Fostering Professional Competencies in Engineering Undergraduates with [email protected]
2. Professional Competencies
- European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education
- (ENAEE) authorises the associated accreditation and quality assurance agencies in Europe to award to accredited engineering degree programmes the EURopean-ACcredited Engineer (EUR-ACE®) label, which is one of the European quality labels in higher education sponsored by the European Commission. The EUR-ACE® Standards and Guidelines for Accreditation of Engineering Programmes (EAFSG) are described in terms of student workload requirements, programme outcomes, and programme management . ENAEE screens bachelor and master engineering programmes with reference to knowledge and understanding; (ii) engineering analysis; (iii) engineering design; (iv) research; (v) engineering practice; (vi) judgement making; (vii) communication and team-working; and (viii) lifelong learning. In particular, EASFG claims that exposing undergraduates to
Moreover, ENAEE details that master graduates need to demonstrate the ability to analyse, conceptualise, and solve unfamiliar problems, including the design of innovative analyses and problem-solving methods.
- engineering practice enables the acquisition of “knowledge and understanding of the nontechnical—societal, health and safety, environmental, economic, and industrial—implications as well as critical awareness of economic, organisational, and managerial issues”;
- judgement making enables the “ability to gather and interpret relevant data and handle complexity within their field of study; to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social and ethical issues; to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems in their field of study; as well as to manage complex technical or professional activities or projects in their field of study, taking responsibility for decision making”;
- communication and team-working enables the ability “to communicate effectively information, ideas, problems, and solutions with the engineering community and society at large as well as to function effectively in a national and international context, as an individual and as a member of a team and to cooperate effectively with engineers and non-engineers”;
- lifelong learning enables the ability “to recognise the need for and to engage in independent life-long learning and to follow developments in science and technology” at the bachelor level and “to engage in independent life-long learning and to undertake further study autonomously” at the master level.
- Engineering Council
- (UKEC) sets in the United Kingdom the overall requirements for the Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes in engineering in line with the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence. In order for an engineering degree to be accredited in UK, six broad areas of learning are analysed: (i) science and mathematics; (ii) engineering analysis; (iii) design; (iv) economic, legal, social, ethical, and environmental context; (v) engineering practice; and (vi) general skills . According to the Engineering Council , Bachelor’s degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated the following:
In terms of professional competencies, engineering graduates in the UK are expected to exhibit the following professional competencies: (i) exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; (ii) decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and (iii) the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.
- systematic understanding, including the acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, and conceptual understanding to critically evaluate, make judgements, and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution—or identify a range of solutions—to a problem;
- awareness of the uncertainty, ambiguity, and limits of knowledge;
- ability to accurately apply methods and techniques of analysis and enquiry to review, consolidate, and extend their knowledge and understanding and to initiate and carry out projects;
- ability to communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and nonspecialist audiences.
- ability to manage their own learning and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources.
- Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology
- (ABET) in the United States defines a set of standards, called the Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000) , for engineering degrees. EC2000 shifted the basis for accreditation from inputs—what is taught—to outputs—what is learned—with the introduction of programme outcomes criteria . The aim of these criteria is to ensure that students attain an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility as well as the broad education necessary to understand the impact of technical solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context. Specifically, ABET specifies under Criterion 3 the so-called a–k list of student outcomes . Moreover, according to a survey distributed to USA employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) , the three most important skills of an engineer today are (i) the ability to communicate and work in teams; (ii) the ability to solve or troubleshoot problems in new or unfamiliar situations; and (iii) knowledge of a specific engineering discipline.
- Engineers Australia
- (EA) which performs in Australia the professional accreditation of engineering programmes, defines that engineering graduates must demonstrate at the point of entry to practice the following set of competencies :
The Engineers Australia summarises in Reference  its accreditation criteria, including the complete set of desired student educational outcomes.
- knowledge-oriented—comprehensive and conceptual understanding; knowledge development and research; awareness of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline; and understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities, and bounds of contemporary engineering practice;
- application-oriented—application of engineering methods, techniques, tools and resources and systematic engineering synthesis, design processes, and approaches to run and manage engineering projects;
- profession-oriented—ethical conduct and professional accountability, effective communication, creativeness, innovation and pro-activity, professional management and conduct, effective team membership, and team leadership.
