PRIMECH stands for PRogramme of Innovation in MECHanics education. This interfaculty project aims at innovating the way TU Delft provides Mechanics education at Bachelor-level. From our exploratory analysis with teachers and students of TU Delft, we found that there is a need for students to develop a deeper understanding of Mechanics and for better alignment between the Mechanics courses in each programme. This is a difficult challenge to face alone as a teacher.
We intend to intervene on the problem with two different initiatives. First, we facilitate the Mechanics Teachers Social Club, a community of practice. The goal of the cub is for Mechanics teachers to meet, share teaching experiences and collaborate on exciting new education projects. Get a taste of the atmosphere at our community from the video below:
Second, we recently launched PRIMECH Accelerate. Our goal with this 1-on-1 initiative is to provide teachers with tailored educational support to develop innovative teaching materials and activities, empowering them to innovate their mechanics courses.
Our objective is to innovate the way TU Delft provides Mechanics education at Bachelor-level.
- Helping more students adopt a deep approach to learning.
a. To better understand and acquire the Mechanics concepts.
b. To help the development of an effective studying mentality.
- Provide (domain-specific) support for the teachers:
a. To facilitate the alignment between Mechanics courses within each Bachelor program.
b. To promote the interfaculty collaboration and exchange of material, good practices and peer-to-peer support.
We therefore recognize two levels of intervention:
- Students' level: Support to the teachers in the development of materials, activities and tools; aiming at improving students learning and courses alignment. We do this with PRIMECH Accelerate.
- Teachers' level: Promotion of a community, where teachers of different faculties can meet, exchange ideas and work together. We do this with the Mechanics Teachers Social Club.
- Helping more students adopt a deep approach to learning.
“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” - Wenger-Trayner (2015).
The community can be described as a group of people who:
Domain Share an area of interest & key issues (i.e. teaching Mechanics) Community Build a relationship through regular meetings, discussions, activites & learning Practice Share, develop and maintain knowledge & tools to improve their
We want to create our community of practice, also known as the Mechanics Teachers Social Club, based on:
- Autonomy & Agency: teachers are encouraged and supported in their initiatives.
- Relatedness: teachers have shared values, views, goals, interests, experiences and problems.
- Competence: teachers are welcome to share their knowledge and best/innovative practices and learn from each other. The PRIMECH team supports this through organizing workshops and other events, bringing outside expert knowledge when necessary/requested.
These key points are based on the principles Self Determination Theory (Niemiec, C.P. and Ryan, R.M.,2009. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom: Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and research in Education, 7(2), pp.133-144).
Right now, there are more than 70 talented Mechanics teachers scattered around the many TU Delft faculties. We believe that teachers have an essential role in improving students' learning, being the ones not only teaching the subject content, but also structuring the course they deliver, deciding the learning objectives and choosing the learning activities.
For this reason, we think it is indispensable to co-develop educational innovation with teachers and by bringing these teachers together, we can unlock a tremendous potential to tackle the educational challenges we are facing. Have a look at the interactive graph of the courses taught by the teachers in PRIMECH.
PRIMECH Accelerate is for teachers who aspire to innovate their teaching practice and improve students’ learning outcomes, but lack the time, the resources, the know-how, ... to do so. PRIMECH can provide them with the necessary knowledge, support, network and resources to develop innovative and effective teaching materials and activities.
For example, this can involve restructuring course content, creating visualizations, videos, (digital) tools, teaching modules, formative assessments, demonstrations, lab activities, and other such elements that innovates the teaching of mechanics subjects.
By Mechanics we refer to the disciplines that study the effects of loadings on physical bodies and structures. Mechanics subjects such as Statics, Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials are present in almost all bachelor curricula at TU Delft.
At the moment we are focusing on Solid Mechanics, but in the future we are planning to extend the community to Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics teachers. Have a look at the interactive graph of the courses taught by the teachers in PRIMECH.
The project has been initiated by the Central Student Council (lead by member Marijn Roelvink, mainly inspired by PRIME) and supported by the Pro Vice Rector Joint Education (Hans Hellendoorn). After receiving funding from the Student Councils' investment fund and NPO funds, it officially started on 1st October 2021.
The first step we took has been an explorative analyses,in order to get a good understanding of the context and align with the stakeholders’ expectations. In this phase, interviews with more than 30 stakeholders were conducted and an analysis of the TUD structure, educational vision, policies and other educational projects was performed. Find out more about PRIMECH first steps in the paper we presented at the 19th International CDIO Conference in 2023 at NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.
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