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Ten years in the making : a unique program in engineering
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by David JorgensenDavid Jorgensen, Robin HowardRobin Howard
The James Goldston Faculty of Engineering and Physical Systems at Central Queensland University, Queensland, Australia is offering an innovative and, it is believed, unique Bachelor of Engineering program. This program integrates Co-operative Education, Project Based Learning and Professional Practice development. In doing so it has redefined the way in which engineering can, and it is believed, should be delivered. In 1993 the faculty commenced reinventing its professional engineering degree programs with the implementation of co-operative education, with operation to commence in 1994. A proposal was approved to restructure the program curricula to include two six month co-operative education work placement periods, with the first placement to be offered in the third year of the program in 1996. The program was defined as the Bachelor of Engineering (Co-operative Education). The on-campus elements of the pre-existing traditional Bachelor of Engineering program were largely unchanged. In the second placement, in the latter half of fourth year, students were provided with an opportunity to undertake their second six month work placement in a limited number of overseas placements. In 1997 the on-campus elements of the program were reviewed, with a new program incorporating significant changes subsequently introduced in 1998. Changes had been foreshadowed in 1993 when co-operative education was introduced. The changes affected both curriculum and pedagogy. Curriculum changes for the 1998 introduction were characterised by the introduction of Project Based Learning (PBL) and the incorporation of an ‘inverted curriculum’. PBL was incorporated in all years of the program with generic skills forming a significant explicit component in the early years, tapering off toward the end of the program, whilst the converse is the case for technical discipline knowledge and skills. In the latest development in early 2004, the professional practice learning in the Bachelor of Engineering (Co-operative Education) program was explicitly and formally recognised. This was accomplished by a change to an integrated dual award program, the Bachelor of Engineering (Co-operative Education)/Diploma of Professional Practice (Engineering) which was introduced in June 2004. This paper is the first of two companion papers that present the history, issues, development and implementation of this unique engineering program.