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Strategic ALignment of Electrical and Information Engineering in European Higher Education Institutions

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Workpackage Descriptions

In the SALEIE Project we defined 7 workpackages as they relate to Electrical and Information Engineering in Higher Education acrosss Europe, Management, Quality, Technical Challenges, Widening Participation and Student Support, Policy, Dissemination and Exploitation.

1. Management

This workpackage addresses the general management of the overall project and will provide administrative, financial, and operational guidelines for the management, project risks, communication and coordination of activities to ensure the coherent and smooth operation of the project.
A key task will be to define the key indicators for a successful project monitoring and impact assessment, in cooperation with WP2.

  1. WP1 activities will be undertaken by a managing team, composed of the coordinator (leader of WP1) and the leaders of WP 2 to 6 (WP7 being lead by the lead partner). The managing team will:
    Establish workpackage teams and monitor the engagement of project partners

    • Establish a communication system between project partners

    • Establish a project quality monitoring system, risk register and appropriate internal and external quality assessors

    • Coordinate the detailed definition of workpackage activities and outcomes as the project evolves

    • Monitor project activities, their objectives and activities and manage the overall project plan

    • Coordinate the establishment of a project website and maintain its content for project partners and external viewing

    • Collating administrative, financial and activity data for reporting purposes

    • Monitor and supervise the coherence of the project at the WP and sub-Wp levels in collaboration with the Quality Workpackage leader.

  2. The managing team will monitor of the work, in coordination with the evaluation and quality WP, at partner, sub-WP and WP levels with respect to the key objectives to be achieved (Activity Document). This monitoring will serve as a key report on the project activities, and the nature and importance of each partner’s involvement. This Activity Document will also be used to identify both “over-activity” and “under-activity” of partners, and allow the managing team to take appropriate early action in respect of under-performing partners.

  3. The managing team, and in particular the project coordinator, will organize the project’s meetings schedule, and be involved in the practical organisation, with the partner institution that will host the meeting, of every meeting.

  4. The Coordinator will be responsible for the administrative and financial management of the project, manage the generation and presentation of reports for the Executive Agency and ensure efficient communication with the project officers at the Executive agency. The coordinator will disseminate information received from the executive agency to the project partners.

2. Quality

The quality of work undertaken in this project is a high priority for the project team and attention will be given to it from the outset. The quality WP leader will work with the project leader to oversee and manage all aspects of quality. Overall quality management will be achieved through a quality assurance system, quality control checks and a general policy of continuous quality improvement. The final element of this workpackage is project evaluation.

1) A quality assurance system will be established at the outset of the project that defines methods of working, formats for outputs, a document version control system and a between and within workpackage communication and coordination system.

2) The quality control activity will monitor and assess the coordination and coherence of the work at WP and sub-WP levels, according to the work plan set by the managing team. It will devise appropriate key quality indicators for each activity and gather and report evidence for each. The quality control activity will have specific responsibility for:

    • All partners understanding the overall project goal at partner, task and project level and their part in the achievement of this goal.

    • The coordination and communications within the project and between partners and the overall quality of project leadership

    • The contribution of partners to workpackages

    • The quality of achievement against objectives at the WP and sub-WP levels

    • The response of the EAEEIE to outputs and their commitment to the maintenance of outputs beyond the life of the project

    • The quality and contribution of partners to project meetings

3) Continuous quality improvement:
A policy of continuous quality improvement will be established to build on WP and sub-WP successes and learn from any mistakes that occur.

The quality workpackage leader will produce mid-term and final reports for incorporation into the overall project reports.

Evaluation
The evaluation part of the workpackage will assess the results obtained in all workpackages using internal and external quality evaluation bodies.
Internally, evaluation will be through the following mechanisms:

  • By user-groups at the task level. Internal quality auditors will assess the achievement and compliance of the workpackage outcomes as compared to the targets defined for that workpackage. The results will be collated and reported by the leader of the quality workpackage.

  • By an external review team (selected from a European association, respected European Institution or other Thematic Network), knowledgeable in the work of the project.

The external quality review will be a subcontracted activity and will be made at the project and at each workpackage levels. The external quality review team will evaluate and comment on the project results, the quality with respect to the stated objectives, and on the potential impact of the results.

3. Technical Challenges

The objective of this work package is to enhance the competitiveness of EIE education within Europe, especially in relation to modern global technical challenges. The outcomes will provide European HEI's with model curricula optimised to the technical needs of the challenges whilst retaining the valued characteristics of Education within European Institutions.

