Making programme learning outcomes explicit for students of process and chemical engineering

Fitzpatrick, J. J., Byrne, E. P. and Kennedy, D. (2009) Making programme learning outcomes explicit for students of process and chemical engineering. Education for Chemical Engineers, 4 (2). pp. 21-28. ISSN 17497728 (ISSN)


There is a global shift in education from solely content-driven teaching to teaching that takes learning outcomes into account. This movement underpins much of the educational reform in the area of engineering education. Programme learning outcomes for degrees in engineering education are more commonplace as more and more professional accrediting bodies require fulfillment or compliance with prescribed learning outcomes. However, the students may not be presented with these learning outcomes as they are often hidden in documentation submitted by institutions for accreditation purposes and hence may not be divulged to students. Undergraduate students (2006-2008) taking the BE degree programme in Process & Chemical Engineering at UCC were first surveyed to assess their level of knowledge of the learning outcomes concept and of the degree programme learning outcomes. The contents of two documents used in applications for accreditation by professional accreditation bodies as well as professional Institution guidelines were reviewed to formulate the degree programme learning outcomes which were presented to the students. These students were then surveyed after the presentation. The results of the questionnaire completed by students demonstrated a major improvement in their knowledge of both the concept of learning outcomes and also of the degree programme learning outcomes. It also showed that the students found the session to be of overall beneficial value. © 2009 The Institution of Chemical Engineers.

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