This paper presents an investigation of how experience-led content in an engineering degree can be strengthened by creating opportunities for engineering students to benefit from the knowledge, skills and resources of students with current professional experience. Students who study civil engineering part-time at Coventry University (while also working in the industry) are being used as mentors for full-time students, and careful attention is being paid to the input they can make to group project work. This paper reviews the results of evaluations of these two initiatives. The clearest enhancement to learning provided by the part-time students in these settings is the access they provide for the full-time students to real examples and the provision of actual physical artefacts such as drawings, photos, example documents and templates. Full-time students also gain an awareness of the value of the professional skills. The study confirms the value of these initiatives and points to future improvements.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in the European Journal of Engineering Education, 37 (4), pp. 354-365. The European Journal of Engineering Education is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03043797.2012.693907
- experience-led engineering degrees
- part-time students
- group projects
- professional skills