April 23, 2015, by Teaching at Nottingham

A Vision for the Future BEng/MEng in Civil Engineering

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Civil engineering is about integrating information for solving real world problems and students need to see their learning as integrated rather than in boxes defined by discipline. However, there is also a step change up from being a student to then being responsible for constructing a building. In this presentation we share our efforts to rethink the curriculum to produce the graduates that the industry needs.

We have investigated what sort of graduate is expected from a BEng/Meng in Civil Engineering course and how these perceptions influence course design and shape the metrics against which the final year graduates should be assessed.

Whilst there is a need for knowledge to be gained throughout the course we should emphasise the development of understanding and problem solving so that even in the early years students start to develop these competencies with simple examples. The first year is critical to setting the whole philosophy for the course.

We began by redefining intended outcomes for the first year and sketching a curriculum founded on problem-solving. At last summer’s Departmental Away Day colleagues began designing the sorts of problems that our students could begin to address: recovering crashed aircraft from the seabed, designing sections of the proposed HS2 railway and designing a dock at a harbour. Our initial plans have been welcomed by the Industrial Advisory Board and our next steps are to develop the detail and begin piloting some new teaching approaches that the new structure suggests

Dr Barbara Turnbull & Dr Martin Smith,
Faculty of Engineering

Posted in Curriculum designInclusive teachingLearning outcomesProgramme ReviewTransition into HETTP