June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.384.1 - 3.384.4
Jump-Starting Lifelong Learning
Daina Briedis Michigan State University
I. Introduction Every year the regional sales representative for the publisher of a popular chemical engineering periodical requests an audience with our department’s junior class. The purpose of his visit is clear; he comes to sell his company’s magazine. Besides being a clever marketing strategy, this sales pitch also provides a great “teaching moment” for the course instructor--an ideal context in which to discuss with the class the need for lifelong learning.
Today’s rapidly developing technologies and competitive economy require the continuous training and education of engineers throughout their careers. Engineers need new skills and competencies that will help them understand and meet new work-related requirements1. As more engineers are employed in smaller companies and the work force in down-sized, individuals must take on a wider variety of duties. In addition, since the number of students studying engineering is decreasing2,3, the aging work force must be kept up-to-date in order to maintain high levels of productivity throughout their careers. In the U.S., the responsibility for this maintenance of technical competence and career growth has largely been the individual’s1. ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000) embrace these concerns and, therefore, include within the required program outcomes of Criterion 3 the instilling of lifelong learning skills in our engineering graduates4.
Questions are often raised about the means used to substantiate attainment or, at least, the development of these skill sets in our graduates. Frequently programs rely on alumni surveys to provide such evidence. However, a more important issue deals with proactive strategies that engineering programs may use to jump-start interest in and appreciation for lifelong learning in its students. This can be done as a part of traditional engineering courses on campus.
Students in the undergraduate fluid flow and heat transfer course in chemical engineering at Michigan State University (MSU) research and prepare short reports on practical, everyday applications of fluid flow or heat transfer principles. The learning objectives of this exercise are for the students to:
1) understand that learning takes place outside the confines of the textbook and the classroom; 2) become familiar with engineering tools and resources that are available for their use; 3) realize that engineering analysis learned in the classroom can be applied to understand the design and operation of a wide variety of everyday devices; 4) further develop cooperative learning skills; and 5) practice oral and written communication.
Briedis, D. (1998, June), Jump Starting Lifelong Learning Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/7253
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