THE USE OF INDUSTRIAL NETWORKS TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION; A SURVEY-BASED INVESTIGATION
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Heimdal, Anette; Larsen, Ingrid Lande; Thorstensen, Rein Terje
Institution: University of Agder, Norway
Section: Industrial 2
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.93
This paper investigates how involvement of university and students into industrial networks might gain both continuously development of education programs, and the learning outcomes of students within engineering education. Involvement of the Civil and Structural Engineering Education in the creation and early operation of an industrial network – the Agder division of “Young Professionals’ Concrete Network” (YBN) - is used as case.
YBN are regional networks related to the Norwegian Concrete Association, organised and run by volunteers at a growing number of locations. The intension is to create networks for young professionals, focusing on all aspects of the use of concrete materials within engineering and construction. The Agder division of YBN was established during 2018, initiated and executed by stakeholders employed at the Civil and Structural Engineering Education, University of Agder in Norway, and from the local industry. Members are recruited amongst students and industrial employees in early stages of their career. Typical activities of YBN are lectures on requested topics, industrial demonstrations and excursions to construction sites. Industry is eager to deliver services without any cost for YBN. Members use the organisation to build competence, to participate in professional discussions and to create and maintain personal networks.
This paper is based on a survey executed amongst members of the Agder division of YBN. The scope of the survey was to identify dividends generated from engaging in the network. The participants were asked to answer questions regarding outcomes from participation in different types of activities.
The results from the survey identify learning outcomes and other dividends from participation in a network that includes students, university and young professionals from the industry. These findings are discussed to gain knowledge on how network engagement can be utilized to continuously improve the Civil and Structural Engineering Education, and to strengthen the competence of participating students and young professionals. As YBN is originating and run by stakeholders within the university, the generated knowledge is also used in a feed-back loop for improvement of the activities offered by the network.