Taken from Electrical Engineering, 15th September 2016
The New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMITE), Britain’s first new ‘greenfield’ university in 40 years, has unveiled its outline curriculum.
It is now inviting comments from engineers, students, academics, teachers, employers and all those with an interest in getting more people into professional engineering.
NMITE, launched in 2015 with the support of a strong coalition of leading universities, engineers, businesspeople and politicians and aims to open its doors to the first 300 students at a purpose-built city centre campus in Hereford in September 2019.
Key elements of the outline curriculum include:
- An academic year of 46 weeks, allowing a masters in liberal engineering and a six-month work placement to be completed within three years (rather than the current 4.5 years).
- No lectures (except occasionally for notable external visiting speakers) and only two hours of seminars each week.
- A typical week will include 40 hours of work, including 20 hours of student-led project work and 15 hours of self-study.
- Each academic year will have about 13 three-week blocks, with each block involving up to 30 students in groups of five working to solve problem-based projects, with as many as possible contributed by industry.
- Students will have some control over which blocks they undertake and in what order.
- Associated subjects such as economics, marketing, politics, computing, etc will not be taught as separate subjects. Instead they will be taught as part and parcel of engineering projects the students have to solve (reflecting the way these topics need to be applied in the real world).
- Students will either pass or fail, and will not leave with a single grade. Instead they will have a portfolio of achievements from the blocks completed.
- Importantly, Maths and Physics A Levels will not be required. These will be taught as part of the projects, with prospective students needing to show the aptitude and grit to learn these as part of the curriculum.
Copies of the curriculum and details of the consultation are available from www.nmite.org.uk/curriculum and all stakeholders and interested people are invited to take part.
David Sheppard, co-leader of the Development Team, said, “NMiTE will radically change the way engineering is taught in Britain to help tackle the growing shortage of graduate engineers, especially those with the broad range of additional applied analytical thinking, innovation, interpersonal and leadership skills that employers seek.
“We’ll be on the lookout for the brightest and most tenacious sixth-formers, with an A and two B’s as a minimum. We’ll also be looking to bring in who are currently excluded, such as the many experienced engineers in the military and also women, who often do not take A Levels in maths and physics.”
Professor Peter Goodhew, a leading member of NMiTE’s curriculum panel and an authority on teaching engineering, said, “NMiTE is delighted to unveil the most radical engineering curriculum in the world. Individually, each element has been successfully tried at various enterprising institutions in Britain and the US. However, no institution, not even the leading-edge Olin College of Engineering in the USA, has brought all of these innovations together.
Professor Kel Fidler, a key member of NMiTE’s curriculum team, said, “The current way undergraduate engineering is taught has been likened to a long death-march of maths and physics, with many talented students falling by the wayside.
“The proposed NMITE curriculum radically shakes up the whole philosophy behind the teaching of engineering, which currently mistakenly treats it largely as the application of science and maths.
“In fact, engineering is the exciting solving of real-life problems to make the world a better place, with maths and physics simply amongst engineers’ tools as much as economics, computing and presentation skills are too.
To view this article on the Electrical Times website please click here