European Journal of Engineering Education

Published by Taylor & Francis
Online ISSN: 1469-5898
Print ISSN: 0304-3797
High skills are today seen as of vital importance to economies, industries, companies and individuals. The engineering industry is no exception and the graduate engineer has a key position in this regard. In the research reported in this paper, the authors use in-depth interviews with industry experts to investigate the provision of undergraduate engineering education in the UK. The current and future skill needs of industry are examined. A typology of future engineering roles and their requisite attributes is proposed. Implications for undergraduate engineering are also discussed
Considers emerging themes concerning psychology in engineering education. The author argues that: (1) few engineering educators have formal training in the social science field of psychology-the level of awareness is compatible neither with the vast responsibilities of the engineering field nor with curricula decision making in the social sciences; (2) engineering educators question the relevance and scientific strength of psychology-engineers are skeptical about the validity and reliability of psychology research; (3) some engineers perceive the psychologist as a somewhat arrogant `savior' who has all the answers and shows the less fortunate the correct path-these attributions, however distorted, can prove to be very real inhibitors in the relationship between engineering and technology; and (4) engineers are high-achieving, thoughtful individuals interested in learning more about how psychology can offer theoretical constructs for experiential applications in enjoying and coping with everyday life
With the development of information technologies we observe more and more possibilities for their use in education. The paper deals with general issues in the field of computer use in education and especially with its role in the so-called distance education. After a brief review of the actual issues, the paper describes a plan for utilization of the novel approaches for teaching Computer Communications and Networks at Faculty of Computer Engineering and Informatics. As the plan has not been accomplished yet, we described its first phase (improved communication / information flow between students and teacher and computer mediated assignments accomplishing). Intuitive evaluation of results is given and further steps are described.
The aim of this research was to evaluate and analyse second-year industrial engineering and chemical engineering students prior knowledge of conceptual aspects of circuit theory . Specifically, we focused on the basic concepts of electric potential and current intensity and on the fundamental relationship between them as expressed by Ohm's law. In order to find out what the students' alternative conceptions were, we gave them a questionnaire containing nine questions dealing with the most basic concepts of circuit theory. These results will be extremely useful for designing and drawing up a teaching unit based on a constructivist approach to teaching and learning processes. It should be emphasized that there is little information available about the alternative conceptions of the population type investigated in this research (university students).
Globalization, accelerated time-based competition, qualitative dynamics, rapid development of technology and especially Information and Communications Technology (ICT) developments challenge engineering education and capability development of each engineer. The success and the competitiveness of companies are increasingly based on their employees. Thus, the question becomes: what kind of future engineering education should be, and should it be radically different than today? Seeking viable and rapid answers to this question poses serious challenges to current educational systems. This paper describes two on-going projects: development of Finnish engineering education policy and development of Industrial Management programs together with ICT-industry. These projects aimed at restructuring engineering education in Finland. Both projects are unique in emphasizing the importance of crossing organizational borders within and outside of traditional engineering education system. The paper also introduces recent initiatives of global ICT industry (IBM, Cisco, Nokia and Apple) that challenge the traditional practices and content of engineering education. Experiences from examples confirm that a dynamic and interactive approach is essential for the success of future engineering education.
In 2000 the UK Engineering Professors' Council (EPC) drafted an output standard to describe first-cycle engineering programmes that would prepare students for practice and further professional learning. The standard described what is authentic and worthwhile in engineering education--it identified complex outcomes of learning. This poses practical and theoretical challenges: how can we know if a student has met this standard? This paper argues that complex outcomes like these often resist measurement and that it is appropriate to use other forms of judgement when trying to assess student achievement. This differentiated approach to assessment, which values formative assessment (or feedback) as well as summative assessment (or feedout), is summarized. It becomes necessary, then, to think about the assessment arrangements for whole programmes, not just for individual modules. Some implications of this programmic and differentiated approach are explored.
Quality is the central element of the results of changes happening in Hungarian higher education, which is serving an ever-increasing number of students. Following the transition to capitalism, as the number of students greatly increases, the direct control of higher education by the government ceases, and especially because of the 'mass production' character of education, the debate about quality has strengthened. It is especially difficult to define quality in the case of sophisticated, complex services, however, everyone agrees that quality is a major element of customer satisfaction. We have been conducting an interesting experiment at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE) for the past few years. The university asks the opinion of several groups about the quality of education at the university, including freshly graduated students, companies employing the freshly graduated students and freshmen. This article evaluates the results of this survey and summarizes the opinions of the 'customers' concerning education and training at the BUTE.
