June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.634.1 - 12.634.11
Engineering Field Experience-An International and Cultural Perspective for Civil Engineering Students
Field experiences have been included as class activities in many engineering curricula. Students gain an understanding and appreciation from “real world” applications of topics and theories learned in the classroom. In the past, most of these field experiences have been limited to specific courses and conducted for just a few hours within easy travel distance from a university. The Department of Civil Engineering at North Dakota State University developed a field experience course that takes students to China to gain first hand knowledge on civil engineering design and construction practice, to learn the history of civil engineering and cultural influences on engineering practice, and to have an education/cultural exchange with Chinese students. In collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BICEA), twelve senior level students and two faculty members visited China in spring 2005. The class visited Beijing, the Three Gorges area of Yangtze River, and Shanghai to observe and inspect specific sites and projects, including the Three Gorges Dam and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games main stadium construction sites, as they relate to the civil engineering and construction education. In Beijing, the class stayed on the campus of BICEA. In addition to campus visit, a mini-conference was organized for American and Chinese students to present their curricula and extra-curricula activities, their campus life, and to have small group discussion. In addition, students were exposed to the cultural and historical implications of engineering education, project planning and design, as well as construction decisions and methods. A course evaluation of the course showed that students have gained better understanding of global perspectives of civil engineering and culture influence on engineering designs, learned what they could never learn in regular classes through site visits and meeting with Chinese students, and enjoyed opportunity for providing input to the design of course components. The course appears to be a resounding success and could offer great benefit to the student’s engineering education and future professional career.
Graduating engineering students are increasingly being exposed to employment opportunities that require them to work on international projects or spend extended time periods working in other countries. Industrial advisors often stress the importance of international experience, awareness of global issues, and cultural diversity awareness as desirable traits of new-hire engineers. ABET 2000 also lists having “the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context” as an engineering program criterion1. In order to prepare students for competing in the global job market, engineering curricula need to address global perspectives and the cultural, economic, and societal impacts on engineering designs2, 3, 4. To understand and appreciate different engineering practices, students also should compare their engineering education with the education systems in other countries. Numbers of study abroad and international exchange programs have been developed and carried out at different universities5, 6, 7, 8.
Lin, W., & Peloubet, F., & Wang, H., & Zhang, Y. (2007, June), Engineering Field Experience ? An International And Cultural Perspective For Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2765
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