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Modularisation and Sliced Bread By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education

"...These reasons seemed persuasive to universities and most have now put in place a module/semester system. Modularisation must indeed be the best thing since sliced bread. However a few institutions held out against the trend and we are now beginning to see a swing back in the other direction."

Attracting Students into Materials By Cheryl Anderson, University of Wales, Swansea

"What attracts students to study Materials? Clearly with application numbers dropping it is a question that needs to be answered. A recent workshop on effective school's liaison threw up several ideas as to the influences on a student's choice of degree subject or even if they choose to go on from A-level at all."

Laugh? I almost learned something By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education

"Why do many academics enjoy practising their profession? Surely not because it makes them rich - it must just be fun. However our idea of fun is seen by the outside world to be limited to a separate category of activity, sometimes called "The Public Understanding of Science" or "Science for Schools" as if the fun is reserved for external public consumption to counter the fact that the real thing is dry as dust. Surely the fun should permeate every scientific or engineering activity, including education."

What's the use of lectures? By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education.

"It is a cliché to say that lectures are not a very efficient way of helping students to learn. I bought (and read) my first book on the subject in 1972, after only 4 years practising as a lecturer. Twenty-nine years later I still give 50-minute lectures, despite having read several more books, all of which repeat the lesson that I am probably wasting my time - and, more importantly, my students' time..."

A response to the draft Materials benchmark statement. By Professor Adrian Sutton, Oxford University.

"Almost the same list could have been written 30 years ago. And yet there are enormous changes that have taken place, both in technology and in science, that should impact on what we teach in materials science..."

Educational development units - can they work well? By Professor Lewis Elton, University College London.

"Names matter and it is significant that over the past twenty years, Educational development units have been variously described as academic staff development units, staff development units, staff training units etc. etc. This plethora of titles indicates not only an uncertainty of purpose, but also the need to present an acceptable front to the academic community..."

The quality of materials graduates. By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education.

"It would be hard to find anyone to disagree with the assertions that we need to attract good recruits to our discipline and that our universities and colleges should strive to produce graduates of high quality.  It gets more difficult when we try to define 'good recruit' or 'high quality'..."

A critical look at undergraduate teaching of Materials Science. By Professor Adrian Sutton, Oxford University. (Adobe Acrobat format, 26k).

"We can probably all agree that any degree course should strive to achieve certain general educational aims... I think most of us see the task of teaching undergraduates as the transmission of authoritative information about materials..."

Aims and objectives of a degree in Materials Science. By Professor Adrian Sutton, Oxford University. (Adobe Acrobat format, 20k).

"While thinking through this paper it soon became apparent that I had to address the questions 'what is materials science', and indeed 'what is a material'. There were some surprises (for me anyway) in what emerged from this difficult process..."

A dose of anti-knock. By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education.

"It is easy to be carried away by the negative aspects of change - particularly forced change. Gather any three materials academics together and you can trigger an hour's diatribe against SPR, benchmarking, modularisation, semesterisation and grey uniformity..."

Who needs accreditation? By Professor Peter Goodhew, Director of the UK Centre for Materials Education.

"The accreditation of undergraduate degree programmes effectively forces universities to jump through industry's hoops. Industry is, on the whole, primarily concerned about the short term..."

» Response from Dr Rik Brydson, University of Leeds.

"I strongly agree with Peter's viewpoint. Effectively the Engineering Council has set up a scheme that will ultimately lead to the demise of Engineering in the UK..."

The InterActive ClassRoom. By Professor Jim Boyle, University of Strathclyde

"A few years ago it became clear to Professor Jim Boyle and his colleagues in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, that their average student, particularly in the first year, was struggling..."

  

Notes about this forum

This area of the website contains articles intended to stimulate debate amongst the Materials community. Some of the articles are deliberately provocative (and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Centre). Please feel free to express your own opinion, or suggest other topics for discussion. To do so, contact the UK Centre for Materials Education.

  

 

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