Using microcredentials to enable the use of the NZDE (Civil) to provide more flexible and focused response to industry requirements

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Authors
Wilson, Hugh
Hay, Malcolm
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Date
2018-06
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Other
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
New Zealand
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE)
engineering education
accreditation
engineering students
microcredentials
NZDE (Civil)
employability
university to work transition
Engineering E2E (Firm)
Citation
Wilson, H., & Hay, M. (2018). Using microcredentials to enable the use of the NZDE (Civil) to provide more flexible and focused response to industry requirements. Auckland: Engineering E2E.
Abstract
DISCLAIMER: This is a feasibility report and therefore does not present a fully developed proposal or position. Any opinions and recommendations presented are those of the authors. The report does not represent the position of Unitec nor does it represent the opinions of Unitec staff and management. SUMMARY: This report sets out the results of a feasibility study of the potential use of micro-credentials to supplement the existing New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) program to make it more attractive to a wider range of potential learners. The study was funded by Engineering E2E, which is a government initiative set up to increase the number of people entering the engineering industry. The NZDE is a diploma at Level 6 which produces engineers who can carry out the routine tasks required in engineering practice. It offers civil, mechanical, electrical and electronic strands. This report focuses on the civil strand only. Graduates from the NZDE (Civil) strand can fulfil a number of distinctly different roles in the civil engineering industry including construction site engineers, surveyors, infrastructure engineers, structural engineers and draftsperson. NZDE graduates can also go on to engage in another two or three semesters of full-time study to earn the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech) which is a Level 7 degree that is often partly taught in conjunction with the NZDE. There is a need for more NZDE (Civil) and BEngTech(Civil) graduates to enable the civil engineering industry to meet New Zealand’s building and infrastructure development needs. For the purposes of this study, a micro-credential is a recognition that the holder has demonstrated mastery of a specific competency. In this case the competencies relate to those used in the execution of specific tasks undertaken by NZDE graduates in their particular roles in the civil engineering industry. The mastery of the competency may be from previous experience or may be learnt. The proposed system was developed by identifying the roles that NZDE (Civil) graduates fulfil in the civil engineering industry and then determining the tasks undertaken by graduates in each role. The competencies required to undertake each task were then derived and micro-credentials developed to recognise each competency. It was found that each competency could be represented by a 3 credit micro-credential which would require about 30 hours of learning (about 3 to 4 weeks of part-time study) for someone new to the topic. The micro-credentials were compared with the learning outcomes of NZDE (Civil) courses and arranged into stacks (i.e. groups of micro-credentials) that covered all of the learning outcomes of that particular course. It was found that stacks of five micro-credentials could be used to cover all of the learning outcomes of each corresponding NZDE course. Another finding was that that most of the competencies required by NZDE (Civil) graduates in their first few years of practice could be covered by 10 (out of the total of 21) NZDE courses and a BEngTech course. Some additional micro-credentials had to be added to cover some learning outcomes but the micro-credentials and NZDE syllabus generally agreed. It is proposed that the micro-credential system would be available online at no cost and that each competency can be learnt and the associated micro-credential earnt at any time. The online system would have two components. The first component would be open free learning resources that would enable learners to develop the competency if they do not already have it. These resources would be online videos, readings, websites and activities. Additional services such as online or face-to-face tutoring may also be offered as an additional service, but these are not part of the draft system. The second component would be a system that allows learners (upon payment of an assessment fee) to demonstrate, be assessed, have their identity verified and receive recognition of their mastery of a particular competency by the issuing of micro-credential.
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Engineering E2E
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