What has lockdown taught us about teaching engineering?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Emerging Stronger: Lasting Impact from Crisis Innovation was published by the Engineering Professors’ Council in August 2020 and captures our community’s early thoughts, challenges and strategies as we navigated HE during a pandemic. Five months on, we are returning to the conversation. What more have we learned? What best practices are emerging? 

We kick off this work with a webcast on 27 January 2021 including a keynote by Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students, and we invite exemplars of good practice that address Emerging Stronger’s calls to action. A selection of these will be invited for presentation at the event. A larger range of case studies will be included in the next Emerging Stronger publication, and/or published in multimedia formats on the EPC website.

Our calls to action in Emerging Stronger were: 


Have you pivoted to more diversified assessment methods that are better suited to producing work-ready graduates than exams would have? Have you ditched exams for good? What have been the challenges in changing assessment strategy, and how have you tackled these? How are your assessment changes affecting student capabilities? 

Students’ Collaboration Skills

Have you made great in-roads into supporting team dynamics in an online context? Have you cracked the thorny question of balancing synchronous, asynchronous, and informal ways of supporting students’ collaboration? Which phases of collaboration have improved online, and which have been particularly challenging? 

Practical Work

Have you evaluated alternative learning activities that have replaced traditional practical work? What have you learned? Which learning outcomes have been easier to substitute? Which have remained challenging? 


Have you developed imaginative ways of supporting student employability during the pandemic? Perhaps you’ve leveraging virtual locations, enriched assessment, helped students map their skills, built stronger relationships with support services. How have you innovated to support employability, and how have these innovations been received by students/employers? 

Student Partnerships

Have you involved students in designing how you’ll be teaching during – or after – the pandemic? What mechanisms have you used, and what benefits have you seen? 

To these, we add a sixth theme:

Student Experience

What has the pandemic allowed us learn about student experience that we can build on when we return to face-to-face teaching? 

We welcome reflections and contributions from engineering students – please use the form link or feel free to contact us direct if you’d like to discuss possible involvement. 

To share your own practice/propose a case study, please complete this form. To speak at the event, submit by 20th January. For the publication, please submit any time before 31st March 2021. 

Beverley Gibbs (NMITE) & Gary Wood (University of Sheffield)

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