Welcome to Engineering and Education: Practice, Innovation and Leadership, one of the two core modules of the UCL MSc in Engineering Education run jointly by the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences and the Institute of Education.

The role and form of education within engineering has increasingly become both more important and more problematic, in relation to (a) the recruitment and formation of engineers as part of initial education and (b) the learning that necessarily takes place as part of engineering work and practice. Three challenges stand out: firstly we need to significantly increase the number of young people, and particularly girls and young women, who choose science and engineering for their career path; secondly, in a world of rapid technological and social change, we need to design and embed new pathways within initial education so that would-be engineers are prepared appropriately; and thirdly, given that engineering work contexts increasingly need to be both collaborative and innovative, we need to understand better the links between workplace learning and innovation, the nature and style of appropriate leadership, and the organisation and structure of the work processes and cultures needed to optimise these links.

This module aims to provide students with theoretical tools and practical perspectives to develop practical ideas on the interrelationship between the organisational environment, professional learning and expertise, and innovation in a range of engineering contexts. It explores the implications of understanding the engineering workplace as a key site for both learning and innovation, of collaborative practice across disciplinary and organisational boundaries as a key source of innovation, and of leadership in developing and maintaining the kinds of working practices and cultures that support learning and innovation. The module also looks at the role of policy in creating enabling frameworks within which engineers can work productively and innovatively.

The individual sessions are not in general structurally linked, but the key themes of the module are intended to be refracted in each of them, so that each session provides a different perspective on the key issues explored by the module as a whole.