World engineering experts to debate globally-unified approach to education

Media release
04 December 2015
More than 200 engineering academics and industry experts from across the globe will descend on Geelong and the Surf Coast next week when Deakin University hosts the discipline’s largest annual education conference.

More than 200 engineering academics and industry experts from across the globe will descend on Geelong and the Surf Coast next week when Deakin University hosts the discipline’s largest annual education conference.

The Australasian Association for Engineering Education 2015 conference (AAEE2015), will focus on a globally unified approach to the future of engineering education, based on design and project-focused learning.

Deakin Head of School of Engineering Professor Guy Littlefair said the university was well-placed to host this year’s event, now in its 26th year, with the recent opening of the Centre for Design and Engineering Training (CADET), a world-leading facility that is home to a new approach to teaching.

Professor Littlefair said through a redesign of its engineering curriculum, Deakin was leading Australia out of a theory-based education model and into a new frontier centred on design-based solutions to real-world current and future problems.

“Our students are being prepared for the jobs of the future right now, working in partnership with industry from the moment they walk in the door to start their undergraduate degree,” Professor Littlefair said.

“Gone are the days where students spend most of their week inside a theatre, passively taking in what a lecturer tells them to learn by rote, waiting years to be able to apply it, only to find that by the time they get out into the real world industry has surpassed their learning.

“The world-leading technology inside CADET, including a state-of-the-art virtual reality cave, a high voltage laboratory and several different-sized 3D printing machines, has taken Deakin to the top of the class on a global education scale.”

Professor Littlefair said the conference was also a key opportunity for engineering academics and industry leaders to come together to debate the best ways to rise to the opportunities provided by current challenges facing the sector.

“Innovation is the future for Australia and in order for this to be successful it is absolutely key that universities produce graduates who are creative thinkers and able to astutely tackle the unknown jobs of the future,” he said.

“The importance of STEM education cannot be understated. Perhaps more so now than ever before, a strategic and intelligent conversation about how this will be the central spine in all aspects of education from primary through post graduate is an absolute must.

“The changing global environment also needs to be carefully considered and this has led to this year’s conference theme of Blended Design and Project Based Learning.”

The AAEE2015 conference will take place at the RACV Torquay Resort, with several sessions also at CADET at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds, Geelong, campus.

Conference technical chair Associate Professor Aman Oo said the event had attracted high quality papers and workshops from across the globe.

“After a full peer reviewed process, the conference has accepted 112 papers for publication and presentation from 205 submissions,” Associate Professor Oo said.

Four keynote speakers will address the conference, which begins on Monday and concludes Wednesday afternoon. Details are as follows:

Geoff Haynes, Program Manager for NULKA and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile at BAE Systems, 9am Monday, December 7 at the RACV Torquay Resort Great Ocean Ballroom.

(Nulka is an Anti-Ship Missile Decoy system based on a hovering rocket invented in Australia and exported to USA and Canada.)

Mr Haynes will present on the importance of collaboration between the engineering profession and academia.

Nino Ficca, AusNet Transmission Group Ltd Managing Director, 8.50am Tuesday, December 8 at RACV Torquay Resort Great Ocean Ballroom, to present on the energy sector’s need for creative and adaptable engineering graduates ready to solve problems in a changing industrial landscape.

Professor Kerry Reid-Searl, creator of simulated mask teaching aids and a nursing Professor at Central Queensland University, 9.15am Tuesday, December 8 at RACV Torquay Resort Great Ocean Ballroom,to present on student-centred learning with simulation as a focus.

Dr David Baglee, a senior lecturer from the University of Sunderland in the UK, 9am Wednesday December 9 at CADET, Deakin University Waurn Ponds Geelong campus, will showcase how his university’s Institute for Automotive Manufacturing and Advanced Practice is supporting local companies through solutions based on knowledge exchange between industry and academia.

Panel session: A Panel of Dangerous Ideas, with Deakin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Beverly Oliver, Charles Sturt University Foundation Professor of Engineering,Professor Euan Lindsay, and University of Sydney Associate Dean Education, Professor David Lowe, 11am, Wednesday December 9 at CADET. The panel will share their insights into STEM and the digital environment, with regards to future education.

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