Design of Tutorial Activities and Homework Assignments for

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10th IFAC Symposium Advances in Control Education
The International Federation of Automatic Control
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
Design of Tutorial Activities and
Homework Assignments for a
Large-Enrollment Introductory Course in
Control Systems
Annika Eichler ∗ Christian Hoffmann ∗ Christian Kautz ∗∗
Herbert Werner ∗
Institute of Control Systems, TUHH, Eißendorfer Str. , 
Hamburg (e-mail: {annika.eichler, christian.hoffmann,
h.werner}@tuhh.de).
∗∗
Center for Teaching and Learning, TUHH, Schwarzenbergstraße ,
 Hamburg (e-mail: [email protected]).
∗
Abstract: This paper presents an integrated design for an undergraduate introductory course
control systems at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). The core features consist in
combining traditional lecture and student led tutorials with weekly homework assignments which
have been designed to encourage continuous learning efforts through a review of previous tutorial
sessions and a preview on forthcoming lectures. The homework concept is implemented via an
open source e-learning platform. A portable DC motor, available through the university library
system, serves as an experimental setup, which is tightly integrated into lecture, tutorials and
homework. Details on the implementation of the proposed design are given and it is evaluated
based on data, which is e.g. collected by evaluation forms completed by students at the end of
term.
Keywords: Introductory course, e-learning, homework assignments, take-home experiments,
student led tutorials.
1. INTRODUCTION
2. COURSE DETAILS AND PREVIOUS DESIGN
The introductory course to control systems is mandatory
for a variety of majors at TUHH ranging from mechanical,
electrical and process engineering to logistics and mobility,
encompassing more than 450 students each winter term
(cf. Fig. 2). Curricula are designed for students to take
the course during their fifth semester and students are
awarded 6 ECTS for successful completion of the exam.
Having completed at least three mathematical courses on
linear algebra, differential and integral calculus, as well
as courses on the modeling of mechanical and electrical
systems, the students are in general well prepared for
basic control systems material. The fact that only about
half of the students have taken Systems Theory requires
special attention throughout the term. The extensive use
of MATLAB for exercise problems and during lectures
poses a further challenge to students.
Subjective impressions during consultation hours and
exam corrections often reveal that students in engineering fail to establish a robust conceptual understanding
of the main lecture topics. This has been confirmed by
various studies, see (Kautz, 2011) and references therein.
We report on integrating tutorials and homework in an
introductory course on control systems with the aim to
increase the student/student and -/tutor interaction to
help students develop a functional understanding of the
core ideas.
Most courses at TUHH follow a relatively rigid structure of
lectures and tutorials. Recently, innovative teaching methods, such as problem-based learning (PBL) (Perrenet et.
al., 2000), have emerged. However typical large-enrollment
lectures with several hundreds of students are usually
not designed based on such models. The academic year
is divided into two terms, which last from April until
September for the summer semester (SuSe) and October
until March for the winter semester (WiSe). Courses are
held in general once a year. Exams are taken during the
last two to three months of each term. Most commonly,
the final exam deremines to the entire grade awarded
for a course, weighted by its credits’ worth. Each credit
(ECTS — European Credit Transfer System) denotes 30 h
of labor, encompassing everything from attendance time
to exam preparation.
978-3-902823-43-4/2013 © IFAC
After a short introduction on signals and systems, the
course covers the basic principles of feedback and heuristic
controller design. Further chapters are dedicated to classical control techniques, covering root-locus- and frequencyresponse-based methods. A brief introduction to digital
control is given at the end of term. Table 1 provides an
overview of the course’s timetable. The course is divided
into lectures and tutorial classes, each of 90 min. length.
They are presented on the blackboard, imposing a natural limitation on presentation speed and style, thereby
making it easier for students to take notes. The lecture
43
10.3182/20130828-3-UK-2039.00036
10th IFAC ACE
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
Table 1. Course’s timetable.
