I have seen it; the future of engineering education and training. I have seen how it will equip engineering professionals globally and enable them to continue contributing to the turning of our world.
Acquiring professional development in engineering is changing; this process can be tracked by looking at the adaptations and growth of the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT).
Over 25 years ago EIT was providing short classroom courses and onsite workshops. With the emergence of the internet the college began to keep an eager eye on the opportunities this would present to the world of engineering education.
Half a million students have since flown through our programs.
About ten years ago a live, online learning platform was devised for a range of accredited vocational qualifications. This enabling technology was one thing, but was never going to supersede a great teacher: the expertise of engineering professionals from around the world, with real industry experience, was the key. Their years in the trenches have been used for content development and for teaching. They also contribute to the creation of remote laboratories and simulation software.
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) has meant that our students can ably complete their practical learning via these remote labs; the reality is that most engineering tools are linked to the internet. I oversee the setting up of our virtual labs; they are connected to real engineering machinery that our students log into from across the globe.
Three years ago the college’s scope broadened with the accreditation of a range of Bachelor and Master Degrees, also delivered online. The reach of this learning platform has meant that EIT’s alumni hail from 146 countries.
One of the overarching benefits of connecting with students remotely, of removing a campus from the mix, is that they can attain their professional development and accumulated qualifications alongside full-time work.
I recently attended a schools’ career expo in South Africa and witnessed the hunger and passion of young students wanting to pursue engineering as a career. Despite the connectivity of young people we realised that school leavers do indeed benefit from face-to-face education, from engaging with their peers and lecturers on campus.
The institution’s latest achievement is the opening of a higher education campus in Perth, Western Australian. The traditional classroom has been blended with the ever-improving technologies surrounding online learning. This ensures that our international, engineering experts are still streaming into the classroom for the on-campus students.
It is an incredible privilege to be the Deputy Dean of Engineering at the college and I am certain that EIT will continue to explore innovative and meaningful education for engineers today and into the future.