In this paper, a study is presented in which engineering students at a Danish university developed Continuous Improvement (CI) and innovation capabilities through action research and experiential learning methods. The paper begins with a brief overview of the literature on CI and innovation, followed by an account of how the students designed and implemented solutions to self-identified problems within their educational program using the principles of CI, and how these learning activities facilitated the development of basic innovation capabilities. The paper concludes with insights regarding how such an innovative design of teaching methods based on learning-by-doing may not only support the development of CI and innovation in engineering students, which is increasingly demanded by industry, but also represent a way in which to enhance sustainability and innovation of the education itself.
Most work done by engineers today is organized in projects and very often as teamwork. When educating towards employability, it is therefore important that the students develop competencies in areas such as project management, collaboration and teamwork. In companies using human resource management, we find similar expectations to the engineers' competencies (Bonner et al. 2000, Human Resource Management--Fremtidens Vinderkriterium (Børsens Forlag)). In this article, it is demonstrated how the supervisor can facilitate development of such competencies as an implicit part of supervising study projects. Theoretically, the article is based on Donald Schön's idea of educating the reflective practitioner, especially his theory of reciprocal reflection-in-action. Empirically, it is primarily based on a longitudinal case study carried out as part of a PhD study at Aalborg University (Hansen 2000, 'Vejledning og evaluering af den refleksive praktiker i det problemorienterede projektarbejde på ingeniørstudiet ved Aalborg Universitet', Aalborg Universitet, UNI PRINT). From the case study it was found that the reflective dialogue with the supervisor proved itself by focusing on competencies in areas such as understanding group dynamics, communication, organization and project management. Further, it is suggested that the method can be improved by using improvisation techniques, where focus is on spontaneity, creativity, awareness and presence.
This article describes the results of a workshop that was held in Valencia during the annual conference of SEFI in 2004. The authors give remarks on the results supported by relevant and recent research. In the workshop, where about 35 participants were present, the following questions were discussed and answered: Which factors indicate that an institute of higher engineering education is woman friendly? How can we rank these factors and what is the weight of the factors? What initiatives did your institute or other institutions of your country make to increase the percentage of female academic staff and to attract and retain more female students?
Preprint version As information professionals, engineering librarians have the primary responsibilities of providing access to engineering information resources and giving instruction in how to use these resources. In the case of undergraduate engineering students, this extends to building their information literacy skills, an important component in helping them become lifelong learners; to be curious and independent, and to take greater responsibility for their own learning. The challenge in building information literacy in engineering students is to acquaint the students with the array of library resources available to them and to help them intelligently navigate the systems that contain the information. Too often, information literacy instruction is presented as a set of procedures for locating a hypothetical resource in the library. However, students are not interested in finding some resource randomly chosen as an example; they want to find resources that they perceive as being important and useful. During the 2005-2006 academic year, the engineering librarians at Drexel University took this into consideration and employed a new methodology for information literacy instruction: combining an online tutorial covering basic library skills with face-to-face consultations between student design teams and the engineering librarians. By utilizing varied instruction techniques aimed at different learning styles, with a strong active learning component delivered at the student's point of need - when they have a concrete, perceived information need - information literacy instruction can be improved so that engineering students retain more and develop lifelong learning skills.
Primary objective. To examine perceptions of academic quality and approaches to studying in students taking six technology courses by distance education. Research design. Students taking four courses received an end-of-course questionnaire. The following year, students taking all six courses received a mid-course questionnaire. Method. The Course Experience Questionnaire and the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory were administered in a postal survey to 3539 students of the UK Open University. Outcomes and results. Across successive levels of study, students were progressively less likely to adopt a deep approach, were more likely to adopt a surface approach and rated their courses less favourably, especially with regard to the workload and materials. Between the middle and end of a course, students were more likely to adopt a deep approach and gave more positive ratings with regard to the materials and amount of choice. Conclusions. The survey instruments can be recommended as useful tools for monitoring the experiences of engineering and technology students.
In this paper we introduce the methodology that we have followed to convert traditional notes into interactive online materials. The idea behind this has been to make self-consistent and interactive online materials capable of motivating the students to get involved in the learning process. For this purpose, we have used the e-learning environment Moodle, which is a platform with a high interactivity potential. We conclude that the academic performance reaches its maximum when correctly combining self-organising with minimum teacher guidance.
