Pilot study boot camp: professional engineering roles experienced in a week

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Engineering education has recognised that engineering graduates require transversal competencies like communication, teamwork and problem-solving alongside technical competencies. The importance of transversal competencies has grown and curriculum elements have been implemented to stimulate these competencies. However, a gap still exists between what education provides and practice requires. To reduce this gap and increase engineering student’s employability, lecturers need to expose students to transversal competencies and allow them to practice them throughout the curriculum. For the purpose to stimulate the development of students’ transversal competencies necessary to engineering careers, a week-long style boot camp course was designed and implemented at the Delft University of Technology. In this study, a pre and post-questionnaire and a reflection were administered to students to evaluate the transversal competencies encountered and acquired by the students during the course, their engineering role awareness and course efficacy. Findings revealed that students improve in their transversal competencies including presentation skills, interdisciplinary thinking, innovation and creativity, and professional engineering role knowledge during the course. However, improvements in the attracting of students to the course and specification of the assignment need to be addressed for the next run of this course scheduled for next year. Lecturers are encouraged to implement authentic learning experiences like this, as these experiences provide students with awareness and practice of the engineering roles and stimulate students’ transversal competency development necessary to be successful in those roles.