Reflections on Teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses at the Bachelor Level

Ottar L. Osen, Robin T. Bye


This paper reflects on a number of observations the authors have made over many years of teaching courses in electrical and computer engineering bachelor programmes. We suggest various methods and tips for improving lectures, attendance, group work, and compulsory coursework, and discuss aspects of facilitating active learning, focussing on simple in-classroom activities and larger problem-based activities such as assignments, projects, and laboratory work. Moreover, we identify solving real-world problems by means of practical application of relevant theory as key to achieving intended learning outcomes. Our observations and reflections are then put into a theoretical context, including students’ approaches of learning, constructive alignment, active learning, and problem-based versus problem-solving learning. Finally, we present and discuss some recent results from a student evaluation survey and draw some conclusions.


  1. Andersen, H. L. (2010). “Constructive alignment” og risikoen for en forsimplende universitetspaedagogik. Dansk Universitetspaedagogisk Tidsskrift , 5(9).
  2. Baeten, M., Kyndt, E., Struyven, K., and Dochy, F. (2010). Using student-centred learning environments to stimulate deep approaches to learning: Factors encouraging or discouraging their effectiveness. Educational Research Review, 5(3):243-260.
  3. Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. McGraw Hill/Open University Press, 4th edition.
  4. Borkowski, J. and Thorpe, P. (1994). Self-regulation and motivation: A life-span perspective on under- achievement. In Schunk, D. and Zimmermann, B., editors, Self-regulation of learning and performance: Issues of educational applications, pages 44-73. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  5. Bowen, C. W. (2000). A quantitative literature review of cooperative learning effects on high school and college chemistry achievement. Journal of Chemical Education, 77(1):116.
  6. Bye, R. T. (2017). The Teacher as a Facilitator for Learning: Flipped Classroom in a Master's Course on Artificial Intelligence. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 7817). INSTICC, SCITEPRESS. Paper accepted for publication.
  7. Case, J. and Marshall, D. (2004). Between deep and surface: procedural approaches to learning in engineering education contexts. Studies in Higher Education, 29(5):605-615.
  8. Entwistle, N. and Ramsden, P. (1983). Understanding student learning. Beckenham: Croom Helm.
  9. Entwistle, N. and Ramsden, P. (2015). Understanding Student Learning (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.
  10. Felder, R. M. and Brent, R. (2005). Understanding student differences. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1):57-72.
  11. Foldnes, N. (2016). The flipped classroom and cooperative learning: Evidence from a randomised experiment. Active Learning in Higher Education, 17(1):39-49.
  12. Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., and Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23):8410- 8415.
  13. Gynnild, V. (2001). Laeringsorientert eller eksamensfokusert? Naerstudier av pedagogisk utviklingsarbeid i sivilingeniørstudiet . PhD thesis, NTNU.
  14. Gynnild, V., Holstad, A., and Myrhaug, D. (2007). Teaching as coaching: A case study of awareness and learning in engineering education. International Journal of Science Education, 29(1):1-17.
  15. Gynnild, V., Holstad, A., and Myrhaug, D. (2008). Identifying and promoting self-regulated learning in higher education: roles and responsibilities of student tutors. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 16(2):147-161.
  16. Hattie, J. and Goveia, I. C. (2013). Synlig laering: et sammendrag av mer enn 800 metaanalyser av skoleprestasjoner. Cappelen Damm akademisk.
  17. Johnson, D., R., J., and Smith, K. (1998). Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom. Interaction Book Co., Edina, MN, 2nd ed. edition.
  18. Lan, W. (1996). The effects of self-monitoring on students' course performance, use of learning strategies, attitude, self-judgment ability, and knowledge representation. Journal of Experimental Education, 64(2):101-116.
  19. Marshall, D., Summers, M., and Woolnough, B. (1999). Students' conceptions of learning in an engineering context. Higher Education, 38(3):291-309.
  20. Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography - Describing conceptions of the world around us. Instructional Science, 10:177-200.
  21. Marton, F. and Booth, S. (1997). Learning and Awareness. Mahwaw, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  22. Marton, F., Dall'Alba, G., and Beaty, E. (1993). Conceptions of learning. International Journal of Science Education, 16(4):457-474.
  23. Nicol, D. J. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in higher education, 31(2):199-218.
  24. Prince, M. J. (2004). Does active learning work? a review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3):223-231.
  25. Prosser, M. and Trigwell, K. (1999). Understanding learning and teaching: The experience in higher education. Buckingham: Society for Research in Higher Education and/Open University Press.
  26. Saeljo, R. (1979). Learning in the Learner's Perspective 1. Some Commonsense Conceptions. Report no 76, Institute of Education, University of Gothenburg.
  27. Schaathun, W. A., Schaathun, H. G., and Bye, R. T. (2015). Aktiv laering i mikrokontrollarar. Uniped, 38(4):381- 389. Special issue following MNT-konferansen, Bergen, Norway 18-19 March 2015.
  28. Schroeder, C., Scott, T. P., Tolson, H., Huang, T.-Y., and Lee, Y.-H. (2007). A meta-analysis of national research: Effects of teaching strategies on student achievement in science in the united states. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(10):1436-1460.
  29. Sotto, E. (2007). When teaching becomes learning: A theory and practice of teaching. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  30. Springer, L., Stanne, M., and Donovan, S. (1999). Effects of small- group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineer- ing and technology: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(1):21-52.

Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Osen O. and Bye R. (2017). Reflections on Teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses at the Bachelor Level . In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU, ISBN 978-989-758-240-0, pages 57-68. DOI: 10.5220/0006359000570068

in Bibtex Style

author={Ottar L. Osen and Robin T. Bye},
title={Reflections on Teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses at the Bachelor Level},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,
TI - Reflections on Teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses at the Bachelor Level
SN - 978-989-758-240-0
AU - Osen O.
AU - Bye R.
PY - 2017
SP - 57
EP - 68
DO - 10.5220/0006359000570068