3. Engineering Capstone Programmes
- Oladiran et al.  introduced the Global Engineering Teams programme, which adopts a multinational, intercultural, and geographically dispersed team-based approach. It tackled practical engineering problems, and each edition lasted for about six months between April and October. The groups in the programme were virtual teams consisting of students located in different countries and usually across multiple time zones, working in collaboration with industry partners. This programme, like EPS, implemented multinational, multidisciplinary teamwork and favoured real-world problems.
- Sheppard et al.  presented a two-semester pilot project at Stevens Institute of Technology to develop a systems engineering framework for multidisciplinary capstone design. It provided a series of workshops through the course of the capstone project to teach relevant systems engineering concepts in what approximates to a just-in-time mode. Interdisciplinary projects of significant scope were performed by teams of students from engineering and product architecture fields, working with external stakeholders and mentors. It was part of an initiative involving 14 institutions (including all the military academies), sponsored by the Department of Defense. The goal was to inculcate aspects of systems engineering into the education of students in all engineering disciplines through their major capstone project. The similarities with EPS included short intensive project supportive workshops, interdisciplinary projects, and multidisciplinary teams.
- Hackman et al.  described the new approach adopted by the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech to the capstone senior design course. The course structure creatively integrated internal and external resources for teaching, like [email protected], to promote business skills, soft skills, professionalism, and legal issues in an interdisciplinary, on-demand team-teaching format. Students formed teams and identified, scoped, and executed projects for real-world clients. The results showed that project quality and student nontechnical skills improved.
- Stanford et al.  reported on a capstone programme for civil engineering undergraduates employing a class-wide jigsaw approach and addressing community-based, sustainability-related problems. Results revealed that real-world projects with a focus on sustainability have a positive impact on students’ critical thinking skills, leading to an increased knowledge of sustainability, and that open-ended problems with real project constraints could yield a uniquely beneficial learning experience without sacrificing the quality of student design or project deliverables. The pervasive concern with sustainability and the selection of real open-ended problems are common to [email protected]
- Palacin-Silva et al.  described a team-oriented capstone for software engineering undergraduates directed to the development of software services for sustainability. The course followed a collaborative learning approach, where students worked together to engineer a software project with the lecturer as a facilitator. The projects’ challenge was to link Information and Communication Technologies to greening solutions, incorporating social, economic, and environmental concerns by involving computing, environmental sustainability, and citizen engagement. This approach shares with [email protected] the focus on sustainability-oriented design and sustainability problems.
5. European Project Semester at ISEP
- Team Building
- | Week 1—Selection of the proposal and establishment of the Team Agreement, which defines the team’s preferred conflict resolution method.
- Project Management
- | Week 2–15—Definition of the activities and tasks, task allocation, and Gantt chart of the project (Week 2), followed by a continuous iterative refinement and adjustment cycle.
- | Week 2–15—Wiki maintenance, uploading of the interim deliverables (Week 7), presentation of interim outcomes (Week 8), refinement of interim deliverables (Week 10), uploading of final deliverables (Week 14), presentation of final outcomes (Week 15), and refinement (Week 16).
- Sustainable Development
- | Week 1–7—Survey, application, and reporting of the relevant sustainable development practices and derivation of corresponding product requirements in the chapter “Eco-efficiency Measures for Sustainability”.
- Ethics and Deontology
- | Week 2–7—Study, selection, application, and reporting of applicable codes of ethics in order to derive product requirements in the chapter “Ethical and Deontological Concerns”.
- | Week 2–7—Research, definition, and reporting of the marketing plan of the proposed product and identification of resulting product requirements in the chapter “Marketing Plan”.
- Project Design
- | Week 2–7—Specification of the black box system diagrams and structural drafts (Week 3); analysis of the state of the art (reported in chapter “State of Art”); detailed specification of product requirements (Week 4), detailed system schematics, and structural drawings together with the card board scale model of the proposed solution (Week 5); and definition of the complete list of materials and components (Week 6).
- Prototype Implementation and Operation
- (Week 9–15)—Procurement of components and materials, assembly, development, tests, and debugging.
- Feedback and Assessment
- | Week 8 and Week 15—Interim Self and Peer (S&P) assessment (Week 7); discussion of the interim outcomes as a team (Week 8); feedback from peers (based on the S&P assessment) and staff, including improvement suggestions from staff; S&P assessment (Week 14); and discussion of the final outcomes as a team and individually (Week 15).
