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Skills and Competencies Gained from Specific Courses and Practical Training: Qualitative Feedback

Students were asked to highlight the most useful experiences they have during their undergraduate studies. The most frequent experiences and teaching learning styles significantly praised by students were as follows: senior/design projects, group projects, laboratories, practical training, presentations, competitions, and volunteering. Students also highlighted the importance and pedagogical and teaching and learning approach of instructors. Practical courses/styles and extracurricular activities were reported as a main platform for developing competencies by students, while just a few mentioned theoretical courses.

Discussion on Curriculum for Better Workplace Readiness

Qualitative feedback from stakeholders reported two major themes of preparing students with desired skills for workplace: lack of practical aspects/experience in engineering education curriculum and low motivation of students. Faculty highlighted several means in which engineering graduates’ readiness for workplace can be enhanced, and in particular, the following three approaches scored the highest means: increased collaboration with industry, increased internships and practical training, and changes in the curriculum to further meet the country’s contextual needs. Most of the senior students and junior engineers who had an internship during their studies agreed that it was beneficial means for work readiness preparation. Both the senior students and junior engineers reported highest means on experiential, practical, and active learning and teaching approaches, when they asked on best approaches they experienced to prepare them for work readiness. Internship and practical training came at number 1, and other approaches included research/design projects, laboratories, practical examinations, oral presentations, and classroom discussions (see Table 7.26 for further details).

It is worth mentioning that such approaches (internships, design projects, laboratories, presentations, etc.) contribute significantly for developing competencies such as practical experience, communications, teamwork, problem-solving, professionalism, which in particular has been highly regarded by industry as shown earlier.

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