The transition to university is considerably more complex for both students and staff than it was a few years ago. For example, class sizes and the cultural diversity of students have increased, while the academic ability of students has decreased. If we are to produce engineering professionals who possess the necessary attributes for lifelong learning, then there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way first‐year students are treated. To this end, an orientation programme designed to break the ice between students and staff and among students, and a staff‐student mentoring scheme have been implemented in the School of Mechanical, Manufacturing and Medical Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology. A new course unit, Technology and Society, designed specifically to improve the teamwork and communication skills of students, has also been implemented. This unit is designed to increase students’ awareness of the university's facilities and its expectations and to provide an overview of the many facets of the engineering discipline. Each programme has been considered to be a success by both students and staff. This paper emphasizes the need to accommodate the growing cultural and educational diversity of first‐year students, the impersonal feeling of a university, the ‘little fish in a big pond’ feeling, the feeling of not knowing any university staff, especially academics, and not knowing what is really expected of them, especially in terms of learning strategies and how their chosen field of study fits into the more global aspects of the community.
A teaching and learning development project is currently under way at Queensland University of Technology to develop advanced technology videotapes for use with the delivery of structural engineering courses. These tapes consist of integrated computer and laboratory simulations of important concepts, and behaviour of structures and their components for a number of structural engineering subjects. They will be used as part of the regular lectures and thus will not only improve the quality of lectures and learning environment, but also will be able to replace the ever-dwindling laboratory teaching in these subjects. The use of these videotapes, developed using advanced computer graphics, data visualization and video technologies, will enrich the learning process of the current diverse engineering student body. This paper presents the details of this new method, the methodology used, the results and evaluation in relation to one of the structural engineering subjects, steel structures.
Several methodological approaches to improve the understanding and motivation of students in Hydraulic Engineering courses have been adopted in the Agricultural Engineering School at Technical University of Madrid. During three years student's progress and satisfaction have been assessed by continuous monitoring and the use of ‘online’ and web tools in two undergraduate courses. Results from their application to encourage learning and communication skills in Hydraulic Engineering subjects are analysed and compared to the initial situation. Student's academic performance has improved since their application, but surveys made among students showed that not all the methodological proposals were perceived as beneficial. Their participation in the ‘online’, classroom and reading activities was low although they were well assessed.
Distribution of credits required to earn the AE (Technical University of Madrid, Spain). 
Mean age and number (in brackets) of AE and ATE students surveyed by sex and year. 
Class hours (mean values) spent on computer applications as part of the AE (1996 curriculum, Technical University of Madrid, Spain) and commercial packages used. 
The Rural Engineering Department (Technical University of Madrid) ran three competence surveys during the 2006–2007 and 2007–2008 academic years and evaluated: (1) the competences gained by agricultural engineer's degree and agricultural technical engineer's degree students (360 respondents); (2) the competences demanded by agricultural employers (50 farming sector employers); (3) competences required by farming sector professionals and former students (70 professionals). The surveys show significant differences between what competences agricultural employers require of graduates and the competences they acquire during their agricultural engineering degree courses. Recruiters are looking for generic competences such as the ability to coordinate groups and place less importance on knowledge of engineering, biology, applied economics and legislation. Of the computer-related competences, those most in demand by sector professionals were related to the use of Microsoft Office/Excel (used by 79% of professionals). Surveys were used to redesign some subjects of the degrees.
Report writing is an important employability skill for Engineers and Technologists, and this case study describes how a Technology degree module took a novel approach to developing students’ report writing skills. Students learned how to use a criterion-referenced critical evaluation framework for reports and other technological documents. They were given opportunities to practise using the framework both through exemplars and through evaluating the work of their peers. They also carried out self-assessment. The authors’ analysis of this novel approach shows that most students responded well to it and benefited from it. Lessons are drawn from this work for others who wish to improve their students’ report writing skills.
Results of iterative refinement on overall coder agreement scores for efficiency problem.
