Proceeding of the 40th SEFI annual conference 2013: Engineering Education Fast Forward pages:1-8
SEFI Annual Conference edition:40 location:Leuven, Belgium date:16-20 September 2013
Technology can play an important role to meet challenges in society. A Unesco report affirms the role of engineering as driver of innovation, social and economic development, but emphasises the need to transform engineering education to give more attention to a problem-solving approach.
The Community Service Engineer (CSE) project starts from experience with the CERA Award. The CERA award is an existing concept that bridges between technological challenges in the social profit sector and master thesis work of engineering students. Two notable results are observed:(1) The social profit sector has benefitted from the skills of engineers, (2) Engineers have been more successful when t11ey better understood the needs of people and organisations their engineering projects serve. The CSE project is developing a European multi-campus joined curriculum that will offer engineers: a sound background in the social profit sector; insights in human-centred design, focusing on end users; thorough insights in assistive technology; practical experience in real settings; more social and intercultural skills to interact with the social profit sector; and a collaborative place to learn in an international environment.
The project team is currently putting together the curriculum, based on a broad consultation of stakeholders. The first try out starts in October 2013. For the practical experience CSE builds on the CERA Award experience. Engineering students select a probl1am, listen to the needs and translate the problem into technological questions and solutions. Associated partners (enterprises, chambers of commerce) are involved as link to the market. Via these channels students look for existing technology and translate it for use within the social profit sector. At the final stage, compendia of project results are communicated through the communication channels of the associated partners to screen market potential. Throughout the CSE course, students will be confronted with students from other disciplines, countries and age (secondary level) to present project results and interact. CSE will start as postgraduate course and work towards translation into undergraduate engineering curricula and a networked learning environment. Design objects include: instruction, fostering reflection and critical thinking, creating access to resources, networks and ecologies. The online learning platform will serve as a linking pin for information and expertise within the field.