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The lack of attractiveness of engineering as a course of study has been a major concern at Victoria University (VU). Students enrolling in undergraduate courses at VU lower cut-off entry scores than students enrolling in engineering at other Melbourne universities. This impacted course standards, attrition rates and perceptions of engineering education at VU. The decision in 2005 to introduce problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogy was to differentiate engineering education at VU from that of other universities. This new pedagogical paradigm was followed by an extensive publicity and marketing at secondary schools in Melbourne. The number of preferences for engineering studies at VU has increased without affecting the entry cut-off scores. The objective of this study is to examine whether marketing engineering courses through distinct pedagogy had any effect in attracting and retaining students. Surveys of second year engineering students have shown that the proportion of students at VU who chose engineering in high schools as their first choice of study has increased and the number of students who were considering transferring to other courses or universities has decreased. It is envisaged that at a 7 year study would produce the results required to differentiate between the marketing of engineering and pedagogical influences.
Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2011
Date of Conference: 12-15 Oct. 2011