Transforming technical conscience into applied realities (2)

Engineering education is undergoing a major transformation. Academic curricula is becoming multi-disciplinary learning and thinking. It includes life experiences. The emergence of augmented reality devices will transform campuses. Institutions, therefore, will need to respond to the ‘mobility shift’, which will allow educators and students to be engaged from anywhere. Exams that emphasize mastery of taught knowledge will no longer be the primary tool for judging a student's performance. One of the challenges of education is - How do we plan for something we can’t predict? To do this teaching methods have to change substantially; ‘active learning approaches’ such as group work, design projects, case studies, and application exercises will need to be adopted more and more. Out-of-class experiences (such as internships, participation in design competitions, active participation in student chapters of professional societies) need more significance and encouragement from the concerned quarters. One of our problems is that many engineers are taking jobs outside the ambit of engineering; only a few want to work on the shop floor. In this connection, it is good to remember that engineering graduates must also take on jobs outside of engineering where we desperately need people who can think clearly and logically and who understand technology. We must also recognize the lack of availability of challenging jobs in the core engineering sector. Having said that, we also need to think about which courses are really necessary and which ones can be reduced in scope. This will be necessary if we want to introduce new courses. We must also remind ourselves that engineering institutions are forgetting the practice of engineering. One of its consequences is that those coming out are ill-equipped to face the challenges of the industry. Engineering faculty must change their attitude. As Howard Gardner points out, “I don’t think you can do interdisciplinary work unless you’ve done disciplinary work.”