The evolution of the Finite Element Analysis course
Steps towards human-centric engineering
In this work, I, the chair of the Software Engineering program at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster University, reflect on the evolution that has happened through an undergraduate engineering course, Finite Element Analysis, over the past 10 years at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster University. I present a chronological sequence of transformations in this course based on internal and external influences. First, I outline the initial focus of the course on applied software skills training, which was advocated by industry partners and aligned with a college partnership, to ensure that students were employable in the automotive and aerospace industry almost immediately upon graduation. I then describe and reflect on two periods of significant change: (a) the enhancement of theoretical content to meet the accreditation and licensing requirements of Professional Engineers Ontario and to prepare students for graduate studies and (b) a recent push to graduate human-centric engineers capable of undertaking engineering work that considers technical, as well as social, human, and environmental issues. I also share my vision for future improvements to ensure that graduates have all the desired competencies. This reflection would serve as a good reference for anyone who wants to undertake such transformations in their course.