PBL of Doctoral Students in Collaboration with Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): ‘Thinking like a professional engineer’. Real life tasks and scenarios
Dr Plato Kapranos (Materials Science and Engineering)
What is this about?
The teaching of transferrable skills in the Doctoral Training Centre for Advanced Metallics is done in the form of a Diploma in Personal & Professional Skills and such skills are embedded in the students’ consciousness by practice. The development of Problem Based Learning experience through a two week long exercise where groups of students tackle ‘real-life’ problems at an SME has been organised and successfully taken place over the past two years and students, staff and industrial partners have all felt the benefits. This work shows the multiplying effect that the SME case studies have on student skill and attitude development and as a result their employability.
How will colleagues benefit?
Colleagues will see how the use of 'real-life' problem solving can be used to use the student effort in order to focus and sharpen the use of transferrable skills that have been taught in other parts of a structured course. The reality of the situation faced, the tight time limits afforded, the responsibility to function and deliver as part of a group of 'professional' consultants act as multipliers of the skills employed towards generating and proposing solutions. Students see in practice what transferrable skills mean to them and of course employers are suitably impressed when they see these skills they sought from graduates being used to the full.