6
III
7
2 Root locus methods and
time delay systems
1 Introduction to frequency
response and Bode plots
No
Topics
WiSe
1 Linear time-invariant systems
of first and second order
9
IV
5 Frequency response analysis
and design of controllers
11
12
13
14
V
2 Digital control
3 DC motor model ident.
and verification
4 Heuristic PID control
of the DC motor
188 163
09/10
161
164
10/11
5 Root locus techniques
e-learning enrolment
Students in 5th semester
800
600
400
200
0
WiSe 10/11
6 Time-delay systems
7 Bode plots and nyquist
stability criterion
8 Lead/Lag compensator design
9 Controller design in frequency
domain for the DC motor
10 Discretization effects
124
(a) Clear connection
to future profession
(b) Sufficient background knowledge
(c) Tutorial problems
solved independently
11/12
1
0,8
0,6
0,4
0,2
0
12/13
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
650
600
550
500
450
400
Week No.
Fig. 2. Number of en- Fig. 3. Average score and parrolled students
ticipants in homework assignments for the WiSe
/.
11 Recap lecture
notes are also available as a 250-page printable PDF document 1 , containing all content of the lecture, exercise
problems and elaborate solutions. During terms prior to
WiSe /, the tutorial classes were conducted in a
large lecture hall and up to three small tutorial sections led
by academic staff members. Prior to each tutorial, students
were expected to solve a set of problems with the help of
the lecture notes. The tutorials had been meant to take the
form of in-depth question-and-answer sessions specific to
those problems. About a quarter of the tutorial problems
were connected to the modeling and control of a DC motor
in simulation. In addition, students were able to borrow a
DC motor “suitcase experiment” set from the institute (see
Fig. 5), connect it via USB to their personal computers and
perform real-time experiments at home.
• Availability of resources (space, personnel, etc.)
3. OUTLINE OF THE MODIFIED COURSE DESIGN
The modifications are based on the idea of interconnecting
the learning experiences from lecture and tutorial sessions
more seamlessly via weekly homework assignments, submitted online, and smaller-size student-led tutorial groups.
The purpose of the homework assignments is to promote
a continuous learning effort by engaging students with
the material prior to the actual lecture, as well as by
requiring the students to review contents of the tutorial
problems. Moreover the students are motivated to commit
to learning groups to check their submitted homework
among themselves. These learning groups as well as the
small tutorials were meant to foster collaborative learning.
Changes were implemented over the course of two terms,
starting with student-led tutorials in WiSe / and
refining the homework concept in WiSe /. Details
are given in the sections below.
In the past, the course was rated quite highly (about
2 on the scale from 1 [highest] to 5 [lowest]) in endof-term evaluations. However, it became apparent from
consultation hours, exam corrections and evaluations (cf.
Fig. 1) that some issues require attention. In conjunction
with comments and discussions with students, it was
revealed, that theoretical depth, when not clearly related
to practical applications, may be perceived as difficult and
students may not be able to identify connections to future
professions on their own. This can encourage a habit to
concentrate on passing the exam as the sole entity by
which the final grade of the course is derived. As a result of
the evaluation of terms preceding WiSe /, several
objectives for a modification of the course design have been
derived:
To improve the practical understanding of the students,
the DC motor experiment is seamlessly integrated into lecture notes and tutorial problems, as well as into dedicated
homework assignments. The overall course design can be
visualized in a simple diagram as given in Fig. 4.
3.1 Homework Assignments
• Active participation of students in the tutorials,
• Greater emphasis on practical examples,
• Level background knowledge among students during early
tutorials/lectures,
• Promotion of continuous and collaborative learning efforts.
To motivate continuous participation of the students during lectures and tutorials a new homework concept, consisting of 12 weekly homeworks, is introduced. For each
successful submission students are awarded 1 % of the final
grade, amounting to a total of 12 %. We expect students
attending tutorials and lectures regularly to complete the
homework assignments in a about 30-40 min. There are
These objectives are constrained by several factors:
• Unchanged (percieved) student workload,
• Simple organizational structure that is easy to communicate,
1
3.8
2.4 2.6
Fig. 1. Evaluation results 2 . (a) ”With respect to my
future profession the learning goals of the lecture were
clear.”, (b) ”My background knowledge was sufficient
for the course.”, (c) ”I solved the exercises on my
own.”
