In April 2009 the US National Academy of Engineering held a workshop to explore how engineering curricula could be enhanced to better prepare future engineers (see workshop report attached – need adobe reader to download). I was part of the Organizing and Editing Committees.
During the workshop participants addressed the rationale for the scope and sequence of current engineering curricula, considering both the positive aspects as well as those aspects that have outlived their usefulness. Other topics of discussion included the potential to enhance engineering curricula through creative uses of instructional technologies; the importance of inquiry-based activities as well as authentic learning experiences grounded in real world contexts; and the opportunities provided by looking more deeply at what personal and professional outcomes result from studying engineering.
General themes that appeared to underlie the workshop attendees’ discussions included desires to (a) restructure engineering curricula to focus on inductive teaching and learning, (b) apply integrated, just-in-time learning of relevant topics across STEM fields, and (c) make more extensive use and implementation of learning technologies. During breakout discussions, many additional suggestions were offered for means by which to facilitate curricular innovation.