Towards flexible delivery in engineering education: students’ perception on block teaching delivery
The number of students entering higher education has been steadily increasing in the last decades globally. Such trend poses challenges to Higher Education Institutions to widen their offers and sustain participation in academia. Higher Education Institutions are therefore faced with the prospect of offering study programmes to a varied blend of learners from different social backgrounds, presenting specific needs and challenges. This trend is expected to become even more pronounced due to globalisation and technological improvements, thus enabling an unprecedented number of applicants to potentially enter higher education. It is therefore essential for Higher Education Institutions to create forms of flexible learning that can support students throughout their studies. This paper explores the idea of block teaching in the context of engineering education to enhance flexibility, inclusivity, and enjoyment of the engineering discipline. The authors devised a survey aimed at obtaining a deeper understanding of the suitability of block teaching as a valid tool to support learning and enable a flexible delivery mode. The students’ response to the questionnaire demonstrated that block teaching brought advantages in all the three areas of investigation. The authors therefore propose that block teaching can represent a useful tool to ensure higher education programmes can be comfortably adapted to answer the needs of students from different backgrounds and social circumstances, avoiding the “Matthew Effect” to potentially favour only a part of perspective students.