When Deakin University asked ‘how do we teach engineering better?’ they found the solution in CADET
Samantha Kloe talks to Jason Steinwedel, Programme Manager – CADET, School of Engineering at the Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong on CADET and what it means for Deakin University.
Deakin’s Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training – known as CADET – was Deakin’s solution to a world-wide problem of how to bring engagement and work/life experiences to students, making Engineering exciting and also attract women to the field (currently, there is a shortage of 28,000 engineers and a nation-wide shortage of women in Engineering).
“CADET is by no means a small project. The new facility currently being built at Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, will be finished by 2015. The building will cover 6,000 square metres, over three floors, with a total project investment of $55 million.
“More than the building itself, what’s most significant is that we’ve created a new environment that will facilitate an improved way of learning; experienced based learning.
“It’s not a new way of learning as such, primary schools use this method, but it’s new way for teaching at University and particularly the Engineering faculty. The current teaching model is that a lecturer talks to 300 students in an auditorium, they do problems and sit tests. This new method will be journey of discovery and creativity.
“We want to create a destination, a reason for students to stay on campus and enjoy the benefits of interacting with each other, or peer-to-peer learning. They can ask questions of lecturers and tutors and technical staff, which all leads to enhanced learning experiences and helping students to solve problems together.
“It’s been said learning increases when the learning experience is enhanced.
Enhanced learning experiences for students was the top priority when building designs were presented
“Everything from the actual building to the layout of the spaces is designed with students in mind and enhancing the learning experience.
“Students can even hold their devices up to the walls, call up the application and look through the wall to see the framework, the data layout, the electrical layout, every part of the building will be accessible for students to see how all the parts come together.
“We’re doing away with things like computer labs; people bring their own device and plug in to the network, which is supported by an open device platform and network. We’ve thought of how they are going to charge their devices with charge lockers located throughout the building.
“Instead of a classroom, this centre will be more like a shopping centre with open areas for inviting and interactive conversations. The teaching areas are going to be in smaller groups in design-based areas.
“CADET will house high benchmark equipment that you are not going to see that often in Australia and certainly not in a teaching environment – and it will all be accessible to students, not just students in their final year, but right from first year.
“Students will be able to take their work from the concept, right through to the prototype with all the equipment and support at their fingertips. There won’t be anything standing in their way of completing their projects and learning along the way.
It’s all about the partnership at Deakin University
“Headland will be supplying some of the new high-tech equipment, including a Nakamura-Tome AS200 Lathe and Makino U3 Wire EDM. We particularly like to work with companies such as Headland, because for us, it’s all about having that partnership. We want to work with companies that understand our vision and will support us to get there. I know I can by a machine from anyone, but it’s more than just buying a machine – It’s about working together as a partnership.”
“We are also partnering with the Gordon Institute of TAFE, who will ensure our first year students learn the competencies they need to operate this machinery right from year one, and also the Matthew Flinders Girls School and Belmont High will also be involved, as we want to encourage more women to enter the engineering field. It’s a reality in Australia, the population of women in Engineering is only sitting at 5%, we are missing out on half the population!
“Additionally our architect partner is Graypuksand, who have been key in leading the design discussions as well as drawing heavily on our overseas experiences and also our internal, internationally skilled teaching and learning experts.
“Deakin’s core business is about teaching engineering better. Our new tagline, Worldly is all about showcasing the fact that while Deakin may be a regionally based campus, our focus is global and our students will have the ability to jump to international careers. With our international and local partnerships we will deliver this and CADET is a key part of this vision,” – Jason Steinwedel, Programme Manager – CADET, School of Engineering, Deakin University Waurn Ponds.
Opening in 2015, will offer programs from Year 8 through to PhD level. It will house virtual and real prototyping facilities, allowing creative design solutions to be developed from new wind turbines, medical devices, sustainable infrastructure, alternative vehicles or robotic aids.
For more information about engineering courses at Deakin, please call 1300 DEGREE (1300 334 733) or visit deakin.edu.au