From Building to Bildung
Engineering Students’ Motivation Towards Interacting with Society
In this study 567 engineering students are asked about their motivation for becoming engineers, and what non-technical topics engineers should know about. The study is conducted in connection with teaching the course “Introduction to the engineering profession”, that incorporates Bildung-related topics into the engineering education. The data suggests that intrinsic motivations connecting to the engineering profession were common, and that many students have the prospect of building, creating or developing as a central motivational factor. The paper suggests using this as a starting point to raise perspectives of engineers as builders also of society and incorporating discussions around the societal role of an engineer, while also teaching subjects like ethics from a “technology and ethics” starting point. This seems the most fruitful way to dip into the intrinsic motivation of the engineering students when teaching topics where they themselves may not immediately see the connection to their role as engineers in making.
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