Building on our understanding of EIE programmes across Europe gained though the Surveyor and ELLEIEC monographs and the Tuning survey, this work package will look at the needs of Electrical and Information Engineering graduates in the key Global Challenges of Green Energy, the Environment and Sustainability, Communications and IT, Health (eg. medical application of knowledge of information engineering), and Modern Manufacturing Systems (including Robotics). Prior studies have developed our understanding of the need and importance of generic competences, including entrepreneurial skills, the importance of designing learning as a socialisation process, and the use of project orientated learning methods where learning is based on a concrete problem that target groups know from everyday life. This work package will explore these issues in relation to conventional students and those with special needs.

The methodology to be used will start with a review of past monographs and a survey to identify existing programmes orientated to the key global challenges. The survey and follow-up more detailed discussions with the programme providers will form the basis of example curricula with module content, learning outcomes, level of achievement and assessment methods. The module specification will include the scope and depth of generic competence development. Partners willing to pilot these trial modules will be identified and supported through their first delivery and outcome assessment and documentation of their experience.

Activity in this work package will include:

  • A survey of existing programmes in the key challenge subjects including content details

  • The design and specification of example curricula in the key challenge subjects including learning outcomes and module content.

  • The design of modules appropriate to the key challenge areas and the assessment of them through pilot delivery to learners in partner institutions

  • A review of existing and designed modules for the integration of generic, transferable competences appropriate to employment in businesses focussed in key challenge areas.

  • The creation of a web-based centre for excellence for the development of key challenges curricula in EIE across Europe. This resource will be accessible and add value to programme designers, teaching staff, academic administrators and learners.

All the outcomes will be made public through publication on the project website.

4. Widening Participation and Student Support

This work package will explore approaches to widening participation in EIE programmes across Europe. It will consider the specific needs of learners with disabilities pertinent to education in EIE. Consideration will be given to conventional Higher Education learners, those studying part-time, distance learners, International students, lifelong learners, students with disabilities and those who traditionally do not see conventional higher education as their route to personal development. Each of these types of learner have different support needs especially in relation to developing competence in laboratory skills and generic, transferable competences (such as group working, presentation skills, creativity, etc.). The work package will explore the implications on the education system of students with disabilities (reference of best practice across Europe in supporting students with such issues, eg: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Mental Health, Autism, Aspergers, etc.).

Activity in this work package will include:

  • A survey of the project partners of the scale of diversity of widening participation practices across Europe.

  • A collation of examples of best practice in supporting these specific needs.

  • The design and development of best practice support models for different types of specific needs.

  • A collation of examples of best practice in marketing programmes to students with specific needs.

  • A review of how HEI's industrial partners view support to learners

  • The translation of these templates and examples of best practice into a range of European languages.

  • The design of a web-based centre for excellence for the support of learning in EIE across Europe.

Programmes and modules already aligned to the key global technical challenges (see Wp4) will be carefully reviewed to ensure that appropriate learner support systems can be put into place in these future critical technical areas.

The methodology will be to start with an audit of current practices through a set of appropriately targeted questionnaires. The project partners will be used as the route to obtaining responses to these surveys from within their own institutions and their networks. The objective will be to achieve as broad a coverage of stakeholder responses as can be achieved. The results of the surveys will be collated and analysed into one or more reports. These reports will be published on the project website.

The results of the surveys will inform: the design of new models for support systems for students; the design of programme marketing materials to maximise attractiveness of EIE programmes to all potential students; the perceptions of ERASMUS exchange institutions and Industry on student support systems; and the identification of examples of best practice in support systems. Visits of partners to institutions with identified best practices will raise the visibility of these systems and enable best practice to be spread across the project network.

5. Policy

Findings in previous EAEEIE Thematic Network projects undertaken by networks have identified differences in Quality Assurance procedures and administrative practices across Europe and that establishing new and making changes to existing programmes in European HEIs are governed to varying degrees at the National, Regional and Institutional level. Given this variation and that work packages 3 and 4 are focussed on change within Higher Education to meet future challenges, a review of the needs and impact of administrative policy as it impacts the design, development, delivery, assessment and review of academic programmes is included.
The objective of this work package is to bring together policy administrators from institutions across Europe to review current practices and to identify examples of best practice; to build a common understanding of governance and policy implications on the strategic changes associated with the project; and create a centre for excellence in the policy area.
The methodology will be to commence with an audit of current practices. The project partners will be used as the route to obtaining responses to these surveys from within their own institutions and their networks. The objective will be to achieve as broad a coverage of European higher education institutional responses as can be achieved. The results of the surveys will be collated and analysed. The analysis report will be published on the project website.

