“Try On” Engineering Before College!
Little engineers used to tinker in Dad’s garage, work on their first car, or build soapbox cars. They learned some hard skills by taking wood, auto, or metal shop in middle school. Or perhaps they started by tearing something apart – a vacuum, cell phone, or computer – and reassembling it – successfully.
Studying engineering in college today is tougher than it was “back in the day.” First, students have to be admitted to the program as they enter college. Then, they are competing with crazy smart kids. The “indicators” for aptitude in this field tend to be high school success in higher math and the sciences. There typically hasn’t been a way to “try on” engineering prior to entering college.
Brown University has an innovative idea: create an open, free online course for high school students that would allow them to get a better understanding of what engineering really is, and make a better decision about their next steps. http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/brown-university-creates-a-mooc-for-high-school-students/?_r=0
The officials behind the Brown initiative said their primary motivation was a larger national concern: the growing shortage of engineering graduates in a job market that demands them, as a result of misinformation, insufficient preparation, and fears about the difficulty of engineering.
Bravo to this forward-thinking university for bringing new learning that will provide real information and inspiration to young adults!
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