Understanding and enhancing learning communities in tertiary education in science and engineering

Funding year: 
2 years
University of Waikato
Post school sector
Project start date: 
January 2005
Project end date: 
January 2007
Principal investigator(s): 
Michael Forret
Research team members: 
Chris Eames and Richard Coll, University of Waikato
Research partners: 
Alison Campbell, Michèle Prinsep, Rainer Kunnemeyer, Heather Stonyer, David Dodd, Jim Clark, Kevin Stewart, Thomas Cronjé and Chrispin Maclean.

Project Description

The impetus for this project grew out of our involvement in tertiary teaching in science and engineering courses. Our own experiences as teachers in undergraduate and graduate science papers, and preservice science and technology education papers, had led us to debate the learning experiences of our students. We intuitively felt that there was something lacking in those experiences in terms of learning to be a scientist or an engineer, and wondered about the sense of identity that these students developed through their involvement in these papers. Research (Eames & Bell, 2005) had indicated that the learning environment in science and engineering in a university setting was quite different to that experienced in a science and engineering workplace. So, what sort of identity were these students developing? Our own anecdotal evidence pointed to a view of something disconnected from the world of science and engineering as practised in the working community.