Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an urgent need to move to online teaching and develop innovative teaching techniques to ensure that student learning outcomes (SOs) were fulfilled. This paper tries to answer the important question of whether an established teaching strategy through a multi-course project-based learning (MPL) approach, along with online assessment techniques, helps in the effective achievement of SOs in a senior-level electrical engineering (EE) course. The authors have developed a course project for attaining the objectives of a senior and a capstone course, where students are registered at the same time. In addition, the course conducts assessments online. The paper reports the effect of the two approaches on the attainment of the SOs of the two courses, along with testing the programming and problem-solving abilities of the students. It is known that the MPL approach enhances the critical thinking capacity of students, which is also a major outcome of Sustainable Development Education (ESD). It was ensured that the project that was used to test the fulfillment of a series of SOs were concentrated on soft engineering and project management skills. The difficulty of adopting the MPL method for the senior-level courses is in the scheduling of the course materials to help the student advance to the final project while also aligning the project towards fulfilling the learning outcomes of the individual course. The study also provides the students with feedback on online assessment techniques incorporated within the MPL. Besides this, the effect of the innovative teaching approaches was compared with the same senior course taught using conventional methods in an earlier semester. Based on the feedback from teachers and students from a previously conducted case study, it was concluded that the MPL approach had supported the student learning. The results of the statistical analysis (Chi-square, two-tailed T statistics and hypothesis testing using a z-test) show that an MPL approach and online assessment improved the attainment of the SOs despite the constraints posed by the pandemic.
- Engineering education
- Online assessments
- Multi-course project-based learning (MPL)
- Sustainable Development Education (ESD)