Is Off-campus Engineering Study Off the Agenda?
Professional Accreditation and Distance Education

Stuart Palmer [spalm@deakin.edu.au], Institute of Teaching and Learning, Deakin University
Geelong, Victoria, 3216, Australia [http://www.deakin.edu.au]
Wayne Hall [wayne.hall@plymouth.ac.uk], School of Engineering, University of Plymouth, Reynolds Building, Drake Circus
Plymouth. Devon, PL4 8AA, UK [http://www.plymouth.ac.uk]

English Abstract

In engineering, distance/off-campus study is an essential element of access to education for those in remote locations and/or seeking to upgrade their qualifications via the lifelong learning route whilst employed.  Internationally, engineering education accrediting bodies have moved toward outcomes-based assessment of graduate competency, but are still struggling to relinquish their historical attachment to the measurement of inputs.  A genuinely outcomes-based accreditation system based on the demonstrated individual student attainment of appropriate graduate attributes (which might be delivered/gained by a range of means) offers the best way forward for an equitable, representative and socially just undergraduate engineering education system that encourages suitably qualified candidates from a range of social, employment, educational, gender, age and geographic circumstances to aspire to the professional sphere of the engineering workforce.  Until outcomes-based education becomes the norm in engineering, it is likely that distance learners in engineering will face significant difficulties.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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