The impact of curriculum content in fostering inclusive engineering: data from a national evaluation of the use of EWB projects in first year engineering

Jolly, Lesley and Crosthwaite, Caroline and Brodie, Lyn and Kavanagh, Lydia and Buys, Laurie (2011) The impact of curriculum content in fostering inclusive engineering: data from a national evaluation of the use of EWB projects in first year engineering. In: 22nd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE 2011): Developing Engineers for Social Justice: Community Involvement, Ethics and Sustainability, 5-7 Dec 2011, Fremantle, Australia.

Text (Published Version)

Download (149Kb)


The year of Humanitarian Engineering draws our attention to the need to develop engineers who are not just technically competent but who can effectively address the needs of communities, maintain their ethical responsibilities, and take sustainability into consideration. This is what we understand by inclusive engineering. One approach to introducing such considerations into the curriculum has been the widespread use of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) projects in development settings as first year learning opportunities. We are evaluating different uses of these projects in 13 universities around Australia and New Zealand using a program logic data gathering methodology and a critical realist analytic approach to answer the research question 'what works for whom under what circumstances?' In this paper we will concentrate mainly on
one of these sites The University of Queensland. Data reveals that the EWB projects have great potential for
raising issues of community involvement, ethics and sustainability but that the content of projects alone
cannot guarantee that such objectives are addressed. Contextual factors, including: the focus of the course
(e.g. professional development versus design), the attitudes of staff, and the pedagogy used all contribute to
the successful pursuit of non-technical objectives. Projects with little obvious humanitarian or inclusive
content such as one for long-wall supports in mining were found to foster context-sensitive approaches. In addition to project content, educators who are seeking to develop humanitarian and inclusive engineers need to pay attention to consistently expressed goals and values amongst the teaching team and the alignment of assessment (in style and weighting) with clearly stated learning goals.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 20424
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 Jolly, L., Crosthwaite, C., Brodie, L., Kavanagh, L., Buys, L. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors. Paper 203.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 00:17
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 02:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: curriculum; Engineers Without Borders; EWB; program logic; higher education research
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220311 Philosophical Psychology (incl. Moral Psychology and Philosophy of Action)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only