n Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Teaching design skills at UKZN : a community effort : education

Volume 21, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



In response to criticism that many engineering graduates are "unemployable", or lacking in marketable skills, the capstone Civil Engineering Design Project at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has been transformed over the past five years. To the original Design Project module, for which students "independently research a relevant civil engineering issue and produce a professionally presented portfolio", has been added an introductory Group Phase. In teams of eight the students spend the first month of the final semester of the BSc Eng programme compiling a feasibility design report for a multi-faceted civil engineering development of current local interest. Engineers who were involved in the design of the development present its principle features and constraints and provide site-specific information. These same engineers, or their suitably qualified colleagues, subsequently serve as external examiners of the students' final design portfolios. The objectives are to broaden the conceptual approach to engineering design, address social, ethical and environmental concerns regarding sustainability, and to involve potential future employers of the students in the completion of their academic education.

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