Event details

Developing curriculum, learning and pedagogies in STEM subjects: the case of Engineering

Monday, 30 April 2018

Participation and successful achievement in STEM subjects is increasingly emphasized in recent higher vocational, technical, and HE policy. This seminar focuses on the practices that contribute to successful HE level STEM provision, using material from an interdisciplinary collaborative project, involving academic staff from engineering and education at UCL and UCL Institute of Education. The seminar engages with a range of central concerns for the development of curriculum, learning and pedagogies in STEM.


Fitness for purpose: developing the pedagogy of project-based, collaborative learning in Engineering

In response to evolving work practices in engineering, renewed attention has turned to the development of innovative pedagogies to facilitate the entry of graduates into the employment market. Project-based Learning (PjBL) in interdisciplinary groups has been developed in HE contexts to provide students with authentic learning experiences to facilitate the transition to 21st century workplaces. Yet despite the introduction of innovative PjBL and broader inquiry-based curricula, comprehensive understanding of the pedagogical practices has not yet emerged (Damsa & Nerland, 2016)[1]

Drawing upon an on-going collaborative Institute of Education/UCL ‘seed corn’ funded project, this three-part session will identify and discuss:
  • the rationale behind and challenges faced in developing an innovative 21st century HE curriculum;  
  • student learning and engagement in Project-based Learning activities;
  • the professional development of FE/HE teachers to research and facilitate Project-based Learning.

Emanuela Tilley, Director, Integrated Engineering Programme UCL Engineering 

Emanuela Tilley is the Director of the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP) in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at UCL.  With a background in mechanical and civil engineering, Emanuela worked for 7 years as a consulting engineer before joining UCL. She designed the curricula for IEP projects and global challenges to introduce problem, experimental, research and enquiry-based learning to a multi-disciplinary first year cohort of engineering students at UCL.  She champions a teaching and learning programme focused on self-awareness, teamwork and leadership aimed at supporting students in their development of engineering skills.  The focus of her current research is effective assessment and feedback systems for design-based engineering education and understanding the student learning experience of context rich, authentic problem/project-based learning pedagogy. Emanuela is a Fellow of the HEA.


Dr Kate Roach, Senior Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme, UCL Engineering

Dr Kate Roach is a senior teaching fellow within the Faculty of Engineering, UCL, where she manages the cornerstone, large-scale project-based learning module for year one, term one undergraduates who are making the transition from school/college to university.  She also leads on teamwork and leadership curricula across the Engineering Faculty.  Kate spent many years working in the media and believes that engineering, like television production or writing, is a creative profession.  As such she brings many of the techniques used by the creative arts to the engineering curriculum. Her academic research began with a study of the ways in which scientific thought are assimilated by and change cultures.  Currently, she is actively researching the way in which understandings created in the social sciences and the humanities can support the development of engineers. Kate is a Fellow of the HEA.


Dr Ann LahiffLecturer in Education, Post-14, Institute of Education, and Centre for Engineering Education, UCL

Dr Ann Lahiff is a Lecturer in Education, post 14, at the UCL, Institute of Education, London and a member of the Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) at UCL. Working with vocational practitioners, Ann’s teaching and research has centred on the ways in which learning in and for the workplace can be understood and enhanced. Her specific interest focusses on the observation of vocational practice and the development of expertise. Current projects include the UCL project: Developing the pedagogy of project-based collaborative learning in Engineering Education and a comparative project on Apprenticeships in the Aircraft Industry in the UK and Germany. Ann is a Fellow of the HEA.


Dr Janet Broad, Lecturer in Education and Professional Development, UCL Institute of Education.

Dr Janet Broad is a Lecturer in Education and Professional Development at the UCL, Institute of Education, London. She is a teacher educator for the Further Education (FE) sector. Her research interests include the professional development of vocational teachers, both at the initial stages of their development and in their continuing professional development, the development of expertise and the understanding of vocational knowledge. Her 2016 paper on vocational knowledge was ‘Highly Commended’ by the Journal of Vocational Education and Training. She is currently researching engineering pedagogy through the UCL project:  Developing the pedagogy of project-based collaborative learning in Engineering Education. Janet is a Fellow of the HEA.



Part 1: Developing the HE curriculum to meet the challenges of 21st century engineering: the Integrated Engineering Programme at University College, London.

Emanuela Tilley, Director, Integrated Engineering Programme UCL Engineering, Dr Kate Roach, Senior Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme, UCL Engineering

Part 2: Student learning and engagement in PjBL activities: disciplinary issues.

Dr Ann Lahiff, Lecturer in Education, Post-14, Institute of Education, and Centre for Engineering Education, UCL.


Part 3: Learning from PjBL research: the professional development of future further and higher education practitioners.

Dr Janet Broad, Lecturer in Education and Professional Development, UCL Institute of Education.


[1] Damsa, C. & Nerland, M. (2016)  Student Learning Through Participation in Inquiry Activities: Two Case Studies in Teacher and Computer Engineering Education, Vocations and Learning, 9:275–294


Network: Post-Compulsory and Higher Education
Date(s): Monday, 30 April 2018
Times: 11:00 - 16:00
Signup Deadline: Friday, 27 April 2018
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
Lunch Provided: Yes
Spaces Left: Places available
Prices: Members: Free, Guests: £60.00
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