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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.