New ‘laboratory’ will develop even better teaching at Science and Technology

Science and Technology is closing its two centres for educating lecturers – CSE and CDL – to group them in one single new laboratory called the ST Learning Lab (STLL). This will strengthen both teaching and coherence in the individual degree programmes.

2016.01.21 | Peter F. Gammelby

Jens Bennedsen is ‘laboratory manager’ for the new ST Learning Lab. Photo: Aarhus University

Since Aarhus University amalgamated with the former Engineering College of Aarhus, Science and Technology has had two units dealing to some extent with the same tasks:

Developing innovative forms of teaching and examinations, and making the lecturers even better at teaching. The aim was naturally to provide the students with the best possible education.

  • Centre for Science Education (CSE) located at Katrinebjerg with a focus on strengthening the science degree programmes in a broader sense.
  • CDIO Development Lab (CDL) located in the Navitas Building with a focus on strengthening the engineering degree programmes. (CDIO stands for Conceive – Design – Implement – Operate and is a teaching concept used by an international network of engineering degree programmes.)

The decision to combine CSE with CDL in a new unit – the ST Learning Lab – came about when Associate Professor Michael E. Caspersen wanted to resign from his position as centre director at CSE and return to his former job at the Department of Computer Science.

Senior Associate Professor Jens Bennedsen, who until now has been manager of CDL, will spearhead STLL, which will be located in the Navitas Building.

“CSE has focused very much on the lecturers and how to create better teaching for our students. It’s important that we hold on to this at STLL so the students get the best possible learning experience. We’ll focus on both the lecturers and the teaching designers,” he says.

Visions of interaction

He states at the same time that the ST Learning Lab will take an interest in structure and coherence in the degree programmes. When Science and Technology converts to a semester structure in September 2017, it will be an ideal opportunity to try out how to get the different elements in a degree programme to interact, not only during individual semesters, but also throughout the entire degree programme, and during individual courses.

“So we’re thinking of the overall education and not so much the individual elements in the degree programmes,” says Senior Associate Professor Bennedsen.

He thus has two visions for STLL:

At a general level, to design degree programmes in which both the teaching and the evaluation will be more coherent for the students, so they can see why they take particular subjects at the same time, and how the subjects can complement each other.

At a course level, to make the teaching more interactive, in the sense that the students learn to a greater extent via well-planned exercises, assignments and experiments, and to a lesser extent via lectures. Senior Associate Professor Bennedsen points out that the students’ learning process can also be activated via increased use of teaching technology such as Blackboard.

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