ADVANCES IN MINING ENGINEERING EDUCATION: A CASE FOR LEARNING COMMUNITIES
University of British Columbia (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Mining engineering involves the design, planning and management of operations for the development, production and eventual rehabilitation of resource extraction. These activities draw on a diverse set of skills. University of British Columbia mining engineers have traditionally been highly regarded for their strengths in the technical aspects of mining and mineral process but also for their understanding of the application of principles of sustainability and social responsibility. The current view of the UBC Mining curriculum demands the integration of aspects of environmental and social sciences shaping the future of tertiary engineering education. The curriculum is under pressure from many quarters, including the demands of accreditation authorities to be on the leading edge of social and technical advances, whereas the university faculty administration is moving to a lighter course credit load. Grassroots student activism is causing many departments, including Mining Engineering to rethink what is relevant or effectively taught during their time in the program. Industry advisory committees add to the discussion with their views of what the future hire needs to be successful.
The solution is developing a curriculum that is focused on key learning objectives that are a reflection of all these external pressures. More importantly this curriculum must be the product of an extraordinary consensus of teaching faculty members working together to break down the traditional discipline silos and to work collaboratively as part of an effective learning community. This paper examines the challenge of curriculum reform and the emergence of learning communities at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Keywords: Engineering Education, Mining Engineering, Learning Communities, Curriculum Development.