A regional university perspective on engineering education of multicultural freshman students from South Pacific countries

Krishnil R. Ram, Roneel V. Sharan, Mohammed Rafiuddin Ahmed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

Of late, there is a growing need for quality engineers who have the ability to solve complex engineering problems with reasonable knowledge of ethics and economics. This has led many universities to pursue accreditation by professional engineering bodies. While the accreditation process installs a standardized system of quality teaching, it is important that the engineering entrants have a degree of understanding that allows implementation of quality teaching methods. This study looks at the performance of first year engineering students in a bid to identify major issues that students face in a Bachelor of Engineering program. The learning of students in the School of Engineering and Physics at the University of the South Pacific is influenced by interactions of at least 12 different cultures from the 12 member countries of the university. The study looks at how students perform across cultures in the first year mechanical engineering courses, mainly engineering mechanics and engineering graphics & design. The general trend over the last five years shows that while the student numbers in the program have been increasing, student performance in one course seems to be improving but declining in the other; the two courses differ considerable in contents, required skill sets, and assessment methodologies. The study also presents possible reasons for the varied performance by considering issues such as cultural and academic backgrounds, use of teaching tools and resources, and revisions to the course and program and looks at how multi-cultural engineering education can be improved. The number of female students taking up engineering as their major is also looked at and positive trends are seen with female participation increasing from 7.6% in 2008 to 13.9% in 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and globalization
Subtitle of host publicationapplied mechanics, dynamic systems and control engineering
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME)
Number of pages6
Volume5
ISBN (Print)9780791856277
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 15 Nov 201321 Nov 2013

Conference

ConferenceASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2013
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period15/11/1321/11/13

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    Ram, K. R., Sharan, R. V., & Ahmed, M. R. (2013). A regional university perspective on engineering education of multicultural freshman students from South Pacific countries. In Education and globalization: applied mechanics, dynamic systems and control engineering (Vol. 5). [IMECE2013-66589] American Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME). https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2013-66589