Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Paper presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Conference, Dublin, 31st. May - 1st. April, 2015.


This paper is inspired by the development of the proposed new technological university in Dublin; TU4Dublin is to become “Dublin’s Globally Engaged University” and is to be located at the nexus between learning and engagement (TU4Dublin, 2015). This study investigates engineering education in the context of career focused education. The main objective of this study is to investigate whether engineering students’ cognitive engagement benefits from bridging the gap between technical issues and the practical realities of modern engineering practice. A portfolio of engineering practice illustrating the practical realities of modern engineering practice in the context of Engineers Ireland’s competencies is developed and presented to first year electronic engineering students at the Institute of Technology Tallaght Dublin (ITTD). A mixed methods approach is used to evaluate the impact of the portfolio usage on first year electronic engineering students’ learning engagement. The results show that heightened interest in professional practice increases students’ value of engineering education and consequently students demonstrate greater cognitive engagement. It is concluded that incorporating real life engineering experiences into the first year engineering education experience greatly enhances it.