|M.Sc Student||Israeli Shai|
|Subject||Integrating Learning Skills' Courses in Engineering College|
- Characteristics and Students' Perceptions
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisors||Dr. Orit Herscovitz|
|Professor Michael Moore|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Many colleges in Israel face a wide gap between the novice students' academic abilities and the demands that arise from the various courses. Some students manage to meet the academic demands, using learning and thinking skills, but some don't. Because of this reason, and in order to raise student retention during the first year, it was decided in a college in northern Israel to integrate into their curriculum general courses that emphasize learning skills. Three such courses were introduced as mandatory requirements of the freshmen year curriculum. All three courses consist of 28 hours and merit one academic credit.
The research goal was to study the integration of the Learning Skills Enhancement Courses (LSECs) from two perspectives: one is of the management's point of view and the second is of the students attending the courses.
The research tools included: pre-post open perceptions questionnaires towards the LSECs and the manner students implemented the knowledge acquired there; a closed perceptions questionnaire for testing students' usage of learning skills in "Real Time" (during a test); and interviews with students, and college staff.
Research findings show a favorable attitude towards the LSECs. From the management's perspective, the satisfaction that arises from the program is attributed both to the successful integration process and the favorable response from the students to the LSECs.
Students' perceptions regarding the implementation of the knowledge acquired in the LSECs were mostly favorable. The potential to implement the knowledge and skills learnt was very high - over 70% of the students on average noted they are currently implementing or will implement the knowledge and skills learnt in the future.
Without a doubt, the introduction of the LSECs as an integral part of the engineering curriculum constitutes a dramatic change in the perceived role of the college as an institution that trains engineers, using a variety of tools, for a world that operates at a fast changing pace.
Although it is difficult to empirically indicate change in the students' achievements in the short time since the beginning of the integrations of the LSECs in the college, the applicative importance of this research manifests itself in the characterization of the students' perceptions towards and LSECs and the documentation of the integration process in the college - thus enabling other academic institutions to learn from this college's successful experience.