2 DC motor modeling
8
10
186
3.8
Avg. Score
No of
Week Ch. Lect.
Topics
1 Introduction to Laplace
transform and transfer functions
Linear time-invariant system
1
I
4 theory in time and
2
frequency domain
Feedback and classical PID
3
2 control with anti-windup
compensation
II
4
1 Introduction to MATLAB
5
2 Performance specifications
Tutorials
3.0 2.9
Participants
Lectures
4.0
3.0
2.0
1.0
2 Scoring scheme: 5.0 bad/not conform, . . . , 1.0 very good/conform.
The number of answers and standard deviation are shown.
available online at www.tuhh.de/~rtshw/ItCS2013
44
10th IFAC ACE
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
Theory
Lecture
Post-exercise assignments In tutorials, the mostly theoretical lecture content is applied to problem tasks. The
post-exercise assignments are designed to reinforce those
subjects by questions that build on the existing exercise
tasks, mostly literally extending a given problem divided
into subtasks a) to c) by a further subtask d). The basic
idea is that if students have attentively participated during
tutorial classes, the post-exercise assignments should be
relatively easy. They are mostly open questions, pointing
out the problem from the lecture notes which they refer
to.
Theory
Explain
Prepare
DC Motor
Home
work
Prepare
Tutorial
Recap
Fig. 4. Visualization of the novel
course design
Fig. 5. DC motor
suitcase
Example 2. (Post-exercise assignment).
Revisit Prob. 2.4).
2
. Propose a
Consider a plant with transfer function G(s) = s+1
controller for this plant that simultaneously fulfills all the following
conditions: (here σ(t) denotes the unit step)
(i) achieve zero steady state error for du (t) = σ(t), r(t) =
dy (t) = 0,
(ii) achieve zero steady state error for dy (t) = sin(t), r(t) =
du (t) = 0 and
(iii) stabilize the closed loop system shown in the figure.
dy
du
two different types of homework assignments, ’pre-lecture
assignments’ and ’post-exercise assignments’. The former
are intended to prepare students for forthcoming lectures;
the latter to help them review essential learning goals
and extend the tutorial exercises. In general a pre-lecture
assignment and two post-exercise assignments are to be
submitted each week. The tutors are involved in the homework design by testing and giving feedback.
Pre-lecture assignments The aim of Pre-lecture assignments (Kolari and Savander-Ranne, 2007) is that the students deal with upcoming subjects on their own in preparation of the lecture class, e.g. by reading the lecture notes.
Thus, the lecture time can itself be used more efficiently,
because the lecturer can focus on the more difficult aspects
trusting that students have already acquired the basic
facts. The students can follow more easily if they recognize
elements, they have already studied themselves, which
effectively deepens the understanding process by recapitulation. Pre-lecture assignments should in general require
little effort, in order to avoid frustration. Therefore, page
numbers, even specific paragraphs of the lecture notes necessary to solve a task are given explicitly, setting very clear
expectations. Continuous adaption of the assignments are
required whenever the lecture deviates from the timetable.
An extensive task catalog, which has been designed preterm is recommended. Below, an example of a pre-lecture
assignment from the fourth week is given. The question
is of the multiple-choice type, which reduces the students’
efforts required to answer and facilitates possibilities to
identify misconceptions by quick data analysis.
r
e
−
C(s)
u
ũ
G(s)
y
In Prob. 2.4) referred to in the assignment, it has been
required to find a controller, that satisfies only objectives
2
(ii) and (iii) for a plant G(s) = s(s+1)
. Knowing that to
satisfy (i) the controller needs to incorporate an integrator
and that for (ii) and (iii) it does not matter whether the
integrator is contained in either plant or controller, simply
the same solution as in Prob. 2.4) can be adopted and no
tedious calculations are required to obtain full marks.