Average number of codes by the approach strategy. Code frequencies by strategy group
This study describes the development and structure of a coding scheme for analysing solutions to well-structured problems in terms of cognitive processes and problem-solving deficiencies for first-year engineering students. A task analysis approach was used to assess students’ problem solutions using the hierarchical structure from a theoretical framework from mathematics research. The coding scheme comprises 54 codes within the categories of knowledge access, knowledge generation, self-management, conceptual errors, mechanical errors, management errors, approach strategies and solution accuracy, and was demonstrated to be both dependable and credible for analysing problems typical of topics in first-year engineering courses. The problem-solving processes were evaluated in terms of time, process elements, errors committed and self-corrected errors. Therefore, problem-solving performance can be analysed in terms of both accuracy and efficiency of processing, pinpointing areas meriting further study from a cognitive perspective, and for documenting processes for research purposes.
Sustainability issues are increasingly important in engineering work all over the world. This article explores systematic differences in self-assessed competencies, interests, importance, engagement and practices of newly enrolled engineering students in Denmark in relation to environmental and non-environmental sustainability issues. The empirical base of the article is a nation-wide, web-based survey sent to all newly enrolled engineering students in Denmark commencing their education in the fall term 2010. The response rate was 46%. The survey focused on a variety of different aspects of what can be conceived as sustainability. By means of cluster analysis, three engineering student approaches to sustainability are identified and described. The article provides knowledge on the different prerequisites of engineering students in relation to the role of sustainability in engineering. This information is important input to educators trying to target new engineering students and contribute to the provision of engineers equipped to meet sustainability challenges.
Assessment in engineering disciplines is typically oriented to demonstrating competence in specific tasks. Even where assessments are intended to have a formative component, little priority may be given to feedback. Engineering departments are often criticized, by their students and by external quality reviewers, for paying insufficient attention to formative assessment. The e3an project set out to build a question bank of peer-reviewed questions for use within electrical and electronic engineering. As a part of this process, a number of engineers from disparate institutions were required to work together in teams, designing a range of assessments for their subject specialisms. The project team observed that lecturers were especially keen to develop formative assessment but that their understanding of what might be required varied considerably. This paper describes the various ways in which the processes of the project have engaged lecturers in actively identifying and developing their conceptions of teaching, learning and assessment in their subject. It reports on an interview study that was conducted with a selection of participants. It is concluded that lecturers' reflections on and understanding of assessment are closely related to the nature of the subject domain and that it is essential when attempting to improve assessment practice to start from the perspective of lecturers in the discipline.
The issue of addressing innovation and change in engineering students' assessment is the target of this paper. The contents are an overview of the issues related with the evolution of the engineering learning requirements, a review of the traditional student evaluation methods in practice, a description of a current experiment in engineering student assessment and an analysis of the possible consequences of the generalized adoption of the innovative method. The pilot project consisted in the experimentation of an evaluation system without a final exam for a chosen discipline per semester and per each year of the several undergraduate degrees. The comparison is made in statistical terms and relevance when comparing the results of each chosen discipline between the actual and the previous year.
A well-designed assessment strategy can motivate students, and help teachers and institutions to support deep learning. In contrast, inappropriate forms of assessment may promote surface learning, and will therefore fail to support the true goals of education. Recent theories of learning stress the value of dialogue, negotiation and feedback. Learning is seen to take place within communities of practice, where members collaborate to construct an understanding of their field of study. Assessment within such communities can help provide the feedback and shared meanings essential to membership. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can facilitate the best aspects of assessment. Possibilities range from simple web-based tests for practice and self-assessment, through facilitation and assessment of group work, to recent developments in semantic analysis for automatic marking. Drawing on the lessons of learning theories, this paper explores how ICTs can support best practice in assessment for engineering education.
Categorisation of software in use as a percentage of total number of instances,
In what part of the curriculum is the CAL material used? Mode of use as % of case studies in each software category. Square brackets show corresponding survey data
This is a journal article. It was published in the journal, European Journal of Engineering Education [© Taylor & Francis] and the definitive version is available at: This paper gives a synopsis of an extensive programme of case studies on real uses of Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) materials within UK engineering degree programmes. The programme was conducted between 2000 and 2003 and followed a questionnaire-based survey looking at CAL use in the UK and in Australia. The synopsis reveals a number of key messages for academic tutors and authors including students’ enthusiasm for notes, self-tests and features to aid visualisation. Publishers should also consider pricing and licensing arrangements suited to the individual user.
