This talk explores how can we incorporate innovative curriculum, extra-curricular and professional activities into our engineering programs that will cultivate inclusive engineering identities and demonstrate how the engineering profession benefits from diversity. This includes expanding on public and engineering student perceptions about who can be an engineer and what engineers do. This effort aims to create a cultural shift in engineering departments so students think beyond stereotypical perceptions of who belongs to the engineering profession toward more expansive notions about how the engineering profession needs diversity to thrive. We believe, inclusive engineering departments will contribute to the retention and success of students who are underrepresented in engineering in terms of gender but also in terms of backgrounds, talents, and interests.
Prof. Debbie Chachra: Innovation doesn’t exist for its own sake; the value of innovation is that addresses needs that are previously unrecognized or unmet, sometimes with emergent technology. The way we teach engineering has deep historical roots, and is shaped by culture, experience and technology (some of which we no longer even immediately recognize as technology): from the founding of the first universities a thousand years ago, to the Cold War, to how Tetris and Minecraft embody different kinds of learning behaviour. But there are also clear unmet needs, including inclusivity, motivation, and preparing our students for a professional life that’s very different from previous generations. In this wide-ranging talk, I’ll discuss how we think about learning engineering, rooting it in concepts drawn from educational psychology (including motivation and self-efficacy), and from research in new approaches to engineering education (such as the role of hands-on and project-based learning), with the goal of using this deeper understanding to both create innovative learning experiences for our students and to better equip them to foster innovation themselves.
Our wonderful instructional technology team generously donated their time and equipment to record some of the key CEEA2017 events, and they’re now available for viewing online. Catch the introductions, our two keynotes, the Engineer of 2050 workshop, and the CEEA awards at the playlist below!
In 2015, legislation was enacted to require mandatory ‘Working at Heights’ training for all construction workers in Ontario. While the legislation has been successful in reducing lost time injuries due to falls, it inadvertently raised barriers for engineering instructors wishing to give their students a field-related learning experience. Although construction management students completed WHMIS, safety awareness, and fall awareness training, the liability related to the risk of injury was sufficient to motivate construction companies to deny student requests to visit their sites.
To adapt to the situation, a novel program of described audio tours was developed, thereby allowing students to visit and learn about different construction sites without jeopardizing their safety or the risk tolerance of hosting contractors. The resulting program improved the learning experience in that students visited 20 to 25 sites during the term instead of one. Listen to one of them in this post.