UCL Centre for Engineering Education


Understanding Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency: A Longitudinal and Comparative Study

30 March 2020, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Staff at an event

Regrettably, this seminar has been cancelled.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff


Paula Broome


Roberts Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

How does participating in an engineering degree result in a person coming to ‘think like an engineer’? We know from research that there are so many aspects of the experience of studying engineering that play a role in formulating an identity as an engineer, and this has prompted much important emphasis on project-work, extra-mural involvements and internships. But what about the challenging engagement with engineering knowledge that is at the heart of the engineering degree? Research has given us a good sense of the conceptual challenges in these domains of knowledge, and much innovative pedagogy has been developed to address these issues. But there has been limited work that tracks closely the development in ways of thinking over the four years of the undergraduate engineering degree. This project thus tracks engineering students in a particular discipline (Chemical Engineering) longitudinally over their progression from university entry through degree completion. In order to understand in more detail, the subtle and distinct aspects of the engineering curriculum, the study also tracks students in a closely related science program (Chemistry). The study has a further interest to be able to identify the influences of cultural and institutional context, and thus data collection is carried out at two institutions in three different countries – United States, United Kingdom and South Africa – that have been carefully selected for their differing characteristics especially around student intake. This talk will highlight some of unique features of each program and students’ perception of how they are developing as professionals as they engage with disciplinary knowledge.

About the Speaker

Dr Nicole Pitterson

at Virginia Tech