PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR STUDENTS AND RESEARCH ASSISTANTS IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
Technische Universität München (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The introduction of the bologna process tended to broaden the horizon in university education. Beside the technical skills, engineering study programs are supposed to provide non-technical skills, the so called soft skills. At the Institute of Energy Conversion Technology four different programs have been established, "adveisor", "eCARus", "LEAD" and "TUfast". All these programs are elective courses in order to obtain a certain amount of credits according to the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). During the last seven years, around 800 students took part in one or more of these programs, which shows the students' high interest of personal development while working in a team. 21 research assistants have been supervising and planning the programs up to now.
Starting their studies, one of the first programs students can attend is adveisor. During one year the participants run through two different phases working on soft skills. In the first phase, they participate in workshops dealing with the theoretical background. In the second phase, they realize a technical project on their own. Their tutors, students of higher semesters, are getting prepared by professional trainers in order to transfer their knowledge to the younger participants.
At the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, both "eCARus" and "TUfast" are supported by the Institute of Energy Conversion Technology and the Institute for Electrical Energy Storage Technology. On the first sight "eCARus" seems to be a technical project, as the participants have to build up an electric vehicle, but they also have to form groups and to coordinate themselves. Older students take the role of team leaders and have the project responsibility. In order to teach younger students appropriate they are supported by tutors, who are students having practical experience. "TUfast" is more for older students who have already managed the harder part of their studies. Two racing cars have to be built and compete with international teams of other universities. The Department provides the team for the electric power train. The institutes support the team with their knowledge, machines and test benches.
Finally, just before graduating, a training is offered for high potentials in order to prepare them for leading positions. The students have to apply for "LEAD" like they would do it for an application in companies. About 20 students are elected out of all applicants and they take part in a five day seminar working on several topics regarding leadership.
About three years ago, the first graduates have already started their career as employees, PhD students or initiated start ups. They appreciate these programs as a highly realistic educational approach in order to qualify their personality. Furthermore the programs are supervised by research assistants. Some of them already participated in the programs during their studies and now they concentrate on the organizational and educational side.
Within this paper, a more detailed explanation for the different programs is given, but the focus is set on personal development in the engineering field including the evaluation of the number of participants of each program and a comparison for different participation combinations is made. Besides the technical courses, the evaluation and comparisons were realized at the Institute of Energy Conversion Technology as it organizes all these programs partly supported by other institutes.
Keywords: Soft skills, student project, hands-on project, bologna process, teaching, education, adveisor, eCARus, LEAD, TUfast, personal development.