Towards deeper comprehension in higher engineering education: "method of cornerstones"

During the current millennium, universities have faced a new kind of problem: there is not enough higher learning in higher education. Driving forces have mainly been economical, since financial pressure and effort for increasing efficiency have given rise to growing amount of accessed and graduated students. In addition, a pressure for accelerated graduation has driven universities to decrease the emphasis on thorough learning of fundamentals. Consequently, during recent decades so called immediate skills have gained excessive role in comparison with long-term skills in engineering education. This is problematic, since the roots of higher learning in engineering are closely related to the sovereign understanding of fundamentals. In our previous paper, we suggested a method to promote higher learning in engineering education, and now we concretise those ideas through a simple case study of electrical engineering. In our example we demonstrate how the cornerstones of modelling are utilised to clarify and to deepen the learning of simplest circuit analysis cases of electrical engineering. However, since the models of natural sciences tend to have a hierarchical structure, method of cornerstones can be applied to many fields of engineering. Recently, a study carried out at MIT ended up to call for "coherent and interconnected curriculum structure" to achieve excellence in engineering education. We suggest that by utilising the hierarchical structure of natural sciences in engineering education, such a cohenernt and interconnected structure can be created. In this paper, we present how method of cornerstones can be used to build such a structure.