This paper examines the possibility of applying industrial principles of quality assurance within the sphere of engineering education. In view of the impending ‘one market Europe’ and the envisaged transnational mobility of professionals, it is important for educators to demonstrate their commitment to quality. It is suggested that to teach about quality within engineering courses is insufficient: it is time to prove the benefits of these concepts through personal commitment and action. The industrial Quality Assurance model, ISO9000 is considered in the context of education and is proposed as a suitable vehicle for the implementation of the requisite attitudinal and cultural changes embodied in Total Quality Management. The possible conflict between the industrial view of quality as fitness for purpose and the educational ethos of striving for excellence is discussed. It is concluded that there is an urgent need for engineering educators to practise what they preach and move towards a customer centred, market driven education system dedicated to continuous self-improvement.
Important aspects of work-life.
Value of achievements.
Results from a survey on faculty attitudes towards the teaching and research roles are presented. Attention is given to: (i) the perceived value of teaching (and teaching achievements) relative to research, (ii) approaches for research and teaching integration, (iii) the satisfaction gained from typical work tasks, and (iv) the importance of various work-life factors. Factors such as academic freedom, an intellectual work environment, flexible work hours, inspirational colleagues, and work diversity are found to be highly valued. Support from peers and colleagues is also seen as a key in learning to manage the different academic roles. A relatively low value is attributed to teaching achievements. Likewise, there is often little utilisation of teaching opportunities to support research work (other than senior-year research projects). Female faculty were found to give marginally a higher importance to teaching recognition and collaborative teaching opportunities. Based on the findings, general recommendations for supporting the teaching researcher are presented.
Multiple nested contexts for the WIRHD student 
Attributed to the changing social, political and economic landscape of the 'knowledge economy', Australian universities are under pressure to produce researchers that have a variety of skills that meet the demands of an increasingly diverse job market. As a consequence, the umbrella of Australian Research Higher Degree (RHD) offerings has broadened from the traditional MPhil/PhD programmes to include a range of professional masters and doctoral degrees. This paper reports on the experiences of three PhD students, engaged in an informally managed industry partnered research programme, described in this paper as the Work Integrated Research Higher Degree (WIRHD). Their learning process shares the attributes from both the traditional PhD programme and professional doctorates. However, because of the blended nature of the learning contexts, candidates engaged in the WIRHD programme must address a wider range of issues than those following the traditional RHD pathway. An exploratory case study approach exploring experiences, benefits, barriers and coping strategies was conducted with the view to develop an integrative framework that attempts to explain the various contexts that influence the learning experience of WIRHD candidates. The exploratory study led to the development a structured approach to guide the WIRHD process, which aims to mitigate the various challenges of this style of partnered research arrangement whilst leveraging its benefits. Yes Yes
Following the decision at the KU Leuven to implement the educational concept of guided independent learning and to encourage students to participate in scientific research, the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering decided to introduce a bachelor thesis. Competencies, such as communication, scientific research and teamwork, need to be present in the design of this thesis. Because of the high number of students and the multidisciplinary nature of the graduates, all research divisions of the faculty are asked to participate. The yearly surveys and hearings were used for further optimisation. The actual design of this bachelor thesis is presented and discussed in this paper.
This paper presents a virtual lab for the contents of an Engineering project, for designing an agro-industrial building, which is also useful for a range of different transversal courses in Engineering sciences. The aims of this tool are to analyse the most important contents of a project-document (calculation, regulations, drawings and budgets), as well as their relationship with the activities which make up the work and the schedule. The design criteria we considered were: its online applications and their compatibility with Moodle; the inclusion of different learning approaches, such as exploratory learning and inquiry-based learning; its interactivity, and the use of multimedia elements for visualisation and direct analysis on material common to Engineering subjects. The students’ perceptions of the improvements brought by the virtual lab were analysed statistically through a series of questions over two academic years. The results of the questionnaires suggested that most of those who had used the e-learning tool valued positively its overall suitability for reaching the objectives in their subject as well as the way it improved the working methodology. The practical knowledge acquired by the students was also highly valued. In addition, the lack of constraints commonly related to field trips (expenses, time and complexity) illustrates the utility of self-access learning tools in key transversal disciplines such as Engineering projects.
