How to Spark a Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration and Improve Engineering Students' Communication Skills

Cross-disciplinary teaching collaborations between an engineering lecturer and a language and literacies expert are rare.  However, research has demostrated that such partnerships can be fruitful and of great benefit to students as they develop the academic literacies needed the engineering studies.  In this workshops, attendees will act as the catalyst for new collaborative projects of this nature, and I will guide them through the initial brainstorming and planning phase.

Possible World: Transformation Through Gamification

Possible World sessions provide opportunities to simulate what we do, how we do and why we do things in the real world. The sessions is designed to stimulate all senses in our bodies, not just our brain through your own experience. It is about your discovery for which you have the ownership. Therefore, this can be used to cultivate wisdom connecting knowledge and your own experience.

Dipping Your Toe into Practice Theories: Journeys into Engineering Education Research

This workshop aims to demystify theories of practice (Communities of Practice, Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice and Theory of Practice Architectures), and help participants gain new perspectives into their own journeys into engineering education research (EER).

Tools and Strategies for Disseminating Knowledge via the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Many disciplinary engineering PhD programs (e.g., non-Engineering Education programs) do not adequately prepare graduates for teaching and/or disseminating best teaching practices via the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). As we look to broaden participation in the STEM fields in general, and engineering specifically, the limited scholarly training of disciplinary engineering educators causes a potential challenge for implementing effective pedagogical approaches critical for improving representation among minoritized and underrepresented populations. The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with different tools and strategies to implement innovative curriculum in the engineering classroom and share lessons learned via SoTL.

Improving the Employability Skills of International Students

This workshop aims to identify current challenges in international students’ employability skills from an industry perspective and provide a platform for engineering educators to brainstorm and propose ways to tackle these challenges. The focus of this workshop will be different to recently published EA report on Barriers to employment for migrant engineers in Australia [1], which mainly focuses on migrant engineers. Instead, this workshop focuses on identifying feasible actions to improve employability skills of international students enrolled in either an undergraduate or postgraduate Engineering program. Key challenges will be first identified by interviews conducted with representative industries who hire engineering graduates with an international background. Participants of this workshop will be expected to reflect on these interview recordings and contribute to discussions around improving the employability skills of international engineering students.

In-Person, Online & Hybrid Education: Successes & Challenges

The workshop aims to explore the different modes of teaching and learning in higher education and recognise their successes and challenges. Participants will engage in interactive exercises and discussions to deepen their understanding of facilitating relational learning and technology-enhanced learning. By the end of the workshop, participants will have gained valuable insights into the various delivery modes and equipped themselves with tools and strategies to enhance their teaching practices.

Rubrics: Know How to Use Them and How to Write Them

The workshop will examine assessment rubrics for written assessment items in engineering. It has been shown through practice that a well written rubric enhances student learning. As such, marking of these rubrics should be put under the same scrutiny. Large first year courses typically require multiple markers. Due to this, there can be differences in how rubrics are interpreted if they are not well defined. A recent activity within a course with multiple markers has revealed the variability in academics assessment of rubrics. This workshop will begin to work on the justifications given for the assigned marks and creation of rubrics for open-ended questions.

Bringing a Human Dimension to Engineering

Numerous organisations including ACED (Australian Council of Engineering Deans) and EA (Engineers Australia) have called for engineers to better incorporate human and social dimensions into their practice. This is to support the mission of engineering to serve society, build greater community resilience and sustainability, and promote the profession in multiple ways to increase interest from diverse student groups. However, ACED’s recent survey found 80% of academics lacked confidence to combine human and social issues with technical knowledge in teaching (ACED 2021). Humanitarian Engineering (HumEng) is a recent example where human and social dimensions have been woven together across engineering disciplines and competencies.

This workshop will explore current and leading practice for incorporating a human and social dimension into engineering education. It will explore potential reasons for a lack of confidence with teaching in this area, highlight potential approaches, and explore lessons learnt, both positive and negative, from the introduction and growth of Humanitarian Engineering in Australasia.

What do we Learn by Breaking the Course Experience Survey?

It is standard practice for universities to collect feedback from students on their experiences participating in a course (a.k.a. unit of study, subject or paper). Whilst the format varies, Likert scale responses to a set of standard questions followed by open text feedback delivered as a survey is common; for the purposes of this workshop this will be called the course experience survey.