3.2 Implementation in the E-learning Platform ILIAS
Paper-based homework assignments during the previous
term have suggested that online-tests facilitate a more
economical use of teaching assistant time. They also enable
students to freely migrate between tutorial groups, which
students have previously been required to register and stay
in , as they functioned as the submission hub.
The presented homework concept has been implemented
on the e-learning platform ILIAS 3 . ILIAS is an open
source learning management system (LMS), developed
at the University of Cologne/Germany. Although ILIAS
is not the standard LMS used at TUHH, it is used
for its increased flexibility. It is also easily coupled to
stud.IP, which is the standard LMS used at TUHH. ILIAS
offers the possibility to construct objects called ’questionpools’ to collect and organize sets of questions, that can
than be easily assigned to ’test’-objects. Each homework
assignment has been realized in one ’test’. For each test,
a set of individual properties can be configured. In the
implemented setup e.g. options have been chosen such
that for multiple choice tests order of possible answers
is randomly generated each try. A test can be repeated
as often as desired while it is online, and previously
given answers can be seen. Only the responses given last
are graded. Multiple-choice questions are automatically
Example 1. Pre-lecture assignment
Which of the following
statements about ’system type’ is correct (lecture notes pp. 71-73,
Definition 2.1, Figure 2.16)? The system type is determined by...
(1) ...the largest power of s in the denominator of the transfer
function L(s).
(2) ...the number of integrators in the transfer function L(s).
(3) ...the difference between the number of poles and zeros of a
transfer function L(s).
(4) ...the largest integer k such that sk is a factor of the denominator of L(s).
An explicit reference to the definition of ’system type’
is given, which is equivalent to the fourth answer. Here,
correct answers are identified by italics. The second correct
answer requires some degree of reflection on previously
learned material to link the course material during the
entire term. The first and third answer possibilities recap
the definitions of ’system order’ and ’pole excess’, such
that the students implicitly learn to distinguish the new
definition ’system type’ from those already known.
3
45
http://www.ilias.de
10th IFAC ACE
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
corrected and only completely correct answers are marked
as correct. Open questions need to be corrected manually,
which was done by the student tutors. For this purpose,
ILIAS also provides an extensive role and permission
management system. The final results are only visible
when manually activated.
and-answer sessions expecting the students to attend well
prepared. Since WiSe /, in the light of an increased student workload, students are expected to prepare questions regarding the task description rather than
its solution, while detailed solutions are worked out during
sessions.
The tests are online between two lectures for almost a
week. As its main goal, this form of online-tests encourages
working in groups as well as continuous self-assessment
and learning. Cooperation between students when solving
homework problems is encouraged, and the possibility that
some students may copy answers from others is taken into
account and considered to be outweighed by the benefits.
3.4 Motor Assignments
Due to the large number of students, on-campus labs for
this course have so far not been established. Instead, a
DC motor suitcase experiment was introduced four years
ago. A set of institute-built DC motors can be borrowed
by students motivated to perform real-time experiments
at home. As motor tasks were published in a separate
document, integration in the general course was lacking.
The lending process was cumbersome and students suffered from insufficient practical experience with MATLAB.
Consequently, only very motivated students took advantage of the offering.
3.3 Student-Led Tutorials
Tutorials led by more experienced students are relatively
common in higher education throughout several disciplines
for several reasons (Volder et. al., 1985), (Magin, 1995),
(Moust and Schmidt, 1994). They allow for smaller groups,
which facilitates an activation of the attendees. This
reduces passive listening found in large lecture halls, since
student tutors as opposed to staff members are more likely
to alleviate the fear of asking questions. By providing
more individual attention for each participant, smaller
groups encourage increased interaction, thereby enhancing
the learning process. In the case of highly inhomogeneous
levels of background knowledge, smaller size student led
tutorials can help students catch up quickly.
The new concept enhances the central role of the DC motor
in the course design. Early in the lecture, a simple model
of the DC motor is introduced. The subject is intensified in
the tutorial classes, where the modeling is discussed under
different points of view and basic parameter identification
is performed. In addition, the tasks concerning the motor
have been revised, simplified and integrated in the regular
set of exercise problems. The motor tasks are discussed by
means of prerecorded experimental data and students are
encouraged to do the real-time experiment themselves. In
addition, two long-term homework assignments dedicated
to the motor have been devised, by which students can
receive bonus points.