The aim of this work was to compare the curricula of three different agricultural engineering courses and to determine the competence of graduating students in three subject areas in order to identify possible shortfalls in the number of hours of instruction (HI) required for full competence to be attained.A total of 132 students sat a voluntary examination in the final year of their studies to determine their competence in three subject areas: electrical facilities, machinery and construction. The degree courses completed by these students are meant to provide them with the legal standing required to undertake infrastructure projects in agricultural installations.This work detected significant differences in the competence of graduates in the mentioned subjects, depending on the number of HI they had received. Students who had received under 120 HI in these subjects were found to be significantly less competent than those who had received more.
A bioprocess engineer should have at least a set of basic design skills. Bioprocess design is a complex cognitive skill, which should be trained in every year of an academic Bioprocess-Engineering curriculum. However, there is little existing learning material to support the initial training of design skills early in the curriculum. For this reason a web-based DownStream Process Design environment has been developed, called DSPD. This article describes the design criteria for the development of this design environment. It describes the design environment itself and it gives an impression of the use of the design environment in a course for first-year students.
The paper describes the development and operation of joint study pro gramme schemes, which lead to double awards. The essential prerequisites for an exchange programme are identified together with an evaluation of academic standards and teaching methods in each country. The process of obtaining equivalence and credit recognition between courses is presented^ together with specific data relating to requirements for double awards. The experience gained in these exchange programmes is discussed and student performance is evaluated.
This paper is a descriptive account of how short-term international and multicultural experiences can be integrated into early design experiences in an aerospace engineering curriculum. Such approaches are considered as important not only in fostering a student's interest in the engineering curriculum, but also exposing them to a multicultural setting that they are likely to encounter in their professional careers. In the broader sense, this programme is described as a model that can be duplicated in other engineering disciplines as a first-year experience. In this study, undergraduate students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Universidad del Turabo (UT) in Puerto Rico collaborated on a substantial design project consisting of designing, fabricating, and flight-testing radio-controlled model aircraft as a capstone experience in a semester-long course on Fundamentals of Flight. The two-week long experience in Puerto Rico was organised into academic and cultural components designed with the following objectives: (i) to integrate students in a multicultural team-based academic and social environment, (ii) to practise team-building skills and develop students’ critical thinking and analytical skills, and finally (iii) to excite students about their engineering major through practical applications of aeronautics and help them decide if it is a right fit for them.
Globalisation has inspired a wide assortment of curricular initiatives within engineering education in the USA and Europe. This interest could be categorised in multiple directions – international exposure, service learning, or critical understanding and praxis. In Canada, however, there has been far less consideration for integrating globalisation within the engineering curriculum. The recent episode of reform initiated by the Canadian Board of Engineering Accreditation could usher in changes on this front. Situating the development of a course titled Development and Global Engineering within these broader conceptual and organisational impulses, this paper will illuminate a pathway towards understanding globalisation, especially within the Global South, through a comprehension of complexity and informality.
Curriculum planning for the development of graphicacy capability has not been systematically included in general education to coincide with the graphicacy needs of human society. In higher education, graphicacy curricula have been developed to meet the needs of certain disciplines, for example medical and teacher training and engineering, among others. A framework for graphicacy curricula, anticipating the graphicacy needs in higher education, has yet to be strategically planned for general education. This is partly a result of lack of research effort in this area, but also a result of lack of systematic curriculum planning in general. This paper discusses these issues in the context of graphicacy curricula for engineering. The paper presents three broad individual case studies spanning Europe and the USA, brought together by the common denominator, graphicacy. The case studies are based on: an analysis of graphicacy within general education curricula, an analysis of graphicacy for engineering education in Europe and an analysis of graphicacy for engineering education in the USA. These three papers were originally presented in a plenary session at the American Society for Engineering Education, Engineering Design Graphics Division at the University of Limerick in November 2012. The case studies demonstrate the potential for strategic curriculum planning in regard to the development of graphicacy in general education and an overview of a methodology to achieve that. It also offers further evidence towards the importance of the systematic classification of graphics capabilities in Engineering and how the lack of a developed theoretical framework in this area undermines the case for the importance of graphics within engineering education.
If students really understand the systems they study, they would be able to tell how changes in the system would affect a result. This demands that the students understand the mechanisms that drive its behaviour. The study investigates potential merits of learning how to explicitly model the causal structure of systems. The approach and performance of 15 system dynamics students who are taught to explicitly model the causal structure of the systems they study were compared with the approach and performance of 22 engineering students, who generally did not receive such training. The task was to bring a computer-simulated predator-and-prey ecology to equilibrium. The system dynamics students were significantly more likely than the engineering students to correctly frame the problem. They were not much better at solving the task, however. It seemed that they had only learnt how to make models and not how to use them for reasoning.
