Promoting constructive aligment in engineering education at Chalmers
Book chapter, 2006
The project that this paper refers to focused on an engineering education degree offered by the Chalmers University of Technology, situated in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Chalmers has the reputation of being one of Scandinavia’s best technical univer-sities and is particularly strong in the research area. However, in recent years it has come under fire for perceived shortcomings in the area of pedagogy (Medun, 2000) and gender awareness (Göteborg Posten, 2001). In response to this criticism, Chalmers embarked on an ambitious educational reform program: the Chalmers Strategic Effort on Learning and Teaching, or the C-SELT project (Olsson et al., 2001).
Chalmers set aside SEK 50 million over five years for pedagogical projects. A consulta-tion process using external experts such as John Bowden, co-author of The University of Learning, identified several areas that stakeholders at Chalmers believed were a priority. Assessment of learning was one of them. Gender equity was another. In the first round of C-SELT, 22 projects were funded (for an overview of aims and results, see Adawi, 2003). The second author of this paper led a project called “Appropriate ways of assessing student learning”. It was a project that involved teachers and students from every section in Chalmers. A series of case studies provided examples of best practice in assessment and argued for more continuous and more varied forms of assessment at Chalmers (Christie and Nordlund, 2001). The final report of this project made a number of recommendations for future action. One of them was that in the second phase of C-SELT a special project should look at the extent to which the curriculum at Chalmers was constructively aligned. That recommendation was acted upon. This paper details some of the results of a project that is led by the first author of this paper, and called “The constructive alignment of teaching and learning at Chalmers”.