The EXTEND – Excellence in Engineering Education through Teacher Training and New Pedagogic Approaches in Russia and Tadjikistan is a new project also focused on competence development, this time aimed at teacher training for active learning. The consortium is led by Polytechnic University of Bucharest (Romania) and includes 12 universities from Romania, Portugal, Latvia, United Kingdom, Russia and Tadjikistan. The project will last for three years, with total funding of around 850 thousand euros.
The priority aim of the EXTEND project is to enhance the quality and the effectiveness of teaching. EXTEND seeks to promote a change in a system of pedagogic training of university teachers in engineering in Russia and Tadjikistan. The consortium universities will achieve this result through modernisation of PhD programmes' curriculum and development of sustainable system of teacher re-training and consultation support by Network of Centres of Excellence in Engineering Education.
"With this project we aim at developing engineering university teachers' competences and train them to make use of active learning and project-based learning methodologies. The UMinho has been strengthening its research in this area by means of recently created internal structures as, for instance, the IDEA-UMinho Centre, a centre for innovation and development of teaching and learning", the researcher refers.
An innovative aspect of EXTEND concerns the definition of required competences of the university teacher of engineering disciplines. Although being widely discussed, there is little research devoted to this theme. "We will seek to create internal structures in Russian and Tajik universities – the so called EXTEND centres, offering training courses, research and consultations in teaching engineering disciplines", Rui Lima mentions.
The research team at the UMinho is coordinated by Rui Lima and includes also Maria Assunção Flores and Diana Mesquita, researchers from the Institute of Education.
"In both consortia [MSIE4.0 e EXTEND], the UMinho is the second partner with more allocated funding. This represents the relevant position we have reached in research for learning methodologies on which these projects are based", the researcher concludes.