Interactive Notebook-Based Learning for CE Bachelors

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The "Digital Engineering" course at DBauG represents a groundbreaking approach in engineering education, effectively blending programming skills with civil engineering concepts. This unique course, a part of the Bachelor's basis-year curriculum, leverages the power of Jupyter Python notebooks in a web-based learning environment. By integrating lecture, exercise, and assignment notebooks that build sequentially, the course offers a cohesive, interactive, and autodidactic learning experience. The core curriculum interweaves programming concepts with real-life civil engineering problems, supported by hands-on activities and in-class supervision. This method not only fosters individual achievement but also enhances group progress.

A key feature of this course is its commitment to open-source tools and a web-based Jupyter-Hub instance, which ensures accessibility and engagement. The content is rich with embedded student activities, multimedia resources, and various assessment tools. The course promotes digital competency in Python programming, specifically tailored to explore diverse aspects of civil engineering. Lectures are interactive, complemented by activity blocks where students apply concepts in real-time. The course design includes continuous support from teaching assistants, moodle quizzes for self-assessment, and an innovative auto-grading system for assignments.

This nomination highlights the course’s innovative use of Jupyter notebooks as the central teaching tool, eliminating the need for traditional lecture slides or scripts. The course’s effectiveness is evident in student engagement, high assignment completion rates, and positive feedback from students and faculty. This pioneering approach not only enhances students› digital competencies but also paves the way for integrating similar methods in other courses, signaling a significant shift towards a more interactive and digitalized engineering education.

How do you engage students in learning success in your digital education project for Civil Engineering Bachelors?

Answer: Our approach hinges on the interactive use of Jupyter notebooks, offering a playful and hands-on learning experience. Students delve into engineering concepts through diverse activities, from exploring system behaviors interactively to enhancing Python code. Each topic is rooted in practical problems, showcasing civil engineering’s diversity. To boost engagement, we offer bonuses on final grades for active assignment participation. This interactive, problem-based learning environment significantly enhances student engagement and success.

What innovative features does your course offer?

Answer: Our course uniquely centers around Jupyter notebooks, without traditional lecture slides or scripts. Everything stems from a comprehensive collection of lecture and exercise notebooks. We offer cheat sheets for Python functions, but the core learning happens through notebooks, used in lectures, exercises, and even exams. Innovations include interactive coding tasks, embedded videos, and the SpeakUp tool for sharing insights. Students can create personalized scripts from these notebooks, and we utilize Jupyter RISE for interactive lectures. Auto grading of assignments through Moodle, with personalized feedback, further enhances the learning experience.

What impact have these innovations had on student learning?

Answer: We’ve seen high student involvement and engagement, evident in active participation and thorough completion of assignments. The lively discussions and interactions during lectures and exercises indicate a deepened understanding and interest in the subject matter. Though lacking a control group, the positive response and high completion rates suggest a significant impact on learning.

How do you track and feedback on student progress?

Answer: Continuous feedback is gathered through Moodle quizzes, SpeakUp, and task-based assignment evaluations. We also consider discussions in small group forums. Midterm evaluations by student representatives and official course evaluations at semester’s end provide additional insights, guiding future course improvements.

What elements of your project would you recommend to others?

Answer: We recommend the use of Jupyter Notebooks for any computationally oriented course. The notebook-based script generation fosters cohesion and continuity. For larger classes, auto-grading and Moodle integration are highly beneficial, streamlining the assessment process and enhancing learning outcomes.

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