Implementing Industry Site Visits in Physics & Chemistry Units - Foundation Engineering Course
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Site visits are implemented in science and engineering units to provide students with opportunities to observe and experience important scientific concepts introduced to them in the classrooms. Classrooms and laboratories have been widely used as formal learning environments in science related curriculums (Orion and Hofstein 1994; Rudmann 1994). While laboratories help to ascertain findings related to specific experiments in Chemistry and Physics, they do not provide opportunities for students to observe how engineering and scientific principles are applied in real-life contexts. A team project was conducted to understand attitudes of students and staff towards including site visits as part of experiential learning in the foundation engineering course. The project also aimed to contribute to information that will assist in further developing the curriculum and embedding coherent learning outcomes for the Foundation Engineering and Science course. Three site visit projects were organised for the Chemistry and Physics units under the course and data collected from students’ reports as well as online feedback sheets, and observations recorded by the teaching staff. Based on the analysis of the experiences gained by the students and staff, it is concluded that site visits have positive impacts in bridging the gap between theories introduced in classroom with the practical application of the knowledge in the industry. Furthermore, it has also provided an insight towards improvements to be made to the curriculum and learning outcomes of the course.
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