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ACT! – Active learning for Core Technology education

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)


The main aims for ACT! are to establish a smooth transition from upper secondary school to higher technology education; modernise core courses in foundation subjects (mathematics, physics and computer science) to obtain cross-disciplinary integration; design intelligent tools and methods for digitalisation in core courses, and develop learning environments and forms enhancing student participation. 

Strengths and weaknesses:

ACT! is a well written bid giving evidence of quality of education. The bid takes a rigorous and systematic approach to development, and presents good input factors, including management and personal resources. There is a solid track record of IT education, although more detail addressing the points directly would have been useful.

The track record of educational research and development is impressive, as are the existing links with key stakeholder groups. There is quite a strong focus on student engagement. The undergraduate research program in maths is commendable. Student achievements and the relation to learning outcomes are documented in a good manner, but more specific details on teaching, learning and assessment methods would have been useful. The KTDiM project (‘Quality, accessibility, differentiation is the foundation courses in mathematics’) in particular shows very positive student outcomes.

The rationale for ACT! is well articulated and strong. There is a clear, well-structured plan with a positive level of student participation in development and innovation. The proposal will set up a physical and virtual support centre, which is good – as with similar initiatives of this genre.

Overall, the bid would have favoured from elaborating in more detail on many aspects. For instance, more detail on the innovative nature, i.e. what is the step change from other similar initiatives, of the proposed work should have been presented, including its impact on pedagogical approaches and student learning outcomes. The panel would have liked more detail on institutional development and value for money. The evaluation and dissemination plans appear solid, but are outlined only rather briefly.

Points to consider:

  • How does this centre propose innovation in light of national and international developments?
  • How does the development of tools and resources contribute to overall development of education and student learning?

Grade: 4
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