This project was initiated to review how some Department of Materials laboratory activities are delivered and propose new ways of delivery to enhance the student experience.
Laboratory sessions were observed, interviews with staff and students conducted and a literature review undertaken. The laboratory scripts were reviewed and a visual brand developed for all laboratory-related documentation. Branded hard-backed laboratory notebooks are to be introduced for AY2014/15 to foster a more professional approach to recording lab results. The methods and timing of assessments was analysed and improvements suggested, based on the views of students, staff and demonstrators. The objective is to increase student engagement in the practical components of their learning, and to foster a practitioner mentality from the outset.
The following changes have been implemented for AY2014/15:
- One module consisting solely of practical experiments was completely redesigned, introducing some new experiments and changes to assessment and group sizes
- Updated laboratory scripts
- A visual brand for all printed material relating to Department of Materials labs
- Hard-backed, branded, commercially sourced laboratory notebooks to be used in all lab sessions and signed to indicate completion of the activity
- Branded lab coats to encourage a professional appearance
- A laboratory planning tool was developed and trialled by Materials staff
- Where appropriate, use of technology such as tablet computers have been introduced to some practical activities