The survey will address the following questions, as a minimum:

  • What autonomy do academic staff have in proposing new modules and programmes;

  • Who, if not academic staff, are monitoring programme and module needs to respond to the changing industrial environment;

  • What policies and practices are in place in respect of assessment of learning outcomes;

  • How closely aligned are assessments and module and programme learning outcomes and how are these monitored;

  • How policy takes account of the needs of Professional Engineering bodies;

  • Differences in policies and practices with respect to non-conventional learners;

  • The existence and content of equal opportunities and widening participation policies and practices;

  • How are the needs of learners with specific needs communicated within the institution and to whom;

  • What policies are in place to ensure learners with specific needs are supported?

  • How are ERASMUS and Industrial partner institutions supplied with information about modules and programmes;

Activities in this work package will include:

  • A survey of administrative practices across Europe in respect of the design, development, delivery, assessment and review of academic programmes

  • Work package meetings in partner institutions

  • The identification of examples of best practice

The design of a policy in EIE resource website as part of the project site.

6. Dissemination

Internal dissemination (between project partners) is through:

  • Project partner meetings

  • Visits to partner institutions identified as examples of best practice

  • Using the network partner

An annual meeting is planned where all project partners meet to share work package outcomes and share experiences. The meetings will be adjoined to a European educational conference to maximise the overall benefit gained from attendance.
As part of WP3 and 5 institutions with excellent policies, procedures and practices in widening participation, student support or programme governance will be identified. Visits will be arranged to these institutions so that experts in the field from other partner institutions can visit, learn and understand and discuss the application of the practices to their host institution. This sharing will raise the quality across the partner institutions.
Partners will know others in the project network. Having others in similar fields, not in direct competition for students or incomes, to discuss problems and ideas will be of invaluable benefit.
External dissemination is through:

  • Project website

  • Learned publications

  • Final report to HEIs across Europe

  • Partners

A project website will be created containing, publically visible, all results and outcomes as they emerge and as an on going resource after the project ends. The website will be referenced from the EAEEIE’s site. Contact will also be made with other relevant EU projects with a view to mutual referencing.
A special session devoted to the activities of the project will be arranged in the annual conference of the EAEEIE in each of the project’s duration. Discussions on the inclusion of special sessions in other relevant conferences including ITHET will also be held with the conference organisers. Conference and journal publications on outcomes will also be produced to broaden the awareness of the project and to disseminate its outcomes.

The final report and an executive summary will be sent to the head of department of all known EIE departments across Europe as identified in the THEIERE and EIE-Surveyor project monographs [1,2]. Each head of department will be asked to forward the communication to their industrial partners, academic policy makers, student support administrators and teaching staff. By using this resource, the majority of current providers of EIE programmes will be reached and through them relevant administrators and industrial partners.

7. Exploitation

The activities being undertaken in this project are extremely important to the future of EIE education across Europe and should have a significant impact on the administration, design, development, delivery, assessment, and support activities for current and new programmes. Dissemination of the outcomes of the project is a very important activity and is one that the project and EAEEIE are fully committed to for the duration of the project and beyond. The project leader and work package leaders will jointly develop an exploitation strategy for the project based on the following.

It is expected that, by virtue of the attendance of partners at meetings in other institutions, benefit will be gained that will be able to be used within partner institutions. Being able to explore how other institutions address the widening participation and student support issues, the policies and practices of programme and module administration and student mobility and work experience, all key components of the overall learner development process, will raise the general level of performance in these areas across Europe. An immediate benefit will, therefore be available for partner institutions and through their networks institutions in general.

Newsletters and a final letter containing the project outcomes will be sent to every head of an EIE department or faculty across Europe (using the EIE-Surveyor survey database) with a summary showing how the findings can be exploited.

In respect of EIE responding to the global technical challenges, this project will produce a survey of programmes and modules aligned to the challenges, examples of best practice and model curricula for institutions to use and adapt to their specific local needs. Institutions who are seeking to create new programmes or modules will have carefully designed models that will give them the combined benefit of all the project partners, all experts in the EIE field, as a starting point, with links they can follow to partner experts for further clarification if needed.

Overall the benefit to Europe from this project should be in both the breadth of personal development (through widening participation, and enhancing student support) and depth of development through a better understanding of how Europe can respond to the current global technical challenges it faces. The EAEEIE, through its members and activities, will spearhead the exploitation of the project findings and sustain their presence in the minds of EIE educators beyond the life of the project.