A few months ago I started an experiment by asking students if they were aware of what they were studying and if they were aware what the Engineering field actually is and what an Engineer does and how his or her work environment looks like. Of course if you start an experiment you have to set an example first. So I shared my thoughts with my students:
“Is the world really waiting for Engineers? What are the grand challenges we face between now and 2050? Is there a place and moment in time where our Engineers really will make a difference? I think Engineers are the Masters of The Universe. We observe, think, create, visualize, design, build, control and use all there is right now in the world. Without Engineers the world would look like the moon! So what is your drive to become an Engineer?”
You can imagine the reactions of my students. They never ever thought about this before. Strange isn’t. We people tend to do things and we don’t really give it much thought or reason. Anyway this project took a different turn. Students became interested in this topic. They started to discuss and brainstorm about this topic. The dynamics in the classroom was just amazing. Who said college is boring! If you can motivate students and give them more then just filling their head they will work hard and intensive and make sure there will be good results. One of my students even took the effort to share his thought with the rest of the group and later with the rest of the world by posting his thoughts on Facebook. Well done!