IIE MSA launches three new hi-tech labs for engineering students
‘These labs allow students to become acquainted with current digital technologies — a distinct advantage when it comes to entering the workforce'
Engineering students are required to design, analyse and test their creations — now engineering students at IIE MSA in Joburg can do so with the latest technology at its three new hi-tech labs fitted with 2022-era digital technology.
The emphasis on laboratories has increased exponentially over the years in the modern engineering curriculum. This increased reliance on laboratory work in the curriculum and teaching methods mean academic institutions require the latest labs. In addition, lab equipment must not be outdated by the standards of today’s fast-paced and innovative technologies.
Working in a lab is the first hands-on experience that an engineering student gets in their career. Successful practical applications carried out by students in engineering labs helps them become more confident about their knowledge and skills.
IIE MSA is an educational brand of the Independent Institute of Education, the largest private higher education institution in SA.
Wihann van Reenen, programme manager of engineering at IIE MSA, says the institute’s newest engineering laboratories are equipped with the latest technological advances in the respective fields of engineering. “This allows students to be acquainted with current digital technologies instead of outdated ones — a distinct advantage when it comes to entering the workforce.”
Neil Manson, head of the School of Engineering, ICT, Science and Health at IIE MSA, believes that as the fourth industrial revolution gains momentum and automation becomes more prevalent, engineers are a critical driving force of the global and local economy.
“We need more engineers. For the student, the objective of having an engineering laboratory is to ‘practise by doing’. Laboratory courses help them gain insight and understanding of the real world which they learn by a shift from textbook learning to assimilating that learning through observation and doing. However, there’s little point in doing this with outdated technology, as those students will not be acquainted with it in their first work experience,” he says.
The engineering degrees offered at IIE MSA are endorsed by the Engineering Council of SA. They include the IIE bachelor of engineering in electrical and electronic engineering and the IIE bachelor of engineering in mechanical engineering.
“A lab holds critical importance in training engineers. In technical subjects, students would far rather practically apply data in the lab than sit in a lecture hall, hearing pure theory. Together with all necessary computers and additional equipment, we can offer our students more modern machinery within our smaller, more intimate classes and remarkable one-on-one supervision,” says Mason.
“Students will use these facilities during class-based demonstrations and experiments and will also have the opportunity to use the equipment for individual and group-based exploration during their design and research projects. Our new facilities will cater for the set work practicums of the IIE accredited courses,” says van Reenen.
IIE MSA opened a physics lab on campus in 2020 and began designing a multimillion-rand of fully-fledged and equipped labs in July 2021. One facility is a general use electronics laboratory for the electrical and electronic engineering programme; one a chemistry laboratory; and the third a mechanical engineering laboratory that caters for all the major testing required of the course — fluid dynamics, thermo dynamics, and strength of materials testing.
In addition to the imported engineering equipment, a computer lab with high-spec computers has been created for the engineering students.
“Whereas many lab facilities offer analogue equipment, ours will be digital and ‘smart’ wireless technology facilitating links to various required apps, phones and PCs. This technology, in turn, replicates what our first tranche of graduates are likely to work with in the private sector. The students are the ultimate winners, as our small-class personal attention philosophy is now extended to the practicums while enabling improved scheduling and significant time-saving," says van Reenen.
“Being in a lab is the most fun a student can have — as they get to play around with concepts they’ve previously only learned in theory."
2022 applications are now open at IIE MSA for all IIE programmes, including the bachelor of engineering in electrical and electronic engineering and bachelor of engineering in mechanical engineering degrees. Classes start on February 28.
To find out more about studying engineering, visit iiemsa.co.za, where you can request a consultation with one of IIE MSA’s student advisers. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011-950-4009.
This article was paid for by IIE MSA.