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BEng: Mechatronics is offered in a co-operative manner. A co-operative education programme is one in which academic study for entry into a profession is usually combined with an experiential period of learning in industry in such a way that they supplement each other. The experiential period involves the solution of real problems, giving practical experience of the application and usefulness of knowledge gained at the Nelson Mandela University. Project work is submitted for academic assessment during the experiential period. Professionals of any discipline need appropriate work experience before they can practise their chosen career effectively. Experience shows that the integration of theory and inservice/experiential learning creates diplomats who are more mature and hence readily employable. Work experience encourages students to develop a greater sense of responsibility, place more reliance on their judgement, and find greater meaning in their studies.
A student who has successfully completed this module can:
Appreciate the impact of co-workers, the business and the environment on engineering work.
Appreciate the impact of engineering work on co-workers, the business and the environment.
Compile a technical report.
Vacation Training 1 and Vacation Training 2 must be done in two separate terms. Vacation Training 1 may be done at any time after the first academic year but not late that the start of the third academic year. Vacation Training 2 may be done at any time after the start of a student’s third academic year but not late that the start of the second semester of the fourth academic year.
A term must normally be completed in one vacation period. If a term is uninterrupted, it must be at least four weeks long. If a term has an interruption (e.g. due to a shutdown of the company where the vacation training is done), it must be at least six weeks long. Any other arrangement regarding duration or interruptions must have the prior written approval of the Head of Department of Mechatronics.
Although the Nelson Mandela University will help as far as possible to arrange the practical learning, in the final instance the onus in this respect will be on the student. Many firms sponsor students and in these cases the experiential learning is naturally arranged by the sponsoring firm. Experiential Learning or Co-operative Education is a program that formally integrates a student’s academic studies with work experience in participating employer organisations. It is a compulsory component of the BEng: Mechatronics qualification and has to be controlled and managed accordingly.
The Department of Co-operative Education and Graduate Placement assists with student placements and provides the following services to students and potential employers or training institutions:
• Job adverts.
• Facilitating Interviews.
• Assisting with contracts.
The Head of Department (HOD) is responsible for the guidelines for experiential learning, monitoring, assessment and accrediting the training.
The HOD or Experiential Training Administrator may be consulted for any clarifications needed.
The student must submit a vacation training report for each completed experiential learning program, on or before the commencement of the next academic semester.
Experiential learning not registered, will not be recognised for the BEng: Mechatronics qualification.