Special Issue "Towards Excellence in Engineering Education"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Eng. Khmaies Ouahada

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Interests: information theory; coding techniques; power-line communications; visible light communications; smart grid; energy demand management; renewable energy; wireless sensor networks; wireless communications; reverse engineering and engineering education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Engineers play different contextual roles in industry and academia, not only by teaching students but also being regarded as mentors, supervisors and trainers. Engineers educators are expected to provide their students with authentic learning experiences that are relevant to contemporary concerns and to place high value on developing responsible engineers who are insightful, can work independently, have good problem-solving skills, and can apply and adapt their knowledge to unexpected and new situations.

This Special Issue of Education Sciences focuses on important issues in engineering education. In this Special Issue, we invite educators and researchers from engineering universities to discuss and share their expriences “Towards Excellence in Engineering Education”. What makes engineering education different to other educational desiplines? What are the challenges facing engineering education and how should the educational system and curiculum be designed to cope with the fast development in technology? This Special Issue calls for papers to address topics as described in the following themes:

1.      Personal experiences in engineering education: Teaching philosophies

Lecturers may summarise their teaching experiences and educational journeys into a sum of ideas and reflections that form their teaching philosophies. This is much like a road map that represents an essential part of professional development. Such philosophies are subject to change over time as lecturers evaluate, reflect and act on their results, and develop different approaches to teaching. Contributors share their teaching experiences for the benefit of other academics.

2.      E-learning in engineering education

Many lecturers in the engineering field use technology to select, design, deliver, administer, facilitate and support learning. Examples are computer-based, web-based, and mobile learning. Contributors share their use of technology for the benefit of other academics.

3.      Decolonisation in engineering education

Decolonisation is the dismantling of colonial systems that were established where nations gained dominion over dependent territories. Many countries in the world, mainly developing countries, still operate under colonial education systems. In South Africa, for example, decolonisation and the dismantling of Western-centered institutions, systems, symbolism, and standards, are ongoing concerns in higher education institutions. Contributors from all over the world share their views and solutions on how to define and make proper use of this concept to improve our engineering educational systems.

4.      Women in engineering education: Gender equality

It is clear from international statistics that women are not as present as they could be in the engineering field. In general, women seem to prefer science courses rather than engineering. This makes the gender distribution in science education more balanced than in engineering. Contributors from all over the world share their views to determine why women do not choose engineering as a profession and what the solution would be to reach gender balance in this field.

5.      Curriculum in engineering education: What makes it different from other disciplines?

A curriculum in general refers to the means and materials via which students interact for the purpose of achieving identified educational outcomes. In engineering education, a curriculum offers rigorous analysis of theoretical principles as well as intensive hands-on experience. The engineering curriculum can be divided into three branches, namely engineering science, systems, and design and professional practice. Contributors present the differences between engineering curricula and curricula in other scientific educational disciplines, such as in the science curricula, to determine the characteristics specific to the engineering curriculum.

6.      Assessments in engineering education

In general, the term assessment in education refers to a wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document academic readiness, learning progress, skills acquisition, or the educational needs of students. Contributors discuss their experiences in assessing engineering students, and why continuous assessment is the preferred method in engineering universities.

7.      Modern teaching methods in engineering education

Teaching engineering students to learn ‘why’ is as important as to learn ‘what’. Several teaching methods can be applied by teachers to achieve this goal, for example, active classrooms, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning and many more that are suitable to the nature of engineering disciplines. Contributors share modern methods that, from their experience, make engineering education easier and more modern.

8.      Scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering education

Acquiring knowledge is a life-long process; we constantly need to keep abreast of developments and progress in science and other disciplines. Embracing a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) means practising constant self-reflection and evaluation of one’s academic career and the ways in which one designs strategies to examine, interpret, and share learning about teaching. This practice not only yields benefits to the lecturer, but also enriches the scholarly community in the discipline. In general, SoTL is regarded as a vibrant practice of ongoing self-criticism and sharing the resulting accumulated teaching experiences with teachers, students and the teaching community at large. Contributors share their experiences on how their teaching portfolios reflect their personal development as teachers and how their teaching experiences are embedded in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

9.      Engineering education for community engagement

EPICS (engineering projects in community service) is an educational programme that combines teaching and learning ideas with the community. Teams of students participate with local and global community organisations to address human, community, and environmental needs. Contributors share their community experiences, and how they use their engineering education to help communities.

