Mechanics of Solids is a second year undergraduate subject, undertaken by both Civil and Mechanical engineering students at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Mechanics of Solids has been delivered for many years in a traditional format with lectures and problem solving tutorials. As part of a national Australian project “Enhancing Industry Exposure in Engineering Degrees”, UTS in partnership with other universities and industry partners in Australia has sought industry involvement to engage students with the real-world challenges of engineering practice.
The main objective of this project is to design, develop and implement learning modules in Mechanis of Solids that integrate industry exposure to provide context for the concepts included in this subject.
The project consisted of six guest lectures by industry representatives on topics related to typical Mechanics of Solids subject matter and two seminars on using MDSolids software.
Students completed a collaborative assignment aligned with one of the industry presentations. Their reports and presentations were assessed on assessment criteria which included contextual understanding, judgement, effective collaboration and creativity, and their perceptions were captured to evaluate the impact of industry engagement in this subject.
One of the major benefits of this project was students’ better understanding of engineering practice. There were also positive effects on students’ motivation for learning engineering.
This paper reports the major findings, outcomes and challenges for implementing enhancing industry exposure approach in Mechanics of Solids subject at UTS. The main finding of this research concluded that this project is very valuable to both students as it promotes exposure to real-world engineering challenges. The students’ exposure to real and substantive challenges improves their contextual understanding, plus their judgement, practice based planning, teamwork, and initiative learning skills.
Industrial exposure, motivation, MDSolids and Mechanics of Solids