Teaching, learning and assessment
A number of teaching and assessment methods are used during the course.
A lecture at Durham is fifty minutes long and typically you will attend about six lectures per week (with many more during the fundamentals course) in addition to your design and project work. The style of lecturing varies, depending on the member of staff and the material to be covered. Some lectures include lots of group participation and others take a more traditional style, giving a coherent and lucid explanation of a complex theory - which can be equally stimulating!
Problem sheets and office hours
For the taught courses lecturers will produce engineering problems for you to solve. Each member of lecturing staff is available for two hours a week for one to one discussions with students. These sessions are ideal opportunities for you to ask the questions will help you in your studies and ask questions about the problem sheets if you find them challenging.
Design is an integrating feature of the course and you undertake a major design project in the first term. As in any real world situation design work in conducted in teams and part of the learning experience is how you work with other members of the group. Design work is often conducted with Industrial tutors who have real, current design experience from industry.
Computer based classes
Engineers use computers more often than they use pens. There are some formal computer based classes during the year, but some skills like using 3D CAD packages are often based upon self-teaching materials. The computer lab is available for you to use Engineering software but we recommend that students purchase their own laptop.
A variety of assessment methods are used including not only formal, timed written examinations but also marked presentations, laboratory and designreports and other assignments associated with your lecture courses. The research project is assessed by means of a written report and an oral examination in which you get to discuss your work with two members of academic staff.
During the fundamentals module you will undertake formal Laboratory classes which make use of real engineering devices such as pumps, motors and generators to give you a much better appreciation of how well Engineering theory does (and doesn't!) work in practical engineering applications. Laboratory classes cover the major renewable energy devices such as generators, control systems and the basics of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Students also make use our extensive research facilities during their research projects.