In this Special Issue, we are particularly interested in authors identifying and reporting research on the critical issue of engineering education. For this Special Issue to be published in 2018, we invite manuscripts to be submitted for review on or before 15 March, 2018. Manuscripts will be subject to the process of blind peer review coordinated by the Special Issue Guest Editor. The Special Issue will be made into digital book if ten papers are published, and printed out on demand.

Prof. Dr. Khmaies Ouahada
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • teaching portfolio
  • curriculum
  • assessment
  • decolonization
  • gender equality
  • community engagement
  • engineering projects in community service
  • scholarship of teaching and learning
  • e-learning

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Critical Theoretical Frameworks in Engineering Education: An Anti-Deficit and Liberative Approach
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040158 (registering DOI)
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 16 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 22 September 2018
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Abstract
The field of engineering education has adapted different theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines to explore issues of education, diversity, and inclusion among others. The number of theoretical frameworks that explore these issues using a critical perspective has been increasing in
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The field of engineering education has adapted different theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines to explore issues of education, diversity, and inclusion among others. The number of theoretical frameworks that explore these issues using a critical perspective has been increasing in the past few years. In this review of the literature, we present an analysis that draws from Freire’s principles of critical andragogy and pedagogy. Using a set of inclusion criteria, we selected 33 research articles that used critical theoretical frameworks as part of our systematic review of the literature. We argue that critical theoretical frameworks are necessary to develop anti-deficit approaches to engineering education research. We show how engineering education research could frame questions and guide research designs using critical theoretical frameworks for the purpose of liberation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Open AccessArticle “There Is Never a Break”: The Hidden Curriculum of Professionalization for Engineering Faculty
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040157 (registering DOI)
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 22 September 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this exploratory special issue study was to understand the hidden curriculum (HC), or the unwritten, unofficial, or unintended lessons, around the professionalization of engineering faculty across institutions of higher education. Additionally, how engineering faculty connected the role of HC awareness,
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The purpose of this exploratory special issue study was to understand the hidden curriculum (HC), or the unwritten, unofficial, or unintended lessons, around the professionalization of engineering faculty across institutions of higher education. Additionally, how engineering faculty connected the role of HC awareness, emotions, self-efficacy, and self-advocacy concepts was studied. A mixed-method survey was disseminated to 55 engineering faculties across 54 institutions of higher education in the United States. Quantitative questions, which centered around the influences that gender, race, faculty rank, and institutional type played in participants’ responses was analyzed using a combination of decision tree analysis with chi-square and correlational analysis. Qualitative questions were analyzed by a combination of tone-, open-, and focused-coding. The findings pointed to the primary roles that gender and institutional type (e.g., Tier 1) played in issues of fulfilling the professional expectations of the field. Furthermore, it was found that HC awareness and emotions and HC awareness and self-efficacy had moderate positive correlations, whereas, compared to self-advocacy, it had weak, negative correlations. Together, the findings point to the complex understandings and intersectional lived realities of many engineering faculty and hopes that through its findings can create awareness of the challenges and obstacles present in these professional environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Open AccessArticle A Virtual Resource for Enhancing the Spatial Comprehension of Crystal Lattices
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040153 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Students commonly exhibit serious spatial comprehension difficulties when they come to learning crystal systems. To solve this problem, an active methodology based on the use of a Didactic Virtual Tool (DVT)—developed by the authors—is presented in this paper. The students’ opinion was obtained
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Students commonly exhibit serious spatial comprehension difficulties when they come to learning crystal systems. To solve this problem, an active methodology based on the use of a Didactic Virtual Tool (DVT)—developed by the authors—is presented in this paper. The students’ opinion was obtained from a survey carried out on 40 mechanical engineering students. The analysis of the obtained results reveals that, by using this DVT, students achieve a better understanding of the contents where spatial difficulties often arise during conventional teaching. Several DVT features were highly valued by the students, e.g., didactic use was rated 9.5 out of 10 and the methodology using the DVT in the classroom was rated 8.5 out of 10. In addition, the results revealed two factors that the students considered essential for using a DVT, both related to the tool design: (i) the modern aspect, i.e., it is necessary to keep a DVT updated to avoid obsolescence; and (ii) the DVT must be appealing in order to attract the students’ attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Open AccessArticle Processing Image to Geographical Information Systems (PI2GIS)—A Learning Tool for QGIS
