Digital Education in Engineering

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • July 27, 2020

Rebecca Alowo

Engineering education is changing, will a social constructivist to engineering education do the trick? Will digital engineering education prevail?  During Covid 19 lockdown, many schools transformed to online teaching. With more tools than ever available at the disposal of engineering schools. studying, working remotely and virtually anywhere as a digital nomad is now a reality.

Digital nomads are a type of people who use ICT to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Most of students had a Teams or Zoom webinar to attend during this lockdown. A lot of lectures,  tests exams and assignments have been administered online. All this is in line with participatory learning.

A social constructivist approach to teaching engineering students, so that students assimilate knowledge and learn lessons participatorily. Addition of elements of constructivism in the classroom, to make learning a social event where facts from isolation are relevant and motivational. Connecting new knowledge to the knowledge they already have.

The social-construct approach to be used to make the lecturer use her social experiences to relate to the students when giving a lesson.

A typical engineering class session gives a holistic view, the objective of the lecture is engagement, work in small groups to aid assimilation & accommodation of new knowledge. Feedback from the class sessions is used to adapt teaching styles and planning for the next class.

Digital education and social constructivism in engineering has to overcome the lack of ICT infrastructure where engineering students reside, the lack of devices among engineering students, the additional financial investments and the capacity development needed.

In conclusion the use of various digital platforms and social constructivism, support and nurture learning and development. It also supports the graduate attributes required by many engineering councils.

Rebecca Alowo is a DEng student at Central University of Technology Free State South Africa. The writer works as a Senior Consultant Research Studies at Quantum Executive Education. The writer also freelances under Kenyonyozi properties.