Engineering educational institutions have a dominant role to play in shaping the future course of energy and mineral industries. When researching and defining the needs for educating engineers for the next century, Gentry (1) has concluded, "we must develop and implement educational experiences, both in the classroom and the research laboratory, that enable students to keep pace with the world and the technological, social, political, and economic initiatives that drive it."
In its "University-Industry-Government (UIG) Partnership for Quality Engineering Personnel" program announcement (2) the National Science Foundation noted three major impediments to maximizing the quality of engineers produced by some of our academic institutions. "One of them being failure to incorporate major elements of engineering practice into engineering curricula". Apparently the incorporation of such a factor in classrooms has been a matter of high importance in the NSF Engineering Infrastructure Development Program office recently. This paper addresses and investigates some of the aspects of such a practice from teaching principles as well as methodology points of view.
There are many ways one can define "Teaching" and still not be satisfied with the completeness and certainty of these definitions. The reason lies in the fact that the process of teaching involves art, science and humans. Madeline Hunter (3) tries to explain nature of teaching very succintly: "Educators have finally arrived at the point that professionals in medicine achieved when the latter discovered that germs and not evil spirits were causing much of the problem. We now know many cause-effect relationships in teaching and learning. As a result, we can use those causal relationships to promote student learning in the same way the doctor uses his medical knowledge to promote health. In both education and medicine we are learning more each day even though there still remains much we don't know."