At Charles Sturt University (CSU), they teach engineering a little – or a lot – differently.
Established in 2015, the university's “out of the box” engineering degree does away with lectures and exams, in favour of project-based challenges, where student engineers tackle authentic engineering problems supported by content that they access at their own pace.
Foundation Professor of Engineering Euan Lindsay said the program allows opportunities for students to explore and apply engineering learning through authentic problems through four year-long paid placements in the workforce.
“This is a program that trains student engineers not engineering students. The difference is when our students go out into work placement after only 18 months on campus, we are told they are acting like the graduates from other more traditional engineering degrees,” he says.
“The way we treat the student engineers as professionals in training is a cultural shift for university education.”
It seems that the global engineering community agrees – the program has been identified as one of the four top emerging engineering courses in the world, in an MIT-commissioned report
titled The Global State of the Art in Engineering Education.
The report lauded the degree as a “new chapter in engineering education”, and said it was “‘completely rethinking what engineering educating should look like”.
The program is also the only Australian engineering degree hosted in a business faculty – which is no accident. According to the university, this gives students high level skills in entrepreneurial attitudes, management, systems thinking and self-motivation that enable them to adapt to real world needs and demands of the profession.
The first Bachelor of Technology/Master of Engineering (Civil Systems) graduates from CSU will complete the degree in 2021.