandal
CONTEXT: It is essential that supervision and management practices of Final Year Engineering Projects (FYEPs) maintains the quality of education and achieves AQF Level 8 outcomes even during the unprecedented situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this situation, students cannot attend face-to-face meetings with supervisors, cannot perform practical/laboratory-based research, and cannot use software labs for their modelling and simulation works (if applicable). To achieve learning outcomes at AQF Level 8, some strategies and alternative pathways were developed to overcome the impacts of COVID-19 for supervising and managing FYEPs. PURPOSE OR GOAL: The goal of the paper is to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supervision and management practices of FYEPs. The paper also discusses the effectiveness of the technology we used for supervision and management of FYEPs, and how the supervisor and student relationship and engagement can effectively be maintained during this COVID-19. APPROACH OR METHODOLOGY/METHODS: The traditional modes of supervision and management of FYEPs (theses) such as face-to-face meetings, laboratory works, and use of simulation labs were changed to virtual/online operation only to provide essential feedback and directions to the students for their projects. The online communication and learning and teaching tools such as Zoom links, chat windows, outlook team, etc., were employed for maintaining weekly progress (planned tasks). A Google doc communication channel was also considered for each student to monitor their weekly progress. ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES: The students’ feedback suggests that students were generally happy with the new ways of student engagement in FYEPs/thesis supervision and management. More specifically, they indicated that they were very happy with the online presentations of mid-term progress and final presentations (direct zoom presentation or recorded video) which were less stressful as opposed to face-to-face presentations. They were able to concentrate more to achieve project outcomes without spending much time on travelling to university. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY: Although there were a few challenges in adapting online supervision and management of FYEPs during COVID-19 pandemic environment, student feedback suggests that they are happy with the online system too.