National Academy of Engineering, “Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education,” National Academy of Engineering, Nov. 2012.
Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education
This report showcases 29 engineering programs at US colleges and universities that effectively incorporate real world experiences in their curriculum, and highlights best practices for schools seeking to create such programs. Best practices include incorporating multidisciplinary team-based projects into curricula to help students develop skills in decision making, leadership, written and oral communication, organization/time management, cultural awareness, and problem solving. The report identifies impediments to infusing real world experiences in engineering programs and suggests ideas for overcoming them. The most frequent obstacles cited are lack of funding and financial support, faculty workload concerns, and challenges encountered with partners. Case studies in the report compare anticipated versus actual program outcomes to demonstrate how each institution is improving the level of preparedness of its engineering students. The Real World Engineering Education committee received 95 nominations from accredited four-year undergraduate schools with engineering or engineering technology programs. Submissions were judged based on program creativity, innovation, attention to diversity (including geographic, institution, racial/ethnic, and gender), sustainability plan, assessment of student learning, level of real world experience, and anticipated versus actual outcomes.