Taking Engineering Classes Beyond Course Books

EngineeringEngineering is one of the most fascinating and exciting course of studies if it is taught in the right manner. A common practice that has been observed in a number of engineering colleges and universities is that the teacher starts the lesson plan by describing resistors, transistors, and their role in an electric circuit. This is then followed by the difference between current and voltage, and a number of formulas to get current value, from other correlated variables of resistance, voltage and power. Though, all these things are very essential for any an engineering course, it often creates boredom in students who are looking for something adventurous and exciting. So, I believe that the first phase of teaching engineering should not deal with the basic concepts and principles of engineering, but with stimulating the passion and excitement of students with technology and its elaboration.

Iron Man, a Hollywood movie full of thrilling and breathtaking scenes and visual effects. One great thing about this movie is its use of advance technological terms and standards. The name of the chemical element “uranium” and “titanium” has been repeated in the movie a number of times, apart from other gadgets that are explicitly shown in the movie. The reason why I am discussing this movie here is that teachers teaching in the first years of engineering programs can take aid from this movie, to generate that interest and excitement level into the students. Writing the name of uranium on the white board and then listing its chemical properties cannot be so thrilling as watching a movie where uranium is used as a weapon to shield the planet. Other than the fiction part, many things can be brought into the classroom.

Another lacking that has been broadly encountered in many engineering schools is the lack of exposure. When a nurse is trained, she is asked to nurse patients in order to learn the practical nursing skills required to handle different kinds of patients. The same goes with the study of engineering as well. Students need to spend more time on the field than in their university classrooms. Less than 1% of all engineering graduates are able to make a valuable contribution to the field of engineering science, and this is primarily because their lack of ability to get compatible with the practical engineering scenario and limitations.

Technology has become very advanced and sophisticated today. A general mindset that is carried today is that when someone mentions that he or she is an engineer, the other person perceives someone who repairs engines (mechanical engineer), or assemble computer (electronic engineer), or install electrical cables in houses (electrical engineer). This is undoubtedly a very perception of the actual field of  engineering. The V6 rotary engine in Formula1 cars, the 1 TB memory stored in a tiny USB, and PCB bus connections with more than 10 conducting layers. This is the current picture of the engineering world. The teacher can ask the student to list down some of the engineering marvels of the 19th century and then compare it with that of the current century. The teacher can also give students the task to make a prototype of an engineering marvel, which they are personally fascinated with. With these interactive strategies, the teacher will be able to respond to the current challenges in the engineering field more sophisticated.