A good scientist is a person with original ideas.
A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with
as few original ideas as possible
One of the priority practical tasks of higher technical education is to improve the quality of education in line with the requirements of high-tech contemporary industry. Modern alumni should possess critical thinking and creative thinking skills, the ability to predict the situation and think by the notions of the process, be able to define and realign goals “play by the ear”, as provided by new circumstances and act in light of several alternatives.
Technical universities train future alumni to be result-oriented, able to operate under constraints caused by deadlines, generate new concepts, estimate their accuracy or reliability, put forward engineering solutions to problems, provide an opinion or judgment on them . The quality of higher technical education can be assessed according to the following criteria:
- competence of university alumni;
- the ability to think outside the box, generate new ideas, explore them and make effective decisions;
- the ability to realize one’s intellectual and spiritual potential;
- occupational mobility;
- the ability to respond quickly to changes in the constantly evolving practical and scientific activities;
- engineering thinking.
Engineering thinking is a kind of thinking appearing in the solution of engineering tasks, allowing to solve tasks quickly and accurately, aimed at meeting the technical needs . It is a rational, unemotional, methodical thinking and a method for achieving success . Engineering thinking must be based on a well-developed imagination and includes different kinds of thinking:
- spatial, etc.
Engineering thinking is a pragmatic thinking designed to create, build, construct, test the correctness of results and carry out a technical plan through its practical implementation. The most important result of engineering thinking is the solution of specific technical, technological, industrial, managerial and organizational challenges through technical means and innovation to achieve the most cost-effective and high-quality results, to humanize the production, labor, equipment and technology .
Engineering thinking is a system of creative technical thinking, allowing one to see the problem from different angles, see the connections between its parts and see the past, present and future of the whole process . Engineering thinking helps to offer, choose and justify engineering concepts based on physical science, mathematics, law, medicine, literature, rhetoric and philosophy knowledge .
Engineering thinking is developed by:
- orientation on development rather than on teaching;
- use of innovative teaching methods and technologies (project-based learning, case-study method, etc.);
- use of computer technologies;
- interdisciplinary approach to teaching disciplines;
- students’ creative cognitive activity in the educational process [2, 3].
Thus, engineering thinking and the ability of specialists to apply scientific and technical creativity is the key to progress in production engineering, increase in performance and quality of labour. The conformation of engineering thinking is largely dependent on the quality of the educational process at the university. The formation of a many-sided personality, harmonious specialist with system engineering thinking, is attributed to the use of interdisciplinary approach to teaching, variety of teaching methods, students’ active research activities and creation of a comfortable learning environment stimulating creative processes and innovative technical ideas.
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4. Сазонова З.С., Чечеткина Н.В. Развитие инженерного мышления – основа повышения качества образования. М.: МАДИ (ГТУ), 2007. 195 с.
5. McCready M.J. Defining engineers: how engineers think about the world https://www3.nd.edu/~mjm/engineer.essay.pdf (accessed April 25, 2015).
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