The above reasoning has influenced the design of weekly
tutor meetings led by staff members to focus on social skill
development to a similar degree as on technical training.
Weekly meetings have been directed by two staff members
as well as the professor to engage tutors in discussions
about key learning goals and motivational strategies. In
these meetings detailed reports of the tutorials were given
by the tutors. An important tool for providing effective
teaching is to identify and eliminate a student’s misconceptions about fundamental technical issues (Brose and
Kautz, 2011), (Kautz, 2011). The tutors need to be trained
in the observation of these misconceptions and report
them. Future exercises can then be designed with these in
mind. This knowledge can also be fed back to the design of
weekly homework assignments in the form of Just-in-TimeTeaching (JiTT) (Novak et. al., 1999). The Center for
Teaching and Learning of TUHH supports tutor training
by professionally held seminars, that can be taken for academic credits. Furthermore, staff members have attended
tutorial sessions to further evaluate and improve on the
quality of peer teaching by giving the tutors feedback and
suggestions. As a regular element of the meetings, role
playing scenarios have been conducted, where each time
one of the tutors is appointed to conduct part of a tutorial,
while all the other attendees including the staff members
assume the roles of the students. A simple, yet effective,
tool to secure consistent dissemination of organizational
information consists in recording the results of each tutor
meeting in writing. This can also help ensure the conveyance of a consistent set of technical learning goals in
the tutorials.
The number of motors available has been increased from 30
to 60. To reduce organizational effort, the lending process
has been taken over by the university library with which
students are well familiar. Students are explicitly asked
to work in groups, since 60 devices are still too few for
500 students. An additional introductory lecture has been
offered to introduce MATLAB and Simulink for control
systems, showing the relative ease by which DC motor
experiments can be performed at home. An online forum
has been set up, in which a tutor answers as ’trouble
shooter’ to all practical questions.
3.5 Weekly Time Line
A weekly schedule is shown in Fig. 6. The lecture takes
place on Fridays and 21 tutorial sections are spread over
the whole week. Each Friday night a new homework is
taken online, whose post-tutorial assignments refer to
the exercise problems of the previous week and prelecture assignments refer to next week’s lecture. Therefore,
the submission deadline is set to Thursday night of the
upcoming week. Student tutors are given a week for
grading until the results are published. Each Wednesday
the tutor-meeting takes place.
4. EVALUATION
Homework Assignments Homework participation levels
are reported in Fig. 3. Even though the number of participants degrades from 650 to 450 over the course of the
During WiSe / student-led tutorials have been
conducted under the premise that they remain question46
10th IFAC ACE
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
Week (k)
Mo
Tu
We
Tutorial (k)
Discuss
homework (k-1)
Th
Fr
Week (k+1)
- Pre-lecture ass.
for lecture (k)
- Post-tutorial ass.
for tutorial (k-1)
Lecture (k)
Lecture
(k)
Sa
Su
Homework (k+1)
Mo
Tutorial
(k+1)
Tutorial (k+1)
Tu
Discuss
discuss
We homework (k)
Th
Fr
Student Action
Homework (k)
Lecture (k+1)
Sa
- Pre-lecture ass.
for lecture (k+1)
- Post-tutorial ass.
for tutorial (k)
Homework
(k+2)
Homework
(k+2)
Tutor Action
4.0 2,7 2,7
3.0
2.0
1.0 165 163
Correction of Homework (k-1)
Tutor meeting (k), Prepare Tutorial (k+1)
Correction of Homework (k)
Tutor meeting (k+1), Prepare Tutorial (k+2)
Announcement of Results
for Homework (k)
Appointment
WiSe 09/10
3.0
2.3 2.0
2.7
Correction of Homework (k+1)
3.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
140
137
132
WiSe 12/13
140
2,1 2,0
(a) Tutorials have
been well explained
140 137
181 181
115 137
10/11
11/12
12/13
(b) Tutorials have
facilitated understanding
2.1
1.4
1.6
218 219
133
WiSe 11/12
3.1
2.0
2,0 2,0
Fig. 8. Evaluation results 2 . (a) ”The person conducting
the exercise class explaned the content well.”, (b) ”The
exercise class has helped me understand the content of
the lecture.”
