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Engineering across cultures: new learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering

Conference Paper


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Abstract


  • BACKGROUND

    The work described in this paper has emerged from an ALTC/OLT funded project, Exploring

    Intercultural Competency in Engineering. The project indentified many facets of culture and

    intercultural competence that go beyond a culture-as-nationality paradigm. It was clear from this work

    that resources were needed to help engineering educators introduce students to the complex issues of

    culture as they relate to engineering practice. A set of learning modules focussing on intercultural

    competence in engineering practice have been developed that cover the various aspects of culture in

    engineering identified in the project. Supporting the resources, an eBook detailing the ins and outs of

    intercultural competency has also been developed to assist engineering educators to embed

    opportunities for students to develop skills in unpacking and managing cross-cultural challenges in

    engineering practice.

    PURPOSE

    This paper argues that the Engineering Across Cultures eBook and learning modules provide a useful

    tool for creating opportunities for to develop their intercultural competence. The authors also propose

    a plan for establishing a community of practice in the area in intercultural competence in engineering

    education.

    DESIGN/METHOD

    A key aim of this project overall was to go beyond the culture-as-nationality approach adopted in much

    of the work around intercultural competency (Deardorff, 2011). The eBook explores different

    dimensions of culture such as workplace culture, culture’s influence on engineering design, and

    culture in the classroom. The book describes how these connect to industry practice and explore what

    they mean for engineering education. The packaged learning modules described here have been

    developed as a matrix of approaches moving from familiar known methods through complicated

    activities relying to some extent on expert knowledge. Some modules draw on the concept of ‘complex

    un-order’ as described in the ‘Cynefin domains’ proposed by Kurtz and Snowden (2003).

    RESULTS

    Several of the modules included in the eBook have already been trialled at a variety of institutions.

    Feedback from staff has been reassuringly positive but the evaluation to this point is limited. Further

    trials are planned for second semester 2012, and version 1 of the eBook and learning modules,

    Engineering Across Cultures, is due to be released in late October 2012.

    CONCLUSIONS

    The Engineering Across Cultures eBook and learning modules provide a useful and ready to employ

    resource to help educators tackle the complex issue of intercultural competency in engineering

    education. The book is by no means exhaustive, and nor are the modules, they instead provide an

    accessible, engineering specific guide to bringing cultural issues into the engineering classroom.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Dawes, L., Gardner, A. & McCarthy, T. (2012). Engineering across cultures: new learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering. 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) (pp. 487-495). Australia: The Engineering & Science Education Research (ESER) group.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1807&context=eispapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/eispapers/801

Start Page


  • 487

End Page


  • 495

Abstract


  • BACKGROUND

    The work described in this paper has emerged from an ALTC/OLT funded project, Exploring

    Intercultural Competency in Engineering. The project indentified many facets of culture and

    intercultural competence that go beyond a culture-as-nationality paradigm. It was clear from this work

    that resources were needed to help engineering educators introduce students to the complex issues of

    culture as they relate to engineering practice. A set of learning modules focussing on intercultural

    competence in engineering practice have been developed that cover the various aspects of culture in

    engineering identified in the project. Supporting the resources, an eBook detailing the ins and outs of

    intercultural competency has also been developed to assist engineering educators to embed

    opportunities for students to develop skills in unpacking and managing cross-cultural challenges in

    engineering practice.

    PURPOSE

    This paper argues that the Engineering Across Cultures eBook and learning modules provide a useful

    tool for creating opportunities for to develop their intercultural competence. The authors also propose

    a plan for establishing a community of practice in the area in intercultural competence in engineering

    education.

    DESIGN/METHOD

    A key aim of this project overall was to go beyond the culture-as-nationality approach adopted in much

    of the work around intercultural competency (Deardorff, 2011). The eBook explores different

    dimensions of culture such as workplace culture, culture’s influence on engineering design, and

    culture in the classroom. The book describes how these connect to industry practice and explore what

    they mean for engineering education. The packaged learning modules described here have been

    developed as a matrix of approaches moving from familiar known methods through complicated

    activities relying to some extent on expert knowledge. Some modules draw on the concept of ‘complex

    un-order’ as described in the ‘Cynefin domains’ proposed by Kurtz and Snowden (2003).

    RESULTS

    Several of the modules included in the eBook have already been trialled at a variety of institutions.

    Feedback from staff has been reassuringly positive but the evaluation to this point is limited. Further

    trials are planned for second semester 2012, and version 1 of the eBook and learning modules,

    Engineering Across Cultures, is due to be released in late October 2012.

    CONCLUSIONS

    The Engineering Across Cultures eBook and learning modules provide a useful and ready to employ

    resource to help educators tackle the complex issue of intercultural competency in engineering

    education. The book is by no means exhaustive, and nor are the modules, they instead provide an

    accessible, engineering specific guide to bringing cultural issues into the engineering classroom.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Dawes, L., Gardner, A. & McCarthy, T. (2012). Engineering across cultures: new learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering. 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) (pp. 487-495). Australia: The Engineering & Science Education Research (ESER) group.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1807&context=eispapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/eispapers/801

Start Page


  • 487

End Page


  • 495