Reflection at work: making a positive difference to PDP modules

Hush, Michael (2012). Reflection at work: making a positive difference to PDP modules. In: EE 2012 - International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in Engineering Education, Conference Proceedings, 18-20 Sep 2012, Coventry University, Loughborough University.



The compulsory personal development planning modules, T191 and T397, have acted as ‘bookends’ for the Open University’s BEng(Hons) since 1998. Students undertake a structured programme of self-appraisal and planning activities to help them define and then follow an appropriate study plan of modules leading to their BEng(Hons). They are supported by an individual tutor, who is generally a chartered engineer, so that they can receive advice and guidance on their professional aspirations. Since its introduction, the HE level 1 module has had over 9000 registrations leading to around 2000 students progressing to the HE level 3 module.

As the recent successful accreditations of the MEng and BEng(Hons) by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers as well as the re-accreditations by the Institution of Engineering Designers and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers attest, the emphasis on PDP within the qualifications is welcomed and endorsed by the Professional Engineering Institutions.

While the Open University can point to excellent levels of student satisfaction, both generally and in the Engineering programme, the PDP modules do not meet student expectations. This paper will look at improvements made to the PDP modules in recent years and present evidence of significant success. It will discuss the form and philosophy behind these changes to the modules’ structure and assessment strategy. It will go on to consider the changes required by the move to the new funding regime and how these will affect the implementation of PDP within the engineering qualifications.

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