Developing a new engineering technologist career pathway from first-year engineering
Successfully completing an engineering degree often requires at least four or five years of intense study by students, and many of these students start their programs with a limited sense of what an engineer is or does. During their journey, some students gravitate towards a blend of practical application and theoretical knowledge of engineering principles; some, for diverse reasons, may be unable to invest the time required for an engineering degree. For these students, an engineering technologist career, which focuses on application and implementation, may be more appropriate. Leveraging the common first-year engineering curriculum recently launched in British Columbia, Vancouver Island University has developed and implemented a new, generalist, Integrated Engineering Technologist diploma (ITED) that combines civil, mechanical, and electrical principles, and provides a career pathway for those students who start engineering studies but choose not to continue with the degree. This paper will focus on the development of this new diploma, while a subsequent paper will evaluate its implementation. The three development phases of the IETD were: 1. Identifying key program graduate attributes, 2. Developing the program structure and delivery modes, and, 3. Creating the detailed course content. Within the first phase, an inventory of desired skills was obtained through broadly distributed surveys, direct engagement with industry, professional, and government groups, and evaluation of future needs within the technologist profession. This paper will outline the methods used to collect this data, and the process by which this data was developed into a thematic collection of higher order skills and attributes. Through this iterative consultation process, a technologist credential with a broad, non-specialized disciplinary focus was found to best meet the identified skills gap and need. The second phase consisted of a study of engineering, technologist, and technician programs to evaluate best practice. This paper discusses the cohort model that was ultimately chosen, and the highly modular approach used by the instructor team. Each four-week module consists of up to five courses run in parallel, where individual learning topics are treated collectively and strategically sequenced to best facilitate learning. A summative assessment evaluates learning at the end of each module. In the final phase, which is on-going, specific course content is being developed, including lab-based and field activities, classroom-based learning, and project work. Examples of this work and their motivation are provided.
DescriptionConference Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2022 Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA-ACÉG) Conference. Conference date: June 18-22, 2022. Location: Toronto, Ontario.
This paper was originally published as: Dick, B. (2022). Developing a new engineering technologist career pathway from first-year engineering. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA-ACÉG) Conference: Transforming Learners to Transform Our World. Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Engineering Education Association. https://dx.doi.org/10.24908/pceea.vi.15840
Identifier (Other)DOI: 10.24908/pceea.vi.15840
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
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