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May 25, 2017

Professional practice and industrial problem based innovative learning and teaching methods for chemical engineering courses



Lixin Cheng, Bipro Dubey and Mark Thompson
Sheffield Hallam University, ACES

Presented their poster to the delegates of the LTA Conference, Thursday 29th June 2017










Original abstract

The development of new Chemical Engineering Programme (BEng/MEng) at SHU is very promising and exciting. However, as a new programme, there are many challenges in developing innovative teaching methods, academic learning skills and industrial practice opportunities for our students. Due to the nature of chemical engineering, it is essential to collaborate with chemical industry, IChemE, and our peers in chemical engineering and to further develop our unique innovative methods focusing excellent student learning experience through professional practice and industrial problem solving. Therefore, we organized a one day workshop on innovative methodology, excellent industrial practice and student learning experience in chemical engineering at SHU by inviting engineers in chemical industry, IChemE staff and our chemical engineering students. The problem based learning method can achieve students’ (a) ability to learn independently (b) critical thinking and problem solving (C) ability to learn collaboratively in a team and with others in the class [Harun et al. 2012]. We link the problem based learning to the real cases in chemical industry in our innovative method.

The objectives are to address the critical issues of the industrial practice and needs in chemical engineering and apply the innovative learning methods and industrial practice in chemical engineering. In particular, our chemical engineering students participated in this workshop to acquire industrial experience and problems through brainstorm. Students were grouped to through groups to work on three different industrial problems such as automation, bio chemical engineering and chemical engineering safety issues and interacting with an industrial engineer allocated to each group for one and a half hours. In the end each group presented to their problems/solutions to all attendances and feedback was given by the industrial engineers and academics.

Through the industrial problem-solving (real industrial cases) methods which we have developed for chemical engineering courses, three key outcomes have been achieved (i) to collaborate with IChemE for development and improvement of our chemical engineering programme; (ii) to enhance students’ learning experience through professional practice and industrial problem based innovative methods. Importantly, the innovative methods will be applied in our future teaching to achieve excellent student experience in chemical engineering courses. The interaction between the students and the invited engineers provided an excellent opportunity for learning from the real industrial problems and safety issues with deep thinking and exchanging the ideas through final presentations by each group [Pappas, 2014].

This is very successful workshop stimulating students’ interest in our new courses. We may adopt the innovation methods to all students in future. Furthermore, although this is our first time to explore an innovative approach to enhancing students’ learning skills and interests for our chemical engineering courses, the innovative approach and ideas may be applied to all other engineering courses and further to any other courses at the university [Allison and Pan, 2011] through adopting the general ideas proposed in our practice. Therefore, this may be of interest to anyone in any disciplines.


Christopher Pappas, Instructional Design Models and Theories: Problem-Based Learning, (2014.)

Joseph Allison, Wei Pan, Implementing and Evaluating the Integration of Critical Thinking into Problem Based Learning in Environmental Building, Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 6 (2) (2011) 93-115.

Nor Farida Harun, Khairiyah Mohd Yusof, Mohammad Zamry Jamaludin, Syed Ahmad Helmi Sye Hassand, Motivation in Problem-based Learning Implementation, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 56 ( 2012 ) 233 – 242