Beyond providing feedback to academic coordinators, the qualitative component of the course experience survey can be used as a measure of learning and teaching ‘performance’ and may be used as part of academic promotion or learning and teaching award applications. A naysayer would position that the course experience survey is terrible way to measure educator performance, with horror stories of academics changing their teaching practice to maximise scores at the expense of student learning and academic integrity.

So, what happens if we try to break the course experience survey by designing a course specifically to maximise scores without considering educational outcomes. What do we learn from this process and how might it affect the way we consider our own teaching practice? Join this workshop to find out.

ChatGPT vs Engineering Education: A Pathway to Becoming an Everyday Tool

ChatGPT and other AI technologies have generated much commotion and confusion within academic circles. Many academics still need to understand the risk such technologies pose on current assessment practices and how students can use them for improved grades/outcomes. Unfortunately, most studies are very generic, don’t go into much detail, and are outside of the engineering education context.

The workshop’s facilitators have completed one of the most comprehensive studies to date regarding ChatGPT’s impact on engineering education assessment (Nikolic et al., 2023). While strengths, weaknesses and opportunities were outlined, it is only the starting point for much-needed conversations. This workshop aims to introduce ChatGPT. It will guide and engage the community through interactive activities to help them consider the changes they must contemplate over the next 12-24 months.

Shaping the Future of Engineering Education Through Socially Contextualised and Industry-Connected Learning

The Engineering Futures Initiative has been established by the Australian Council of Engineering Deans to provide a practical and helpful focal point for driving changes to engineering education recommended by the Engineer 2035 review. The initiative is focusing its first activities on supporting expansion of industry-connected Project Based Learning, with emphasis on learning experiences that help students develop deeper understanding of the human and social contexts of engineering. In this workshop we will explore the varied interpretations of ‘human/social context’ in engineering and how these can be supported through industry-connected projects.

The Role of Personal Characteristics and Environmental Elements in Sustaining and Shaping Empathic Experiences

In recent years, more and more researchers and educators have noted the important role of empathy in engineering practice. Considering the importance of empathy for engineers, there is an ongoing discussion around various educational activities and contexts where engineering students can experience or improve their empathy. However, to integrate empathic experiences into the engineering curriculum, it is essential to understand the role of contextual elements in impacting empathy and explore how personal characteristics shape empathy. One of the contexts where engineering students have a chance to experience empathy is entrepreneurship. This workshop will present the model of empathy formed during the phenomenological study of the phenomenon of engineering students’ empathy participating in entrepreneurial programs. This workshop aims to demonstrate to participants the complexity of this phenomenon and generate and share practical recommendations that can be used to incorporate empathy into entrepreneurial engineering subjects or programs, considering the role of personal characteristics and environmental elements in sustaining and shaping empathic experiences.

From Novelty to Norm: Incorporating and Embedding Co-Design Curriculum with Industry into “Business as Usual”

This workshop will focus on co-designing curriculum with industry as partners. Participants will have an opportunity to trial and critique a range of tools, frameworks and approaches for co-designing curriculum with industry partners. It is also an opportunity for workshop participants to share ideas on co-designing a curriculum to meet industry needs.

Evidencing Teaching-Focussed Excellence and Impact: Aligning Job Applications and Promotion to the 2035 Vision

The Engineering 2035 Project outlines changes required of Australian engineering education to ensure engineering graduates are prepared for the future (Crosthwaite, 2021). The report highlighted the need for engineering educators to have the right skills to drive student outcomes, as well as the need for institutions to effectively recognise teaching contributions (as compared to research). Through interviews with academics across Australia, Dart et. al (2023) recently published a list of skills required to be an effective engineering educator. This workshop will explore these skills, invite participants to reflect on relative strengths and weaknesses, as well as how skills can be evidenced and developed.

Trees of Convergency

The workshop will focus on enhancing the convergent thinking associated with engineering education. Convergent thinking is a process that allows us as professionals to engage with a different mode of thinking at an instant. The 2035 ACED report asks us as educators to creative curriculum that will engage the new generation of engineering. Creativity is a big part of this new generation of students. To link this process of convergent thinking and creativity, Bob Ross styles of painting is used to explain advanced topics across disciplines.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering Education: Growing the AAEE Special Interest Group

The AAEE Special Interest Group (SIG) on Diversity and Inclusion aims to bring together members of the AAEE community interested in inclusive practices in engineering education. Historically our focus was on gender diversity, and specifically on women in engineering. A recent AAEE funded grant has explicitly broadened our inclusion focus beyond gender and women (Brown, Cheng & Whelan, 2021) to recognise that there are people from other marginalised identities absent from our profession. Intersectionality impacts also mean that any efforts to address diversity and inclusion must move away from a focus on deficits or absence and into the creation of inclusive cultures that foster belonging. The purpose of this workshop is to develop a shared leadership approach to the SIG, by inviting anyone wanting to act towards diversity and inclusion to step forward and take on responsibility for leading actions to achieve the objectives of the SIG. As Kezar & Holcombe (2017) note “shared forms of leadership dispense with the idea of a leader/follower binary, maximizing the contributions many more individuals can make to solving difficult problems”.

