We are transforming the undergraduate experience into a rich experiential learning opportunity to prepare students to be flexible in a rapidly-changing world and to meet challenges not yet imagined.
It’s time to transform engineering education.
The urgent need for future-ready students is colliding with traditional engineering pedagogy, making a new, re-imagined and redefined educational journey essential. It is one that must combine complex problem solving, critical thinking, adaptability and creativity to prepare students for a world of disruption, collision and creative forces. Experiential learning is key to our students’ success.
With engineering more fully integrated into life than ever before, we must capitalize on our strengths as a university and ensure our students have the capacity to collaborate and thrive in this rapidly changing environment.
Our goal? To ensure every student graduating from McMaster Engineering is a resilient, calculated risk-taker who is intellectually curious and unfazed by failure.
To get there, we must disrupt ourselves and change the direction of our educational approach by implementing a massive educational change: The Pivot.
With the Pivot, we are:
Transforming the student experience both inside and outside the classroom
Creating a culture of collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and big ideas
Educating a new generation of global citizens ready to tackle the world’s grand challenges
Our Key Competencies:
- Mentored research or project experiences to enhance technical competence and creativity.
- Understanding and bridging multiple and diverse ways of defining problems and posing solutions.
- Understanding gained through experience that viable business models are necessary for the successful implementation of engineering solutions.
- Understanding gained through experiences where serious consideration of cultural issues is mandatory to successfully implement engineering solutions.
- Deepen social consciousness and motivation to address global and local societal problems because serving people is the vision of engineering.
The Pivot is the first program of its kind to intensely focus on our engineering students and their learning, not the specific projects they tackle. Design thinking, an innovation mindset and entrepreneurship are embedded in all programming.
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We’ve introduced a project-based learning experience to give students real-world experience and enhance breadth and depth of knowledge.
- “Chalk and talk” has been replaced by self-directed and group learning
- Current, industry-relevant projects bring flexibility to our curriculum
- Teamwork and communications skills are integrated throughout all levels
Reimagining education means reimagining where and how we deliver it.
- Learning spaces are suited for teamwork and inspiring creativity
- There are integrated activities inside and outside the classroom
McMaster Engineering has a long history of putting students at the centre of their own learning.
- Experiential Education enhancements: Living Learning Communities, Grand Challenges Scholars Program
- Undergraduate Research Experiences enhancement: from 269 students to 400
- Credentials transformation: Blockchain technology, micro credentials to recognize experiential learning
- Co-op Growth: In 2021/2022, there were over 4,000 four-month work experiences at the undergraduate level.
Integrated Cornerstone Design Projects in Engineering (1P13)
This redesigned Engineering 1 course, 1P13, deviates from siloed-thinking and integrates four courses into one seamless, project-based learning experience. The course is offered as a whole to all students who study in our 11 accredited engineering programs.
The course launched in September 2020 in a fully virtual format, transformed to a hybrid format in September 2021, and moved fully in-person in January 2022.
Students work in teams on four design projects to develop solutions to real-life problems. They are challenged to innovate and with the guiding principle of finding a solution that makes life better.
Students are first presented with small bite-size problems based around industrially-relevant issues and move on to larger challenges with no obvious resolutions.
The projects reinforce flexible thinking, evaluation of ideas, and teamwork skills – but other important elements are embedded in the process. Students must develop social consciousness, and draw deeply on design thinking when they meet a client with a problem that needs solving – empathizing, defining, ideating, creating prototypes and testing.
Here are the projects:
Project 0: Autonomous vehicle challenge: programming a robot for motion control
Project 1: Renewable technology challenge: mechanical design of turbine blades in renewable wind technology
Project 2: Healthcare challenge: design of a system for sterilizing surgical tools
Project 3: Sustainability challenge: design of a system for sorting and recycling containers
Project 4: Community challenge: device design for a working mother with autoimmune conditions
Integrated Engineering Design Project 2 (2PX3)
This multi-disciplinary experiential learning course, 2PX3, students are instructed in both engineering design and technical communication.
Students from different engineering disciplines work together in teams on a long-term design project by following the PERSEID process: Performance + Environmental + Regulatory + Socio-cultural screening for Engineering Integrated Design. Through this process, students are exposed to a broad, complex, authentic engineering systems and societal stakeholder considerations.
Engineering design is carried out following a phased progression of design alternative assessment based on realistic design considerations, including testing and validation through simulation, as well as a balance of scaffolded activities and creative design-space.
Students learn not only to carry out engineering design, but also to become better designers. It is not only important to produce great engineering designs through PERSEID process, it is equally important to communicate those ideas effectively: students will give presentations and create written material, such as technical reports, to enhance their skills.
The 2021/2022 projects included: Infrastructure for Self-Driving Vehicles, McMaster Recycling Plant, 3D Printed Housing for Canadian Neighbourhoods and Source Water Monitoring
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How Mac Eng students solved 4 design challenges in 2022
April 29, 2022
Coming soon: INTEGRATED ENGINEERING DESIGN PROJECT 3 (3PX3)
The multi-disciplinary integrated learning course, 3PX3, completes the “design spine” from the Pivot. It will have students develop skills in engineering design, project management, and engineering economics through a term-long project that addresses current issues in society.
Students individually apply discipline-specific analysis tools to develop models, use them to determine the economic impact of potential design decisions and optimize as a team to determine best set of design decisions in the context of the complete project
It will be offered for the first time in 2022-2023.
Support The Pivot
The Pivot is a $15 million initiative that will transform the undergraduate engineering education. The funds needed to support The Pivot will be provided by a combination of philanthropic support and faculty funds.
Donors have an infinite impact. Your gift will have a lasting impact on our students!
To learn more, contact Lindsay Bolan.