In March of 2020, the Covid-19 Pandemic presented engineering programs in Canada with the daunting challenge of shifting abruptly to remote delivery of all undergraduate engineering programs in the middle of the winter term. Individual instructors were supported in completing their courses in whatever way was possible given that both students and faculty members were in the process of relocating unexpectedly and dealing with changing life obligations under a national lock down.
It soon became clear that it would be necessary moving forward to prepare for a variety of remote program delivery scenarios, with approaches that maintained the standards defined by the CEAB (Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board). The available preparation time to rise to this challenge ranged from a few months for those readying for the fall term, to none at all for those who have year round co-op and offer summer terms.
A national collaborative initiative providing support and resources to all engineering educators in Canada was deemed absolutely essential. In response, Engineering Deans Canada (EDC) enlisted the support of national engineering education initiatives including:
- Canadian Engineering Education Association – Association Canadienne de l’Éducation en Génie (CEEA-ACEG),
- Engineering Graduate Attributes Development Project (EGAD),
- Canadian Engineering Education Challenge (CEEC),
- Engineering Change Lab (ECL),
- Institute for Engineering Teaching (IET),
- Institute for Engineering Education Research (IEER),
E-CORE’s mandate is to not only provide support in the wake of a crisis, but also explore emerging opportunities for the advance of engineering education. The initiative launched by conducting a survey nationally in order to identify priority needs, and populate a directory of educators within the community. Those results are being used to prioritize the development of resources and supports that will be delivered on an ongoing basis as they are available.
This web hub provides access to all E-CORE supports, and is developing resources in response to the data obtained, including:
- Discussion Forums
- Peer Directory
- Working Groups
E-CORE has been framed within the broader Engineering Education system in Canada. As the E-CORE team continues to work on developing working groups, resources, and relationships between instructors across the country, there are a number of principles that are guiding our approach, which are:
- Informed by research from relevant higher education change management literature
- Linked to longer term objectives to ensure utility and relevance beyond current pandemic circumstances
- Urgent and agile, given the time constraints to rapidly act, but pivot and iterate as necessary
- Applying a systems level focus to account for complexity and different interconnected frames of the Canadian Engineering Education system
- Collaborative: working with the willing, with outcomes accessible to all engineering educators in Canada
This multi-faceted approach will help to ensure that the efforts of the Initiative going forward are robust and consistent.
In order to effectively communicate the goals, resources, and activities of the Initiative, a Logic Model has been developed. The Project Framing and Logic Model document provides an overview of the targeted short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes for the E-CORE project. Of course, in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment, the framing itself will also be evolving. The most recent version of E-CORE’s Project Framing and Logic Model document can be viewed here.