Fig. 6. Weekly time line
4.0
2,1 2,2
(a) Homework
helped in selfassessment
(b) Recognized
elements of preassignments in
lectures
(c) Better understood
exercise problems due
to post-assignments
2.0
133
12/13
(a) Better supervision
than in large group
(b) More active
participation than in
large tutorial group
Fig. 9. Evaluation results 2 . (a) ”I felt better supervised in
the small tutorial groups than I would have in large
ones.”, (b) ”I participated more actively in the small
tutorial groups than I would have in a large one.”.
(d) Checked results
using MATLAB
to distinguish between pre- and post-assignments due to
software restrictions. Moreover in the closed questions in
the end-of-term evaluation analyzed in Fig. 7, the homeworks were rated helpful in general, but especially the
pre-assignments seem here to have the desired effect. Concerning the self-contained use of MATLAB the evaluation
shows the major need of reform. The free-text responses
support this. Although there the introductory lecture for
MATLAB and Simulink was evaluated as ”very helpful”,
”great”, ”good starting point”, there was also the wish for
more.
Fig. 7. Evaluation results 2 . (a) ”The homework helped me
in assessing my learning progress.”, (b) ”I recognized
elements of the pre-assignments during lectures.”, (c)
”I better understood the exercise problem solutions
after post-assignments.”, (d) ”I checked my homework
submissions using MATLAB.”.
semester, this is still many compared to the participants in
exercise classes in Fig. 10(b) with at most 300 and regarding the fact, that in WiSe / 466 and for /
454 students have written the exam. Thus the number
of students who continuously handed in their homeworks
and are expected to write the exam this year match the
numbers of previous years. These numbers indicate that
the majority accepts to study with more continuous effort,
in order to receive better grades.
4.1 Student-Led Tutorials
Student led tutorials are generally regarded as a success in their implementation during WiSe /2012 and
/2013 for several reasons. By the majority of the
students, they are not perceived as less instructive than
staff-led tutorials (cf. Fig. 8), which can be seen to receive
much lower ratings (as in WiSe /2011). Students also
feel to be under better guidance due to the smaller tutorial
groups (cf. Fig. 9).
Student responses to open questions regarding the homeworks in the end-of-term evaluation indicate that the majority hold the homework concept in high regard, because
”they help for practice and motivation”, ”make you stay
on the ball”, etc. The grading concept in contrast, has
received negative ratings as bonus points are generally preferred. However, it remains questionable whether such high
participation levels would have been achieved. In addition
to the rating scheme, the students have shown reservations
regarding the pre-lecture assignment. It has been argued
that it was ”too hard to deal with unknown content”,
”takes too long to get into the new subjects”, etc. As Fig. 3.
shows, these subjective statements are not confirmed by
the students’ performance. Scores remain on a constant
high level with only a slight decrease over Christmas. An
average of 76% of the homework assignments have been
answered correctly. The pre-lecture assignments maintain
an average of 75.8% with a standard deviation of 18.4%
and 76.1% of the post-exercise assignments with 11.9%.
Thus, though perceived differently, no difference in the
achieved scores can be observed between the assignment
types. The average time to answer the tasks has been
34 min., which fits the design objectives. It is not possible
Despite a surplus of about 100 in the number of enrolled
students (cf. Fig. 2) in WiSe /2013 over /2012,
tutorial attendance levels have started at only slightly
higher levels in WiSe /2013. Taking this into account,
the attendance has remained on a higher level in terms of
absolute values as well has showing less relative decrease
(cf. Fig. 10(b)). Tutorial no. 1 of WiSe /2012 is
considered an outlier, since in that session students had
to register for the homework assignments, which was not
necessary in WiSe /2013. This may possibly be due
to the change of strategy, not expecting the students to
attend with exercise problems fully prepared. Ultimately,
we believe, that this has led to less frustration and a more
constructive atmosphere during classes.
