Becoming civil engineers: Embedding academic and professional communicative practices in the curriculum

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation Vol. 40

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford

A key driver of curriculum transformation is enabling graduates to navigate an uncertain future (CSIRO, 2016), which places greater emphasis on the development of employability skills. Transforming the curriculum involves not only aligning learning, assessment and pedagogy, but also consideration of industry standards, legislation, institution graduate qualities and strategic goals, as well as theoretical and pedagogical approaches. This paper describes a collaborative and systematic process which aimed to enable a sustainable, whole-curriculum alignment of the Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) program at an Australian university. The project was guided by Wilson’s (2009) design principles and those of Design-Based Research (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012), which emphasise collaborative partnerships engaging in an iterative process to find practical and innovative solutions to issues in their local environment. The project began with a facilitated workshop with program staff which explored and identified the communicative practices and employability attributes in Civil Engineering, followed by an analysis of program and course documents to determine alignment of content with Engineers Australia (2013) Stage 1 Competency Standard for Professional Engineer. Data gathered guided peer conversations between the project team and teaching staff. The project is a work in progress and has generated principles and mechanisms that allow for teams from across the university, and beyond, to work in collaborative and sustainable partnerships (Kift, 2009) towards developing an authentic curriculum. The findings provide practical ways to address the complexities of curriculum transformation to contribute broadly to the higher education sector. 

Keywords: curriculum transformation, communicative practices, civil engineering

Becoming civil engineers: Embedding academic and professional communicative practices in the curriculum

pdf (523.33 KB)
Smith, K., Kehrwald, J., Smith, E., Moulton, D. &Corcoran, P.