previewAssalamualaikum wrt & Hello to all

Sorry we’ve been away for quite sometimes from blogging. We were quite busy with Ramadhan and Syawal and thus unable to concentrate on blogging very well.

As the Head for newly established Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETaL) at my university, it is my responsibility to bring the change and show a good example to my colleagues how innovation could be done in the classroom to promote higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and at the same time sparking the creativity among them. So, this is the story:

These are the efforts of my students & AP Dr Suzana Yusup, CCB3043 Kinetic Reactor Design, who also enrolled in Process Safety & Loss Prevention course, (the owner is Dr Dzul​) and they also enrolled in Chemical Process Dynamic and Instrumentation Control (CPDIC), and the course owners are Dr Abbas and Dr Haslinda Zabiri.

This semester, the students were given two projects that they have to carry out comprising of
i) Development of Board Game which integrates all three courses
ii) Solve an open ended problem – related to managing waste to wealth

What is the underpinning learning theory?

We used cooperative learning as the learning strategy. Cooperative learning has been introduced as an instructional method of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s’ learning [1]. Cooperative learning is also claimed to reduce the occurrence of unpleasant situation in a group work [2]. Many world renowned engineering education specialists recommended to use cooperative learning as it confirms the effectiveness in cooperative learning in higher education [2]. This is supported by another study, which suggested that the students dropped out the college are mainly for two reasons: failure to establish a social network of friends and classmates, and failure to become academically involve in the class [2]. Many researches on cooperative learning were carried out in US, and the impact of cooperative learning can be classified into four aspects: i) Academic Success, ii) Quality of Relationships, iii) Psychological Adjustment and iv) Positive Attitude towards College Experience.[2]

A formal cooperative learning is a more structured activity, in comparison to the active learning [2]. Five essential elements that must be embedded in a structured cooperative learning are: positive interdependence, face to face promotive interaction, individual accountability, teamwork skills and group processing [2]. These elements shall promote the group to become a high performing cooperative learning group, and effectively learn.

What is the motivation?

We carried out this kind of project to address the program outcomes in chemical engineering program, as well as to fulfil the framework of 21st century education on technology & creativity. We found that based on the index of learning styles survey made in January 2015 and
May 2015, using an instrument developed by Felder and Solomon (1992)
[4], of four batches of chemical engineering students in UTP, majority of
the students are found to be active learners, sequential learners as well
as sensing learners. This suggest that an active learning strategy such as
cooperative learning [1], should be adopted to ensure the students can
sustain their interest in the classroom, via the collaborative and cooperative
nature of classroom activities. The students also generally complained that
they could understand the lecture, but often unable to solve the problems
given to them. Thus, combining this scenario with the old teaching style,
the students can easily get bored with the courses, and practically, not
really learning.

So the students are randomly distributed into a group, which basically they are strangers to each other. This push them to work professionally in the group to achieve a maximum output.

So, what’s new?

Apart from the cooperative learning strategy, the students need to do the following activities as part of their output:

1. Board game
2. Video presentation (preferably animation)
3. Group portfolio (which includes reflection of the projects and the courses they enrolled)
4. Documentation of their projects

There are several rubrics developed to evaluate the students performance. Alhamdulillah, based on the survey made to the students, and their reflection, I can say, I am happy, a job well done by them. I really feel satisfied with their achievement. Alhamdulillah, based on this effort we were awarded silver medal in recent I-PHEX 2015 (just because we’ve not published yet in any journal publication)

To see my students’ masterpieces, kindly please visit any of these websites.

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15
Group 16
Group 17
Group 18
Group 19
Group 20
Group 21


[1] Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2007). Cooperative learning. In Active learning: Models from the analytical sciences, ACS Symposium Series (Vol. 970, pp. 34-53).
[2] Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Pedagogies of engagement: Classroom‐based practices. Journal of engineering education, 94(1), 87-101.
[3] Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Making cooperative learning work.Theory into practice, 38(2), 67-73.
[4] Soloman, B. A., & Felder, R. M. (2005). Index of learning styles questionnaire.NC State University. Available online at: http://www. engr. ncsu. edu/learningstyles/ilsweb. html (last visited on 14.05. 2010).

Further details about what is covered in our course, are shared in this prezi link