Department of Technical Design and Technology
Dr. Lawrence Farrugia
Sat May 16 2020 06:30:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
One of the courses being offered by the DTEE is a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Technical Design and Technology. Throughout this three-year programme, students are provided with a strong theoretical foundation in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) education has received increasing attention over the past years, as it integrates subjects which were previously taught separately while also underlining how these subjects can address challenges in the real world. An important commitment of the Department of Technology and Entrepreneurship Education (DTEE) is the formation of educators in Computing, Technical Design, Technology, Business and Entrepreneurship. The DTEE offers several programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These programmes are intended to provide pupils with the knowledge and practical skills concerning the various aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
One of the courses being offered by the DTEE is a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Technical Design and Technology. Throughout this three-year programme, students are provided with a strong theoretical foundation in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These subjects are integrated throughout numerous design projects were students are required to design and develop a solution to a problem. In addition to the theoretical aspects, students learn how to use of design tools and technologies such as Computer Aided Engineering Design (CAED) software, 3D printing, augmented reality, electronics and programming.
An underpinning philosophy of the undergraduate programme is that the process of ‘designing’ is an iterative learning experience where students can exploit STEM subjects to ideate, explore, create and test solutions to an identified problem. A unique characteristic of the undergraduate programme is that in addition to the theoretical knowledge, students can develop hands-on experience with technologies such as electronics, materials and manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. In this sense, students can design solutions and also develop physical prototypes.
Despite the plethora of definitions, designing refers to a process whereby the designer identifies a problem and develops a solution to address this process. In this sense designing is a transformative process in which a problem is ultimately transformed into a solution. Throughout this process, the designer obtains new knowledge, by gaining a better understanding of the problem itself and the potential solutions that can address the problem is solved. The idea of learning through the process of designing is an important concept which educators are encouraged to introduce in the classroom.
The DTEE is also engaged in research pertaining to design and technology particularly in the realm of education. An ongoing research project being undertaken by Dr. Lawrence Farrugia and Dr. Sarah Pule’ who is the Head of Department has the objective to identify the factors which render design and technology education an enjoyable learning experience for pupils. To this end, a preliminary study was carried out to identify the concerns of pupils as well as factors which influence their attitudes towards the area of Design and Technology. The initial results show that the type and complexity of the technology used in the workshop or laboratory has a profound effect on pupils’ attitude judgments and their likelihood to enjoy their learning experience. In essence, students prefer to interact with technologies which are inherently simple (e.g. lathe, multimeter, pillar drill, etc.) and can provide an immediate visual feedback to the student. The goal of the research will be to develop guidance for the teachers delivering training in Design and Technology.