It turns out, that technical skill — though a solid level
should be present — seems to be less elementary than a
tutor’s reliability and ability to engage him- or herself and
others in communication. This appears to be equally true
47
50
40
30
20
10
0
First tutorial
Last tutorial
A B CDE F G H I J
Tutor
Attendees
Attendees
10th IFAC ACE
August 28-30, 2013. Sheffield, UK
organizational simplicity and consistency for both students
and tutors. Student led tutorials offer a comprehensive student support with improved tutor-student ratio and comparable learning effects despite possibly inferior technical
abilities of the tutors. E-learning platforms such as ILIAS
provide the possibility to efficiently manage homework
tasks. Pre-lecture assignments enable students, to benefit
more from each lecture and post-exercise assignments motivate to recap and deepen tutorial problems. In general,
the implemented concept is an improvement, which is
shown both objectively and subjectively via evaluations.
Further data from exam results and long-term evaluation
will further facilitate an improved implementation. Future
modifications should be considered one at a time and
carefully evaluated with respect to their educational value,
e.g. by concept inventory tests.
WiSe 11/12
WiSe 12/13
400
300
200
100
0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Tutorial No.
(a) Attendees vs. student tutor. (b) Total attendees vs. tutoin WiSe /
rial no.
Fig. 10. Attendees of tutorial classes.
for basic engineering courses such as the one considered
in this paper, while technical skill may gain importance
in advanced courses. By personal assessment the technical
skill among the student tutors has appeared lower in WiSe
/13 compared to /12. An evaluation of the attendance
levels per tutor suggests (cf. Fig. 10(a)), that lacking
technical or soft skill is compensated for by the migration
of students to different tutorial groups. It can be observed,
that tutors B, F , H and J have been able to maintain
and in some cases even increase the attendance level
despite generally decreasing attendance (cf. Fig. 10(b)).
From personal visits to tutorials in session, only tutor B
has shown both remarkable technical and communication
skill, whereas tutors F , H and J have impressed mainly
by the latter. It has also been observed, that those have
also been the most participative during the preparatory
tutor meetings and role playing scenarios. It is the subjective opinion of the responsible staff members, that an
improvement in communication skill clearly benefits from
professional assistance. Still, tutors have been shown to
be quite receptive to the methods applied during tutor
meetings, as a post-term evaluation has revealed, that .
% have found the meetings to be technically helpful, 
% have stated that they helped them get rid of their fears
to speak in front of an audience and  % have stated to
benefit also didactically. As a conclusion, a future efficient
recruitment process should focus on evaluating an aspiring
tutor’s soft skills at least to an equal degree and could
possibly be conducted as a role playing scenario.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial and professional support of the Zentrum für Lehre und Lernen at
TUHH and the funding by the German Federal Ministry
of Education and Research (promotional referrence 01 PL
11047).
REFERENCES
Brose, A. and Kautz, C. (2011). Identifying and Addressing Student Difficulties in Engineering Statics. 1st
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Kautz, C. (2011). Development of Instructional Materials
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4.2 Motor Assignments
In the WiSe /, motors sets have been borrowed
in total 346 times from the library. This high number,
compared to last year, confirms that the effort to integrate
the motor experiment in the overall lecture concept has
worked well. In the evaluation it is generally rated as
”good idea”, but also some frustration is expressed, that
some experiments did not work, and the demand for more
support, especially personal (consultation hour). Although
it is not possible to teach MATLAB from scratch or offer
a regular laboratory due to time and space constraints,
it is planned for the upcoming lecture to book for every
exercise once in the beginning a computer pool, such that
an interactive introduction to MATLAB and the motor
can be given in an exercise class style instead of lecturestyle teaching.
5. CONCLUSION
Implementing new concepts in large-enrollment courses requires immense organizational effort. It is vital to maintain
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