The order of skills development for technician and technologist training curricula

S. Gqibani, N. Clarke, A. L. Nel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is offering a National Diploma (NDip) and a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech). The NDip is a qualification that is aimed at training technicians while the BEngTech is for training technologists. During the first year of study of both qualifications, students are taught Mechanical Engineering Drawing and Mechanical Engineering Manufacturing. Mechanical Engineering Manufacturing has a handskills project where students are required to use basic tools to make a component (like a file, hacksaw, engineers square, taps and so on). The project is presented to them in the form of a drawing. Students are expected to read, interpret and understand the drawing so that they can be able to produce the required product. There is an expectation that students have the necessary skills of understanding a drawing. The skills of understanding a drawing are taught in the Mechanical Engineering Drawing module. The National Diploma students are taught drawing and manufacturing simultaneous, so they do the handskills project while doing drawing. While the BEngTech students learn drawing in the first semester and then do the handskills project during the second semester. The BEngTech curriculum is designed such that drawing prepares students for the handskills project that will follow in the second semester. This paper is exploring the benefits of designing a curriculum such that knowledge taught to the students can be useful and applied by other modules if need be. A qualitative research method is used where students and laboratory technicians are interviewed. From data gathered, the NDip students alluded to the fact that laboratory technicians had to teach them how to read and interpret a drawing. They also highlighted the fact that if they had been taught drawing already, it would have been much easier to read and interpret the handskills drawing. The BEngTech students had a clear advantage. They understood the project because they were better prepared in the drawing class. Laboratory technicians felt that the BEngTech students produced a better product and were better prepared for the task. The paper is contributing to the curriculum design process, prerequisite knowledge should be taken into consideration and students should be better equipped for the tasks that lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2018 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Trends and Challenges of Engineering Education, EDUCON 2018
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538629574
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018
Event2018 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference - Emerging Trends and Challenges of Engineering Education, EDUCON 2018 - Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Duration: 17 Apr 201820 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON
ISSN (Print)2165-9559
ISSN (Electronic)2165-9567


Conference2018 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference - Emerging Trends and Challenges of Engineering Education, EDUCON 2018
CitySanta Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands


  • prerequisite knowledge
  • Technician
  • technologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Education


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