6. [email protected] Pet Tracker Case Study
Conflicts of Interest
|4C2S||CTPS, EC, CTB, CI, SI, and SPE|
|AMA||American Management Association|
|ABET||Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology|
|CI||Creativity and innovation|
|CTB||Collaboration and team building|
|CTPS||Critical thinking and problem solving|
|ECTU||European Credit Transfer System Unit|
|ENAEE||European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education|
|EPS||European Project Semester|
|ESUSD||Energy and Sustainable Development|
|ETHDO||Ethics and Deontology|
|GET||Global Engineering Teams|
|GPRS||Global Packet Radio Service|
|GNSS||Global Navigation Satellite System|
|GSM||Global System for Mobile Communications|
|ISEP||Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto|
|MACOM||Marketing and Communication|
|NAE||National Academy of Engineering|
|NSPE||National Society of Professional Engineers|
|PRMTW||Project Management and Team Work|
|SDG||Sustainable Development Goal|
|UKEC||United Kingdom Engineering Council|
|USA||United States of America|
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|Competency||Body||Desired Professional Skill|
|Critical Thinking and|
|ABET||ability to understand the impact of engineering solutions (critical thinking)|
ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
ability to recognise the need for and engage in life-long learning
|EA||ability to undertake problem solving, design, and project work|
ability to display critical reflection
capacity for lifelong learning and professional development
|UKEC||ability to critically evaluate, make judgements, and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution to a problem|
ability to manage their own learning
|ENAEE||ability to make judgements, identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems as well as to manage complex technical or professional activities|
ability to engage in independent life-long learning
|ABET||ability to communicate effectively and work in teams|
|EA||ability to display effective communication and pro-activity skills|
|UKEC||ability to communicate with both specialist and nonspecialist audiences|
|ENAEE||ability to communicate effectively with the engineering community and society|
|ABET||ability to function on multidisciplinary teams|
|EA||ability to assume effective team membership and team leadership|
|UKEC||ability to work as a member of an engineering team and awareness of team roles|
|ENAEE||ability to function in a national and international context, as an individual and as a member of a team, and to cooperate effectively with engineers and non-engineers|
|ABET||ability to apply knowledge creatively in order to solve a problem|
|EA||ability to display effective creativeness, innovation, and pro-activity|
|UKEC||ability to find creative solutions that are fit for purpose|
|ENAEE||ability to design innovative analysis and problem solving methods (master level)|
|ABET||ability to consider economic, environmental, and sustainability constraints|
|EA||ability to accommodate the economic and environmental responsibilities|
|UKEC||ability to identify environmental and sustainability limitations|
|ENAEE||ability to identify the environmental, economic, industrial, and managerial issues and to understand their implications|
|ABET||ability to work with professional and ethical responsibility|
|EA||ability to accommodate social, cultural, ethical, legal, and political responsibilities as well as follow health and safety imperatives|
|UKEC||ability to identify ethical, health, safety, security, risk, and intellectual property issues and to follow codes of practice and standards|
|ENAEE||ability to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social and ethical issues, taking responsibility for decision making|
|Project Management and Team Work||PRMTW||2|
|Marketing and Communication||MACOM||2|
|Energy and Sustainable Development||ESUSD||2|
|Ethics and Deontology||ETHDO||2|
|To train students in teamwork and to emphasise realistic and real-life situations||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|To demonstrate the ability to use modern design tools and techniques||✓||✓||✓|
|To demonstrate the ability to plan and run a team-based project||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|To show the ability to communicate clearly in writing (a proper project report) as well as by other means||✓||✓||✓||✓|
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Malheiro, B.; Guedes, P.; Silva, M.F.; Ferreira, P. Fostering Professional Competencies in Engineering Undergraduates with [email protected] Educ. Sci. 2019, 9, 119. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020119
Malheiro B, Guedes P, Silva MF, Ferreira P. Fostering Professional Competencies in Engineering Undergraduates with [email protected] Education Sciences. 2019; 9(2):119. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020119Chicago/Turabian Style
Malheiro, Benedita, Pedro Guedes, Manuel F. Silva, and Paulo Ferreira. 2019. "Fostering Professional Competencies in Engineering Undergraduates with [email protected]" Education Sciences 9, no. 2: 119. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020119