Engineering attractiveness in the european educational environment: Can distance education approaches make a difference?
Lasica, Ilona Elefteryja
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The recent phenomenon of worldwide declining enrolments in engineering-related degrees has led to the gradual decrease in the number of engineering graduates. This decrease occurs at a time of increasing demand in the labour market for highly qualified engineers, who are necessary for the implementation of fundamental societal functions. This paper initially presents a survey of practices, which are currently employed by academic institutions in Europe in order to increase the attractiveness of their engineering studies. It then provides a detailed analysis of the benefits and proliferation of distance education to increase attractiveness of engineering studies based on a set of interviews. Results of this study, highlight a lack of a distance-learning dimension in the implementation of engineering studies in the European Area and discusses in detail ways in which distance learning can be utilised in engineering studies for the benefit of increasing their attractiveness. It has also been noted that institutions employing distance learning as part of their engineering studies, see this as highly beneficial for their students but also for the academic institution itself with some reservations in terms of the pedagogical adequacy of materials and instructional approaches used in distance education courses.