DESIGN LEARNING AND THE ASSESSMENT OF INSTRUCTION
Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA)
The accreditation of engineering design components of the curriculum is based upon a characterization of design as "... creative, iterative, and often open-ended ..."1. The Universal Student Rating of Instruction (USRI) is based upon a composite of expectations including those involving: organization, detail in course outline, responses to questions, opportunities for assistance, evaluation methods, and perception of instruction. In this paper we examine the competing nature of these two
... of these two characterizations. Even the most casual perusal of the questions posed by the USRI reveals that the premise underlying this instrument is one that clearly (albeit implicitly) points to a number of expectations. The nature of the subject matter, the nature of the learning process, the learning environment, the role of the student, that of the instructor, and that of the relationships between all of these are all assumed to benefit from adherence to a particular pre-ordained form. Specifically, the curriculum is perceived to consist of a body of facts, the learning process involves a transfer of these facts from instructor to student, the role of the student is passive, and responsibility for learning is the sole preserve of the instructor. The authors hold that this most sterile and simplistic set of expectations is fundamentally at odds with what should be happening in a design course. In this paper we juxtapose the nature of design and design learning with the teaching algorithm underlying the USRI.