The International Partnership Network
I was invited to participate at the international conference in Houston in October this year and I was fortunate to be able to meet up with many of the people I had met in Lillestrøm two years ago. The highlight was, of course, the talk by the astronaut Bill McArthur, a retired United States Army colonel and NASA astronaut and a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one expedition to the International Space Station via the Russian Soyuz capsule. And also George Abbey, a former director of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute of Rice University. They were both among those who gave out the awards, see picture below.
The topic of the conference was how schools and universities, by establishing a connection with business partners, can benefit their students. In Norway schools are under strict rules that do not allow private student funding for school trips, therefore this will be vital if we want to continue our international travels. I am already contemplating the possibilities.
Traditional classroom work alone isn’t cutting it
This is powerful when coming from the astronaut Bill McArthur, and it resonates with my own assumptions. Here are the bullet points from his slides.
- Traditional Methods still have their place but are not as effective as they once were
- We need to have more than memorization and repetition
- Students have a problem with retention of the complex concepts in our industry
- Graduates traditionally have been given comprehensive training upon employment
- Education has been used as a way to “weed out” potential graduates, and the actual training was done by the employers
- In the 21st century, employers do not have the resources to provide the level of training that they once did.
Project-based learning is making an impact
- Instead of rote learning, students are given a “hands-on experience” by doing a project
- This provides real-world insight into the lesson learned “from the book”
- Many universities have added more design projects to their engineering curriculum with this in mind
Benefits of student projects
- Graduates are:
- Ready for the rigors of the working world
- More developed in social skills and self-esteem
- Capable of dealing with setbacks and disappointment
- Able to analyze how the different systems and disciplines work together
- Strong time managers