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ERIC Number: ED442626
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Re-Engineering the Engineering Degree Course.
Marsh, Rodney
Students enrolled to degree programs in 1997 will become the first graduates of the 21st century. Engineering courses in the School of Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University have changed immensely in the last two years, so as to support new markets. Disciplines such as industrial engineering, electronics and computing have enjoyed their birth, growth, and maturity during the past thirty years. The more recent past has seen a move to include multi-media technology as a generic skill. The final years of the 20th century see engineering students who are less interested in theoretical principles, mathematical concepts and research-focused courses. Furthermore, employers, government and planners of the shape of the engineering profession are seeking different attributes from engineering graduates which will greatly influence the programs of the next century. The graduate of the future is expected to exhibit a totally different range of skills from their forebears. The workplace for engineers often considers communication skills to be more important than high level mathematics, group working skills more important than academic individuality, and a commitment to lifelong learning and continuing professional development, in most cases, offers more to employers than a theoretical contribution to research focused projects and developments. Students have become more thoughtful and focused about their career aspirations. They demand more opportunity to influence their educational development than has ever been the case. The introduction of tuition fee contributions in the UK, from 1998, will create greater demands and expectations from the student population. Traditional engineering programs contain significant elements of the curriculum which the graduate engineer will never use. Mathematical excellence seems an obsession of engineering programs, yet experience of the author shows that most engineers are employed in roles which demand a much less demanding level of mathematical ability. The comments mentioned above interact in a curriculum sense to produce contradictions in programs; the solution represents the ingredients for many of the programs of the future. The engineer of the next century must exhibit a range of skills and experiences which differ immensely from those of only twenty years ago. Program delivery modes, experiential contribution, and learning outcomes must, more than ever, be central considerations of courses. Applications of technology are crucial aspects which have greatly influenced program design at Leeds Metropolitan University. Redesign of the portfolio of programs in the School of Engineering has been very conscious of student aspiration and employer demands. Developing group and team working abilities, project management, and other generic skills for employability are a central focus of our programs. This is coupled with the development of a flexible learning environment where attention to pedagogic integrity is being inculcated in staff development programs. Faculty are being driven down the road of facilitating learning in an environment where direct contact time with students has reduced and is expected to reduce further. Students are being trained/developed more rapidly to be independent learners and academic emphasis is interwoven with peer assessment, integrative development, measurement of learning outcomes, goal setting, flexible learning, and employment skills. This paper charts the experiences of the School over the past 24 months in restructuring to meet these demands. (Author)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A