SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF NON-TECHNICAL PART OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (CROATIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The non-technical part of engineering education and engineering in general, is simultaneously a matter of consensus and controversy. Engineering practice, science and education accept it as their integral and understandable part, while, conditionally speaking, controversy concerns its character, extent, purpose and its reach. The article considers how some of the engineering education stakeholders looks at its non-technical part and how associated images can be sketched in terms of relatively rounded patterns. The theoretical background to discuss these ideas in the article is relied on the theory of social representations.
The paper is based on a comparative analysis of the findings of several studies conducted at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb. In two studies, the non-technical part of engineering was explored in parallel with, but also autonomously in relation to, the other investigated topics, and in two other studies it was the only focus. The findings on the non-technical part of engineering from mentioned studies were viewed as an empirical basis in order to determine whether is it possible: a) to discern somewhat well-rounded images about the non-technical part of engineering education and engineering work, and b) to see if the established patterns of representations (images) are in some way related to the participants and other subjects of interest in those studies - students, employers and institutions of engineering education.
The two basic patterns of social representation of the non-technical part of engineering have been shown to be dominant, although they are not evenly represented by the actors studied. The pattern of "business orientation" is dominant among employers, and to a lesser extent is apparent among students and actors from the institutional-educational setting. The pattern of "social responsibility" could be discerned among students and actors in the institutional-educational setting, while less pronounced among employers.
Keywords: Engineering education, non-technical courses, social representations.