Publishing in the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education

In this workshop, members of the Editorial Team of AJEE will outline the Journal’s Aims and Scope, and submission and review processes, and facilitate discussions on publishing.

National Competency Standard

This workshop will provide an update and build upon the 2021 AAEE workshop “Reviewing the Engineers Australia Competencies.

A new National Competency Standard (NCS) is being developed by Engineers Australia – incorporating into a single standard the entry-to-practice (stage 1) competencies and independent (stage 2) competencies for the three occupational categories of Professional Engineer, Engineering Technologist and Engineering Associate.

It is anticipated EA will have a (near final) draft version of the NCS available for this workshop to share with participants, affording an opportunity to contribute to the final version and the outcomes of future education programs.

Seeing, Being and Tending to the Landscape: A Dialogue on Indigenous Knowledges and Perspectives Woven in Australian Engineering Education

Workshop participants will engage with the preliminary findings of the Landscape Study into the weaving of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into engineering education and contribute to discussions about future directions. Supported through an AAEE grant, the Landscape Study is mapping curricular and co-curricular educational initiatives and is listening to stories from engineering educators of their experiences working to weave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into engineering education. The study is checking in with a call to action made in 2017 by the Australian Council of Engineering Deans (ACED) to ‘embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the engineering curriculum’ and ‘develop academic staff and support capacity’ (ACED, 2017). This position statement proposed paths forward, drawing on the 2016 Office of Learning and Teaching funded project by Goldfinch et al (2016).

Lego Challenge: Build Something Invisible

The aim of this workshop is to build on the CRA (Concrete, Representational, Abstract) instruction principles used by schoolteachers and consider ways we can use the ubiquitous Lego brick to demonstrate abstract or invisible concepts. The resulting ideas may be adapted to primary school or high school students as STEM outreach activities (educational interventions), creating lines of sight to careers that may not have been previously considered. Consideration will also be given to how these can be used in a tertiary context to introduce a concrete element to support understanding of abstract concepts.

Crossing the T: Enabling the Engineer of 2035

The focus of this face-to-face workshop is to confirm or develop a shared understanding of 21st Engineering skills and topics by the participants, unpack how theses could be scaffolded through the program and propose possible opportunities for how students can demonstrate attainment of those skills and attitudes. This is a co-creation workshop where the participants will jointly scope engineering futures skills. The workshop will provide consensus-building and benchmarking opportunities and offer a process to unpack those skills.

Decolonising the Curriculum: What Does it Mean for Engineering Education?

In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to explore the concept of “decolonising the curriculum”, how it relates to engineering education, and the actions required to transform the engineering curriculum.

Benchmarking: A Means to Facilitate Strategic Improvements to an Engineering Program

In the Engineers Australia Accreditation Management System, benchmarking is defined as the means to facilitate strategic improvements to an engineering program and comply with Higher Education Standards (Engineers Australia, 2017). Benchmarking is included as suggested evidence of attainment of an appropriate approach to program and curriculum design (Academic Program criteria 2 – AP2). Criteria AP2 is just one of the 15 criteria against which engineering education programs are assessed for the purposes of accreditation. Benchmarking itself is also explicitly specified (QS5) in the set of five Quality Systems criteria of the Accreditation Management System (Engineers Australia, 2019).

How Does Curriculum Mapping Help with Changing Expectations?

When students graduate from a fully accredited engineering program, they are deemed to have met an ‘entry-to supervised’ competence. The level of competence to be attained is expressed through the generic Stage 1 Competency Standards that are upheld by Engineers Australia (2013). These Standards are a generic statement that outlines the professional competencies expected of a graduate when first entering professional practice. Engineers Australia define the graduate capabilities as the learning outcomes that are demonstrated by graduates, and which incorporate these Stage 1 Competency Standards.