An introductory course with a humanitarian engineering context

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University of Calgary
The Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Design Challenge is an excellent example of how universities from across the globe allow students to engage with humanitarian engineering. Massey University has been utilising the EWB Design Challenge as a framework to introduce engineering practice to first year students, and this has led to our teams winning multiple regional and international prizes. This article shares our experience of the design and teaching of this first year course and provides engineering educators with a successful example of how students learn about engineering practice in product, process, and system building, as well as their personal and interpersonal skills. We highlight how, by using a humanitarian engineering context, we embed CDIO thinking. Our case study illustrates how we project manage this process using Stage-Gate™; support students to conduct reflective practice by using logbooks; include practising engineers as consultants; and provide detailed assessment guidelines and rubric examples to guide students through the myriad challenges during engineering practice. This case study shows that the implementation of the EWB Design Challenge has been successful in providing a useful framework to introduce engineering practice. It is particularly effective in exposing students to a number of ethically driven social competencies required for the global engineer. It is hoped that by sharing our experience of operating this course that engineering faculty may take on-board some of our learning and assessment practices to improve the offering of an introductory design project at their institution
Humanitarian engineering, project-based learning, CDIO Standards 4 and 8
Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference, 2017, pp. 137 - 148 (12)