PBL learning principles (Kolmos, de Graaff, and Du 2009).
This paper compares two models for reforming engineering education, problem/project-based learning (PBL), and conceive–design–implement–operate (CDIO), identifying and explaining similarities and differences. PBL and CDIO are defined and contrasted in terms of their history, community, definitions, curriculum design, relation to disciplines, engineering projects, and change strategy. The structured comparison is intended as an introduction for learning about any of these models. It also invites reflection to support the understanding and evolution of PBL and CDIO, and indicates specifically what the communities can learn from each other. It is noted that while the two approaches share many underlying values, they only partially overlap as strategies for educational reform. The conclusions are that practitioners have much to learn from each other's experiences through a dialogue between the communities, and that PBL and CDIO can play compatible and mutually reinforcing roles, and thus can be fruitfully combined to reform engineering education.
This work examines an innovative and evolving approach to facilitating teamwork learning in a generic first-year mechanical engineering course. Principles of inclusive, student-active and democratic pedagogy were utilised to engage students on both the social and personal planes. Learner opportunities to facilitate, direct and lead the learning direction were emphasised. This emphasis encouraged a rich learning process and motivated students dismissive of the need to examine their communication skills and those who initially perceived the topic as a personal intrusion. Through a sharing of curriculum decisions, a climate of trust, ownership and shared value arose. Students chose from a range of tools across personality-type indicators, learning style indicators and hierarchies of human needs, to assist their capacity to express and discuss engineering designs and concepts. Peer teaching and collaborative exercises were incorporated to provide an authentic learning context and to further the student's sense of ownership.
Describes the driving forces behind corporate education in the United States and how they have become manifested in some leading initiatives which are of importance to the engineering community. Discusses education for the world of work, corporation schools, corporate classrooms, hybrid corporate-university classrooms and government-university initiatives and high technology approaches. (CW)
The last 3 years have seen extensive time and resources invested in quality assessment/quality improvement (QA/QI) within the Irish university sector. The introduction of a formalized QA/QI programme in the 1998/99 academic year at University College Dublin (UCD) of Ireland-Dublin, will mean that every department in College will have a direct and compulsory involvement in the quality assurance programme in the coming years. There is limited experience of formalized quality assessment in the higher education sector in Ireland, and several pilot projects have been running which represent a first step in establishing a methodology suited to conditions prevailing within the Irish context. The Universities Act 1997 in Ireland will drive the issue of quality assessment in the university sector and ensure that emphasis is placed on the attainment of the highest possible standards in teaching and research. The universities are responding to this new challenge by adopting a pro-active approach and implementing the QA/QI schemes as a matter of some urgency. This paper outlines details of key pilot projects undertaken in recent times.
For the last three decades, the engineering higher education and professional environments have been completely transformed by the "electronic/digital information revolution" that has included the introduction of personal computer, the development of email and world wide web, and broadband Internet connections at home. Herein the writer compares the performances of several digital tools with traditional library resources. While new specialised search engines and open access digital repositories may fill a gap between conventional search engines and traditional references, these should be not be confused with real libraries and international scientific databases that encompass textbooks and peer-reviewed scholarly works. An absence of listing in some Internet search listings, databases and repositories is not an indication of standing. Researchers, engineers and academics should remember these key differences in assessing the quality of bibliographic "research" based solely upon Internet searches.
This paper describes how information and communication technology (ICT) is used in the modular Open University course 'T209 Information and Communication Technologies: People and Interactions', first presented in 2002. In this course ICT is used to provide students with practical experience and to support an active and collaborative approach to learning. The paper provides some background information on the course and an explanation of its general use of ICT, before going on to discuss the particular applications of ICT in each module. These include design and modelling tools, computer-mediated communication, and use of the Web and CD-ROMs for resource-based learning. The authors include an evaluation of the contribution of ICT to the achievement of the learning outcomes for the course, and also discuss lessons learned for the future.
