E-LEARNING AND ENGINEERING LEADERSHIP. CURTIN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE

A.M. Darabi Golshani, H. Nikraz

Curtin University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
Engineering employers expect engineering graduates to possess a wide range of skills that goes beyond their technical knowledge. It is vital that graduates have skills which demonstrate that they are responsible for their own development and careers. Some of these skills include; communications, organizational skills, self promotion, the ability to work as part of a team, problem solving, critical thinker, good negotiation skills, have the ability to be a leader and being able to network effectively. Unfortunately, many units in engineering degrees do not incorporate the mentioned skills in their teachings.

Curtin University of Technology decided to integrate a Civil Engineering Project Management unit with an e-learning platform (Blackboard) to enhance and improve the students’ non-technical skills. The Seven Principles of good practice using technology was adopted in this unit. Students were initially tested using Dr Meredith Belbin’s team roles theory to identify their team roles. According to their results, they were divided into groups of 5/6 members. Students were encouraged to share any of their findings with each other through the discussion board. At the end of the course students were questioned and asked to reflect on their Belbin’s roles. The results were compared and analyzed against the initial results and considerable changes were noticed.

Methods used in the above course delivery were proven to be extremely successful. Students managed to communicate more effectively and the level of collaboration was improved drastically. At the end of the course, students’ demonstrated overwhelming satisfaction in their learning journey.