Impact of Global Forces and Empowering Situations on Engineering Education in 2030

Impact of Global Forces and Empowering Situations on Engineering Education in 2030

A. Kamp, R. Klaassen (2016).  Impact of Global Forces and Empowering Situations on Engineering Education in 2030. 20.

Over the last couple of decades the world around us has changed at a dizzying pace by the globalisation and digitalisation, the flattening of the socio-economic world, and the blending of technical, economical and societal cultures. The ways we communicate, work, travel and do business have changed dramatically, and are expected to change at an even faster pace in the future. We have entered an era where higher engineering education has to move from content coverage to content mastery.

A “Free Spirits” Think Tank has been set up as a joint initiative of the Dutch 3TU.Centre for Engineering Education and TU Delft’s Directors of Education. Its aim is to look ahead to the year 2030 and revaluate the capacities of the engineering graduates, without losing their current core strengths. In five dedicated workshops with 12 senior academic staff, members of the valorisation centre and student bodies, the Think Tank challenged the following key questions: • What type of students does TU Delft want to educate? • What are the major changes our graduates will face in 2030? • What is the added value TU Delft can deliver in terms of educational content? • Which learning processes help to sustain preparation of the future engineer?

The Think Tank has developed and explored various potential solutions via the method of Design Thinking, which is known for its effective creation of out-of-the-box solutions for new ways of working. We made an inventory of the expected shift in needs, ideated diverse future worlds and built concepts that focus on the “what” question. These workshops were supported by survey data on trends in engineering and science, numerous small informal workshops and a “Free Spirits” Facebook page on which progress was shared with the TU Delft community.

The exploration points into a tripartite result: • Professional roles or profiles to differentiate between students’ talent, interest and ambition during their study, and prepare for different working contexts, apart from the disciplinary field. • Hubs in which societal problems are reframed into engineering cases for authentic multi- and interdisciplinary learning, addressing such problems in interdisciplinary settings, including different approaches to problem definition and problem solving that may depend on the engineering discipline. With conceptual operationalisation in “foundry hubs” in the Bachelor’s for student orientation and “hubs with specific pockets of knowledge” in the Master’s. • Language: a set of universal engineering languages that need to be mastered by all students, irrespective of their engineering discipline, to meet the needs of the future global and multidisciplinary working context: Mastery of collaborative and interdisciplinary teamwork, digital literacy (data analytics, programming), design skills, mathematics, academic communication, and engineering ethics.

In 2016 a number scenario’s will be exploited or piloted to validate, test and evaluate the new ideas. Simultaneously a policy-working group will draft an educational vision and policy document, describing how the Think Tank outcomes can be transformed into an educational vision for the university and how they can be implemented along policy lines. Furthermore the Think Tank outcomes will be presented and discussed in various academic bodies at TU Delft as well as industrial advisory panels for at least the domains of aerospace, mechanical and civil engineering.

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

Authors (New): 
Aldert Kamp
Renate Klaassen
Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Engineering education
engineering language
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO Standard 7
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