June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1053.1 - 10.1053.15
Re-Engineering Technician Education For The New Millennium
Nicholas M. Massa, Gary J. Masciadrelli, Gary J. Mullett Engineering Technologies Division Springfield Technical Community College Springfield, Massachusetts
Abstract The U.S. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Criteria 20001 (EC-2000) requires that graduates of two-and four-year engineering technology (ET) programs demonstrate proficiency in mathematics, science, and engineering, be able to work in multidisciplinary teams, communicate effectively, be sensitive to the social and ethical issues related to the engineering profession, and develop the capacity for lifelong learning. While many four-year colleges and universities have embraced EC-2000 and have restructured their curricula and instructional methodology accordingly, the limited time available in two-year engineering technology curricula presents a unique challenge to associate degree-granting institutions – preparing learners with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to succeed in 21st century workplace. What is needed is a more efficient and effective approach to engineering technician education, one that focuses on the development of learner proficiency, the ability to skillfully apply knowledge in solving real-world problems. To this end, we draw upon the adult and experiential learning literature to create a pedagogical framework for restructuring engineering technician education. Using an interdisciplinary systems engineering approach grounded in active learning, real-world problem solving, and metacognitive development, we present key strategies for developing and enhancing learner proficiency in engineering technician education.
Introduction Engineering technicians play a critical role in the high tech industries that drives this nation’s economy. Working side-by-side with engineers and scientists, engineering technicians are the “hands-on” people, responsible for building, testing and troubleshooting simple devices and components to complex integrated systems. Engineering technicians design experiments, build prototypes, analyze and interpret data, and present experimental results to peers, supervisors and customers. They are required to work individually as well as in interdisciplinary teams, interface with vendors, and contribute to process efficiency in manufacturing and production environments. Given the breadth of knowledge and skills required of the engineering technician, it is ironic that most two-year engineering technician programs are still structured using a discipline-specific educational model (e.g., electrical, mechanical, manufacturing, etc), taught using an instructor-led methodology that hasn’t changed in decades.
Critics of engineering technician education2, 3 argue that educational programs focus too much on the transmittal of information through static lecture-discussion formats and routine laboratory experiences. This approach to education often results in graduates who do not have a full range of important employability skills and competencies needed in business and industry, such as the ability to apply knowledge skillfully to problems of practice, communicate effectively, work as
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Masciadrelli, G., & Massa, N., & Mullett, G. (2005, June), Re Engineering Technician Education For The New Millennium Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14635
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