It has been a long time since I blogged here; I don’t write down my academic/formal reflections anymore. Today I am going to have an active effort to restart this effort, because in this couple of days – my first few days of my final semester in NUS, I found something worth reflecting about. It is the education of our engineering students, particularly for mechanical engineers but I wouldn’t mind if readers would like to contribute their thoughts on other departments.
As my Final Year Project (FYP), I wanted to delve into a research topic I would be truly interested in. Correct me if I am wrong, but there was no hard and fast guideline that was made known to students that the FYP would have to be mechanically technical (eg Solidworks designs, fluid, statics, feedback, thermodynamics equations etc). In short, there was no guidelines at all in fact to how an FYP should be evaluated. Should it be evaluated based on the student’s amount of work and effort, technical expertise in that area, or? The complex/unknown assessment guidelines makes it difficult for students and examiners alike to come to one conclusion on the grades.
Ultimately, I believe that FYP grades should be given based on a student’s effort, demonstrated by their progress reports, presentations, and end result (if any). The course of work undertaken by a student should be guided by their consulting professor, and an examiner should focus on the work done based on the direction that is already charted out. The conflicting views by consulting professor and examiners often make many students confused, and in my case, caused a severe drop in my confidence, and frequent questioning/self doubt of my work, only on the basis that the topic itself is not suitable.
Despite being warned about an adverse grade so my class of honours is effectively doomed, I believe that my research into Project Based Learning for Mechanical Engineering students is a meaningful undertaking that can impact many more students. Education policy for Engineering is something we can and should play a part in. As a part of this system, we should learn about the current steps taken to mould better individuals, reflect on these and provide constructive feedback. Otherwise, suggestions will always be ill-informed.
I will be sharing more of my work/experienced over the next 3 months. Maybe no one will be interested, and no one will give any comments. I will celebrate even the smallest things/changes that matter. For those who still believe in changes for our engineering education, please spread the message about this student movement in NUS to rethink how we learn engineering.
And sincerely, I welcome all discussions (: How has your FYP impacted you, and what are your general thoughts about it?
Update 24022014: I had a change in cross-examiner.