Design and structure

The ENGAGE programme has been designed to support students  in addressing the issues mentioned above. 

ENGAGE was designed according to the following principles:

  1. Students should be supported in making the transition from high school to university.
  2. Student workload (time students spend working) should be high throughout.
  3. The volume of work (amount of content covered) should be low initially and increase over time.
  4. Support should be high initially and decrease over time.
  5. Students should encounter familiar subjects early in the programme, less familiar subjects later on.

The decrease in support and increase in volume of work over the first three years are accomplished as follows:

  1. In Year 1 students take a reduced credit load comprising Level 100 basic science mainstream modules and additional modules, plus Professional Orientation.
  2. In Year 2 students take Level 100 engineering modules and additional modules. They take more credits than in Year 1 but fewer than 4-year programme students. They also take half of the required Level 200 mathematics modules, with no additional support.
  3. In Year 3 students take Level 200 engineering modules and the other half of Level 200 mathematics modules. There are no additional modules, but the number of credits is slightly lower than for 4-year programme students.  

The philosophy of the programme is represented in the diagram below.

Additional modules are given in parallel with the mainstream modules. For example, students take Additional Mathematics in parallel with Mathematics. Additional modules are not extra tutorials. They have their own curricula. The objectives of the additional modules are to help students acquire background knowledge they may have missed at school, develop conceptual understanding of key concepts in the discipline and acquire problem-solving skills.  

 

The additional modules and Professional Orientation are called Developmental Modules because they help students develop a range of knowledge and skills needed to succeed academically, professionally and personally.  ENGAGE students take a mixture of mainstream modules, which they attend together with 4-year programme students, and developmental modules.

 

Comparison between the ENGAGE and the 4-year B.Eng Programmess

ENGAGE Programme

4-Year Programme

YEAR 1
 
Cr
 
Cr
Mainstream Science (level 100)
80
Mainstream Science and Eng (level 100)
144
Developmental
48
 
 
YEAR 2
Mainstream (level 100 + two 200)
96
Mainstream (level 200)
144
Developmental
32
 
 
YEAR 3
Mainstream (level 200)
128
Mainstream (level 300)
144
YEAR 4
Mainstream (level 300)
144
Mainstream (level 400)
152/160
YEAR 5
Mainstream (level 400)
152/160
 
 

 

ENGAGE students are also supported in developing the professional conduct of a successful student. For example, successful students attend class. Not all first year students have the self-discipline to attend class all the time. Because of the very fast pace of the courses, Engineering students who miss even a few classes risk failing. Therefore attendance is compulsory in ENGAGE. Successful students are able to judge how well they understand their work and keep up to date. Many first year students think they understand yet are surprised when they fail their tests. In addition, many first year students do not manage their time well and so fall behind.   For these reasons ENGAGE students are required to submit an assignment in each module every week. Submitting assignments regularly ensures that students keep up to date while allowing both the students and the lecturers to see how well students are performing on a regular basis.

In some of the mainstream modules students may have lectures in groups of more than 500 students. Many first year students feel overwhelmed and insignificant in such large groups. ENGAGE students are divided into groups of about 50 students in the developmental modules. This gives students the opportunity to receive more personal attention (although it is not possible to give students the amount of individual attention they received at school). Learning to function independently and cultivate self-discipline are two of the most important attributes of successful students.

Published by Anneli Jansen van Rensburg

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