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Systems Engineering Education in an Accredited Undergraduate Engineering Program

[+] Author Affiliations
Johan Meyer, Hannelie Nel, Nickey Janse van Rensburg

University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Paper No. IMECE2016-68038, pp. V005T06A046; 9 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2016-68038
From:
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5057-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME

abstract

Developing countries are mostly reliant on external technologies and this augments the need for systems engineering capability in these economies. It is therefore imperative that systems engineering as theory and practice is included in undergraduate engineering curricula to strengthen the internal technological capability of a country’s developing engineers. In South Africa, the quality of undergraduate engineering programs is governed by the Engineering Council of South Africa (affiliated under the Washington Accord); and the exit level outcomes of the programs are predetermined explicitly per module. Systems engineering was introduced to an undergraduate electrical engineering program offered in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Johannesburg; and a framework developed to ensure that the program still meets the requisite ECSA exit level outcomes and therefore international standards. This paper presents the design and implementation of the framework, as well as the challenges that students are exposed to when faced with real-world systems engineering practice. Students were grouped into independent product development teams using a software support tool which promotes diversity and skill-level targets for each team. The independent team structure required the use and application of the systems engineering process and supported the development of management and communication skills. Furthermore, the framework allowed assessment of the performance of each product development team towards achieving the overall project objectives. One of the accreditation requirements of undergraduate engineering programs is peer assessment and this was achieved by the process. The paper closes by presenting the results of the stated framework implementation in an undergraduate electrical engineering program offered in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Johannesburg.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME

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