A New Introductory Course in the Engineering Education at the University of Tromsø
In 2011 a new national curriculum for the education of engineers was established in Norway. The objective of the curriculum is to ascertain that engineering education is professionally oriented, integrated, research-based and has a high academic standard. Institutions are instructed to facilitate a holistic approach to the engineering profession, which integrates social science, technology, science and mathematics. A new introductory course for engineers was defined, and since 2012 every education institution in Norway has given freshmen engineering students the introductory course. The course should focus on the common aspects of engineering rather than discipline-oriented topics, motivate and create identity, and include social science. The guidelines accompanying the course are vague and it has been a challenge for academic staff to establish and run the introductory course. A survey has been carried out, and this paper presents the status of the introductory course three years after implementation. Examples from various engineering programmes in Norway will be presented. At UiT the course is called "Introduction to Professional Engineering Practice and Working Methods" (10 credit points). The course changed from 2012 to 2014, and new changes are considered for 2015. It is a "toolbox" for the students with elements useful in engineering: CAD, project work, report writing, laboratory work, data analysis, engineering economics, introduction to history of technology, technology in society and engineering ethics. The course gives an overview of the engineer profession with lectures from local industry. Different experiments include model wind turbine; measurement of dust in suspension; measurement of air quality; level, pressure and flow control in fluids; and measurement of temperature with different instruments.