The basic roles of undergraduate engineering laboratories are usually stated in terms of how the laboratory experience serves the student. To these roles another is added: the continuing professional development of the faculty members. This added role gives great emphasis to laboratories concerned with new and developing topics in the discipline and moving the laboratory towards the ‘hands-on’ type of curriculum. This eventually will lead to more practice-oriented graduates.To serve this added role, three main interactive factors should be involved; the appropriate development of the engineering laboratory, its practical touch with the surrounding engineering organisations in community, and realisation of involved individuals and their willingness to participate in this role. A case study was investigated in the State of Qatar to find the effect of these interactive factors in the development of engineering laboratories at Qatar University. Two different questionnaires were administered to two groups. The first was the faculty members supervising engineering laboratories at the university. The second group involved engineers in various administrative posts in both private and public sectors in Qatar.The results of these questionnaires are presented in this paper. The analysis of these results reflected the essence of the added role. The surveyed groups showed awareness and willingness to participate in a co-operation programme to enhance that role. However, the survey revealed, in general, a lack of effective channels of communication and inadequate university laboratory facilities. That could lead, according to the survey, to a limited co-operation programme between the university's engineering laboratories and engineering organisations in the community.
This study aims to compare and evaluate the learning ability and performance differences between two groups of students undergoing project-based learning (PjBL), with one group having prior PjBL experience, while the other group is being freshly exposed to PjBL. More specifically, it examines if there are significant differences in knowledge score, problem-solving ability, and eventual project-deliverable outcomes between the two sets of students. Performances were compared via qualitative and quantitative analyses. Key findings have indicated a significant increase in fundamental formative knowledge; enhanced problem-solving abilities; and production of better performing artefacts with regard to the set of design skills between experienced and first-time PjBL groups. This study also highlighted that experienced PjBL students have less conflicts within their groups, and are more receptive to PjBL compared to first-time PjBL students. Results from this study provide a starting point for educators to seek new learning/facilitating strategies that are relevant based on the experience and learning styles of students.
This study presents the skills, experiences, and values identified in project self-reflections of 161 undergraduate engineering students. Self-reflections from two different engineering design courses, which provide experiences in project-based learning (PBL), are analysed through the content analysis methodology. Results show that ‘application’, ‘true life’, ‘satisfaction’, and ‘communication’ are the common keywords shared in the reflections. Multiple hypothesis tests to identify differences between courses, project types, years, and gender suggest that there are no significant differences between experiences, skills, and values self-reported by students who completed either a case study or an industry project. Based on research findings, recommendations will be provided to enhance the engineering curriculum based on PBL experiences to support the development of relevant professional skills and experiences.
Discusses the use of computers in teaching these courses at the Eindhoven University of Technology: (1) regression analysis; (2) generalized linear models; and (3) multivariate statistical methods. Students also use the computer for their final studies for validating statistical tests. (JN)
Japan has always given a high priority to continuing education of engineers ( CEE) and the training of skilled technicians. As engineering education in the universities is oriented more to basic comprehension of engineering sciences, education and training activities inside enterprises and self-education have been the major part of CEE Now almost all the major enterprises in Japan have well established education programs and facilities for CEE, and these systems have been developed with close linkage to the following characteristics of the industrial and socio-economic system of Japan: ( i) life-time employment system; ( ii) transfer of job and job rotation; ( Hi) seniority system; ( iv) improvement of education systems.
This paper describes a method of introducing ethics to a second-year class of civil engineering students. The method, known as a 'structured controversy', takes the form of a workshop where the students assume the identity of stakeholders having an interest in a proposed development in an environmentally sensitive region. The instructor enhances the workshop by deliberately feeding incorrect information into a catalogue of facts that each stakeholder has at their disposal. After the workshop, the instructor draws out three ethical frameworks from which the stakeholders operate. A key component of the exercise is that the students do not know beforehand that the environmental workshop is being used to introduce ethics. When the connection is revealed, the students appreciate that much of their behaviour during the role-play was because they inadvertently adhered to an unknown ethical platform. Since it is an environmental simulation, an explicit connection can be made to the debate over 'who' to include in the moral community. In addition, a link can be drawn to the notion of sustainable development which, in this paper, is advocated as an ethical rather than a technical concept
Describes the background of the study and fellowship programs for graduates from the developing countries at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. Discusses some experiences with the programs. Includes a brief description of five courses: (1) "Pulp and Paper Technology"; (2) "Marine Civil Engineering"; (3) "Hydropower Development"; (4) "Electric Power Distribution System"; and (5) "Petroleum Exploration and Reservoir Evaluation." (YP)
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Xiangyun Du
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Jennifer M. Case
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