Introduction: Chapter 8

The way forward

What you might take away from this chapter:

  • Engineering education is unlikely to be static;
  • We cannot predict what we might need to teach, but we can ask ourselves what generic attributes we want to inculcate;
  • We could perhaps start by looking at how, why and what we assess.

Start reading the Chapter …

2 All Responses to “Introduction: Chapter 8”

  1. Iain MacLeod

    On page 101 you write that ‘Indeed the strongest argument could be made for concentrating on physical fundamentals to the complete exclusion of applications’. Was this written ‘tongue in cheek’ since it is not consistent with what you write in the rest of the book? I think that (a) one understands principles better by working with them on applications and (b) that learning to think like an engineer is just as important as knowledge and can only be developed via applications. If you look at the attributes in Figure 1 on the IESIS model of competence ( they make up a set that represents good thinking for problem solving in general. If we cannot know what the problems of the future will be or what technologies will need to be learned, as you point out on page 101, then learning generic modes of thinking must be an important activity. A state to be sought is that students demonstrate ‘transfer’ of principles to other contexts without being prompted to so do. That would represent learning for future contexts.

  2. Peter Goodhew

    My p101 comment was not tongue-in-cheek but was certainly unrealistic. On reflection I should not have written “strongest”, but in my defence I did qualify the statement by asserting that such an approach would not be sufficiently motivating. In reality I think it is quite difficult to strike the right balance between long-term and fundamental usefulness (essentially physics) and short-term perception of relevance (what social scientists might call grounding in the real world). I entirely agree about the importance of learning generic ways of thinking. I like much of what you have put on the IESIS site, which I should refer to more directly.


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