Work Placement in Higher Education – Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON. 2019, 2019, 473-477. 10.1109/EDUCON.2019.8725100
During the engineering education, the focus is on theoretical knowledge and less on the practical competence to be a professional engineer. To lead higher education into the future, it is critical to develop models and methods to prepare students for working life. As a mobilizing instrument, work placement is a method to strengthen the flow of knowledge within the innovation systems. Developing knowledge and transversal skills are critical to prepare students for working life. This paper describes the course “Practical Engineering” integrated in the engineering bachelor programs at the University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences, and Maritime Sciences (USN-TNM). The pilot project started up in 2015 in cooperation with The Research Council of Norway, regional government, industry and USN-TNM. From 2015 until 2018, 70 students have elected the course and more than 40 companies have offered a work placement. Data has been obtained through surveys and student reports from 2017-2018. The evaluation and feedback from both students and companies were satisfactory. In addition to fulfilling purpose and goals for the course, there are also several other positive side effects in the University-Business cooperation.