Asee peer logo

Redesigning an Experimentation Course with PBL Pedagogy to Support Accreditation in China

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Experimentation and Laboratory-oriented Studies Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Lijun Zhang Beijing Institute of Technology

visit author page

associate professor of teaching in the School of Optics and Photonics of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) in China. She received her Ph.D. in Optical Engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology.
Her research interests situate in Engineering Education. Now she is working on a research about constructing the practical curriculum system with the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) method to support the engineering education in BIT and the Engineering Education Program Accreditation in China, and working on a research about constructing university-industry cooperation internship platform to improve the problem-solving skills of professional degree master based on PBL mode as well.

visit author page


Dongxiao Wang Beijing Institute of Technology

visit author page

Wang Dongxiao, associate professor, Ph.D. Opto-photonics School of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT). Her research interests include the reform of engineering practice education and teaching, and the innovation and entrepreneurship education. She mainly teaches 8 experimental-related public elective courses, with an average of 800 students per year, covering 44 engineering majors in 14 schools. Besides, she instructed students to accomplish more than 40 various types of scientific and technological innovation projects, 6 of which won the first prize in China. Moreover, he won the first prize of the Beijing Teaching Achievement Award in China. In addition, he published 12 papers and obtained 6 invention patents.

visit author page


Xiaofeng Tang Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Xiaofeng Tang is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in engineering ethics at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

visit author page

author page

Zhonglian Zhang Beijing Institute of Technology


Hai Lin Beijing Institute of Technology

visit author page

Professor Hai Lin is the Deputy Director of the Undergraduate Education Office of Beijing Institute of Technology, whose duty is Management of Engineering Education Accreditation, Undergraduate Programs, and Curriculums. He received his Ph.D. in Aircraft Design from Beijing Institute of Technology, and he worked successively as a teacher in the School of Aerospace Engineering of Beijing Institute of Technology, and the Director of Graduate Education Office in charge of Master & Ph.D. Programs, Curriculums, and Graduate Education Projects.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This paper reports the redesign of a junior level engineering experimentation course to promote students’ problem solving and technical communication skills. The redesign was carried out to support the accreditation of an engineering program in a technical institution in China.

Since China became an official member of the Washington Accord in 2016, engineering programs in Chinese universities and colleges have attempted to adopt outcome-based education. Between 2018 and 2019, the authors redesigned an experimentation course that had been offered for 14 years at the authors’ home institution. The newly designed curriculum was implemented for the first time in the fall semester of 2019.

Following the guiding principle of letting students “work as an engineer,” the course instructors took a backward design approach to redesigning this course. First, learning outcomes for the course were redefined to highlight problem solving skills, which are essential outcomes according to the ABET criteria. Second, a comprehensive assessment plan was created to measure student progress in each of the learning outcomes. Rubrics-based grading focuses on assessing five dimensions of student work: the solution’s efficacy, quality of technical writing, oral communication, completion of prototypes, and testing plans and results. Finally, the newly developed learning outcomes and assessment plan were aligned with learning activities in the course, including design, prototyping, testing, as well as reflective exercises. Project-Based and Problem-Based Learning are the signature pedagogies in this course. The instructors also created an authentic learning environment, equipped with necessary sensors, electronic components, assembling materials, operating tools, and testing platforms.

Results of student learning in this course will be reported in two manners: First, statistics of student grades in communication and hands-on work will be shared. Second, results from a student survey that represents their self-assessment of problem solving skills will be reported.

This work is important as it reports one of the few examples of systematically applying PBL and the ABET criteria in redesigning an engineering experimentation course in China. The paper discusses lessons from adopting ABET student outcomes in an international context and provides a case study for the international dissemination of educational standards in engineering.

Zhang, L., & Wang, D., & Tang, X., & Zhang, Z., & Lin, H. (2020, June), Redesigning an Experimentation Course with PBL Pedagogy to Support Accreditation in China Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35129

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015