Transferability of practitioner-focused civil engineering capstone design courses: An analysis for a US and New Zealand approach


If any engineering courses are unlikely to be transferable between Australasian and overseas universities, one could argue that civil engineering capstone design courses with a strong practical engineering focus would be the least likely. This analysis considers two capstone design courses in the US and New Zealand. The analysis examines the approaches each university has taken to improve design education through simulating professional practice. The two approaches are superficially very different with different course structure and course requirements. In addition the emphasis on site and project, and the consequent dependence on country-specific matters related to regulation and codes, would lead one to expect low transferability. Closer analysis shows that the learning objectives of the courses are relatively similar and that the relationship between site and design are key for both. The challenges faced by the two approaches have much in common, reflecting similar student experiences, and so high transferability. The paper provides details on learning objectives and challenges faced at the two programs to aid others who wish to analyse capstone design experiences across multiple universities. The conclusion is that transferability between these two design experiences is high. The implication is that, through similar forces for educational change in both countries, internationalisation of engineering education is high.


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