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020083
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
Education, together with science and technology, is the main driver of the progress and transformations of a country. The use of new technologies of learning can be applied to the classroom. Computer learning supports meaningful and long-term learning. Therefore, in the era of
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Education, together with science and technology, is the main driver of the progress and transformations of a country. The use of new technologies of learning can be applied to the classroom. Computer learning supports meaningful and long-term learning. Therefore, in the era of digital society and environmental issues, a relevant role is provided by open source software and free data that promote universality of knowledge. Earth observation (EO) data and remote sensing technologies are increasingly used to address the sustainable development goals. An important step for a full exploitation of this technology is to guarantee open software supporting a more universal use. The development of image processing plugins, which are able to be incorporated in Geographical Information System (GIS) software, is one of the strategies used on that front. The necessity of an intuitive and simple application, which allows the students to learn remote sensing, leads us to develop a GIS open source tool, which is integrated in an open source GIS software (QGIS), in order to automatically process and classify remote sensing images from a set of satellite input data. The application was tested in Vila Nova de Gaia municipality (Porto, Portugal) and Aveiro district (Portugal) considering Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Open AccessArticle Solving Power Balance Problems in Single-Traction Tractors Using PTractor Plus 1.1, a Possible Learning Aid for Students of Agricultural Engineering
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020068
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (12777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tractors are used to perform jobs that require different types of agricultural tools to be attached to their rear, to their front, or both. These tools may need to be dragged, towed, or suspended above ground, and sometimes require a power supply; this
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Tractors are used to perform jobs that require different types of agricultural tools to be attached to their rear, to their front, or both. These tools may need to be dragged, towed, or suspended above ground, and sometimes require a power supply; this is usually obtained via a hydraulic system or from the tractor’s power take-off system. When tractors have to work with such tools on different types of soils and on different slopes, the need arises to calculate the power the tractor engine will have to produce. In the classroom, this is normally calculated manually with the help of a calculator. This work, however, describes a computer program (written in Delphi and operating under Windows) that rapidly solves the most common types of power balance problems associated with single-traction tractors. The value of this software as a learning aid for students of agricultural engineering is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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Open AccessArticle Incorporating Sustainability into Engineering and Chemical Education Using E-Learning
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020039
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning activities that could facilitate the integration of sustainability concepts and practices in engineering and chemical education. Using an online learning management system (LMS), undergraduate students in an applied chemistry program at a public university
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The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning activities that could facilitate the integration of sustainability concepts and practices in engineering and chemical education. Using an online learning management system (LMS), undergraduate students in an applied chemistry program at a public university in Zimbabwe participated in an online discussion on the role of chemical reaction engineering in achieving environmental sustainability goals. In the second activity, the students were instructed to prepare a design report for a cost-effective and innovative wastewater treatment plant for a rural hospital. The design report was evaluated through peer review online. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed on the two online activities to evaluate student engagement, quality of responses and the incorporation of sustainability into their learning. In the online discussion, 97 comments were made averaging 120 words per comment. Furthermore, the students averaged 3.88 comments, with the majority of comments exhibiting simple and complex argumentation, a deep reflection and widespread use of terms associated with sustainability such as recycling, pollution, waste and the environment. Furthermore, the evaluation of peer reviews revealed that participants demonstrated they could identify the strengths and shortcomings in the design reports. Therefore, this study demonstrated that e-learning, particularly peer review and online discussion, could help chemistry and engineering students appreciate the need for chemical and engineering activities that encourage sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Excellence in Engineering Education)
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