Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Engineering curricula, even within the same discipline, can vary widely. International agreements like the Washington Accord and most national accreditation frameworks seek to ensure some equivalency between engineering programs, but there is considerable scope for differences in curriculum structure and content. These differences may have considerable influence on students’ experience through their degrees in terms of study patterns, academic success, transition from high school to the university, and progress through the degree. To understand the influence of curricular arrangements on student experiences, this article seeks to study and compare the undergraduate engineering curricula at four different engineering institutions in two Washington Accord countries – South Africa and the United States. Data were collected from the four participating engineering programs in the form of curricular documents and student interviews. Data were analyzed to understand how the curriculum relates to local and national contexts and responds to the social and economic situations in a country. Additionally, we were interested in exploring how the curricular requirements including contact hours and other course requirements influence students’ formation as engineers. Preliminary findings suggest that there exist differences not only across national boundaries but also institutional lines in the course structures, credit requirements, and contact hours. These differences determine how soon students start forming an affinity to their discipline and how much they can explore other academic and extra-curricular interests. We expect that the findings will highlight the potential impact of different curricular features on the students who experience them, and provide engineering educators and program coordinators with informed choices to design curricula to better address their needs.
Agrawal, A., & Carroll, J., & Case, J. M., & Pitterson, N. P. (2020, June), A Comparative Study of Curricular Differences and Their Influence on Students’ Formation as Engineers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33983
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