SIT | Te Pūkenga Programme Manager and Engineering Tutor Carlo Gabriel presented his research internationally when he attended the recent Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE) Conference.
Held on the Gold Coast, Australia, December 3 - 6, 2023, the annual conference serves as a platform for engineering educators and professionals to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and professional development. It was the first time since Covid-19 restrictions that the conference attendees had been able to meet again in-person, with the 2020 to 2022 conferences all being held online.
The conference theme - Adapting to the Changing Expectations of Students and Industry - showcased the latest innovations and advancements in engineering education, to address the evolving needs of both students and industry stakeholders.
Mr Gabriel presented his research paper, titled "Assessing Learning Outcomes in NZ Mechanical Engineering Programmes under Sydney Accord and the Southern Institute of Technology". Mr Gabriel conducted the study to shed light on the emphasis within engineering programmes placed on design-related skills, known as higher-order thinking skills (HOTS), including problem-solving, model development, and model usage. Mr Gabriel is also a peer reviewer for the papers submitted for the conference and a reviewer for content in the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE).
“It’s one of the biggest international conferences for engineering education ... it attracts attendees from universities across the globe. US, UK and Canadian universities all participate,” Mr Gabriel said. One of the reasons he enjoyed attending was being able to view all the latest technology for engineering education. “A stand-out are the companies who exhibit there,” with products such as updated software for teaching and laboratory equipment.
It was important to engage face-to-face with other educators and industry stakeholders again after the four year hiatus, Mr Gabriel said. “I most like being able to meet up with other people, it’s definitely the highpoint for possible collaborations, and representing SIT. It’s a big thing.” He also mentioned gaining a lot from the keynote speakers from Sweden and the US. “I really enjoyed hearing from them and learning more about their research.”
Mr Gabriel appreciated the opportunity to network with around 250 like-minded people; he believed it built a sense of community within the field. The professional development through exposure to new teaching methodologies and technologies all fed into improving industry practices and helped to produce well-prepared engineering graduates across the globe, he added.
Conference organisers had arranged for the attendees to take a group tour of Sea World while they were there. “It was quite an experience, it’s a large aquarium. The dolphins and penguins, it was all a bonus I wasn’t expecting,” said Mr Gabriel.
The AAEE 2024 conference will be held in New Zealand, at the University of Canterbury.