“Automobile Transport” Professional Master study program in “Automobile Transport”



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Riga Technical University

Final Evaluation Report of the Joint Commission for the

Higher Education Quality Evaluation Centre, of study programs:

Professional Bachelor study program in “Automobile Transport”

Professional Master study program in “Automobile Transport”

June 19-20 2006, Riga

Content


1 Introduction 4

2 Aims and objectives 4

The content is relevant and comprehensive. Both programs are however of bottom-up character, with focus on detailed vehicle technology, rather than transport systems and their strategic development. 5

In addition to traditional fields of automobile engineering, modern computerised signal processing, CAN bus technology, mechatronic systems and Drive-by-X, are being introduced. The programs are continually developed to follow the rapid technological development. 5

Teaching methodology is based on a relevant distribution between lectures, exercises, laboratory work. However, more PBL based on real industry problems, would be preferable in the applied subjects. 5

Concerning organisation and program structure, there are many small (2 CP) courses of similar character, that might be combined into larger courses, to improve the efficiency in teaching. 5

4 Assessment of teaching and learning 5

In a meeting with students, they expressed their satisfaction with the study program as such. The main reason for joining the program seemed to be their interest in automotive and engine technology. Approximately half of the interviewed students were working in parallel to their studies, most of them in companies related to automotive businesses (repair, maintenance, sales). The need for students to work in parallel to finance their studies is common for all programs in Latvia. Stipends of 70 LVL/month are available only for a few students, and not for students who are working in parallel. This system with insufficient financing of studies is obviously a major problem for Latvian Higher education. Students were not very optimistic concerning possibilities for employment and a relevant job after their graduation. This opinion was contradictory to the staffs opinion that the demand from the automotive industry is higher than the number of graduates. The commission has the opinion that a higher content of general mechanical engineering – not automotive specific - would be beneficial, also to support graduates´ migration into other fields of industry. 6

When asking the students of the reason for the high rate of “drop-out”, they claimed that it might be too easy to join the programs, many students then have difficulties to follow the 1st year´s courses in mathematics and physics. 6

Accreditation for professional standards according to the recommendations from the Ministry of Transport and from the Society of Latvian Transport Development and Education has not yet been carried out and should be emphasised. 7

Increased participation of staff in international conferences, and ATI participation in European research projects is strongly recommended. 8

7 Quality assessment and mechanisms to ensure it 8

Written examinations are used in all courses, and requirements for “passed” of exercises and laboratory work. No specific means or methods for quality assurance of the program were mentioned, besides the self-evaluation report. 8



9 Recommendations 9

General 9

10 Final Recommendation 10

4.1 ANKETA 11

(6 galvenie kvalitātes aspekti un 14 jautājumi) 11

(6 galvenie kvalitātes aspekti un 14 jautājumi) 11

(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 15

(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 15

4.2 I Aims and objectives 15

4.2.1 Possibility to understand, to reach and to control the aims and objectives defined by the study programmes is good. Objectives should meet the current needs of the Latvian automotive industry. 15

4.2.3 Comment: The content is relevant and comprehensive. The programs are well organised. In addition to traditional fields of automobile engineering, modern computerised signal processing, CAN bus technology, mechatronic systems and Drive-by-X, are being introduced. 16

4.2.4 Modern methods and approaches to environmental consideration and sustainable technology development are however not included in the programs. Life Cycle Assessment, recycling, exhaust emission control and noise reduction should be added to the programs. Also, alternative future drive systems, e.g. electric hybrid systems, fuel cells and internal combustion engines with variable valve timing should be included in the programs. This might be an opportunity for Latvian automotive industry, to enter the market for components and subsystems for such new technologies. 16

4.2.6 Concerning the organisation and program structure, there are however many small (2 CP) courses of similar character, that should be combined into larger courses, to improve the efficiency in teaching. 16

4.2.7 Comment: The program seems to comply well with the Latvian professional and educational standard. However, accreditation for professional standards according to the recommendations from the Ministry of Transport and from the Society of Latvian Transport Development and Education has not yet been carried out and should be emphasised. 16

4.2.8 Comment: The academic staff of the institute are highly qualified and professional. However, many of the academic staff are old, so a plan for recruitment and renewal of younger qualified staff is needed. 17

4.2.10 Comment: The fairly small student groups should be positive for an active student-teacher communication and applied project work. 17

4.2.11 Comment: Written examinations are used in all courses, and requirements for “passed” of exercises and laboratory work. No specific means or methods for quality assurance of the program were mentioned, besides the self-evaluation. 18

4.3 IV The management and support of the studies 18

4.3.1 Comment: Staff is active internationally, with placements as guest researchers e.g. in UK and Sweden. Increased participation in international conferences, and European research projects is strongly recommended though. 18

4.3.2 Comment: Teaching methodology is based on a relevant distribution between lectures, exercises, laboratory work. However, more PBL based on real industry problems, would be preferable in the applied subjects. 18

4.3.3 Comment: Increased research activities and in particular participation in EU projects is strongly recommended. 18

4.3.4 Comment: Written examinations are used in all courses, and requirements for “passed” of exercises and laboratory work. No specific means or methods for quality assurance of the program were mentioned, besides the self-evaluation report. 19

4.3.5 Comment: A comprehensive self-assessment for the program, covering many important aspects, was presented to the evaluation commission. The development plan was focused on renewal of staff and laboratory equipment, as well as increased number of students. 19

4.3.6 Comment: Other relevant professional Master´s programs at RTU – FTM-Faculty are available in “Transport Systems Engineering”. 19

(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 20

(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 20

4.4 I Aims and objectives 20

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4.5 IV The management and support of the studies 21

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(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 24

(6 main aspects and 14 questions) 24

4.6 I Aims and objectives 24

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