Estonian Centre for Engineering Pedagogy
Estonian Centre for Engineering Pedagogy (ECEP) was founded in 2001 according to the Protocol of Good Will, signed by Estonian Minister of Education and Research, Rector of University of Tartu, Rector of University of Tallinn, and Rector of Tallinn University of Technology (TUT). The Protocol of Good Will is stating that ECEP at TUT concentrates the research and development in the field of engineering and technology education in TUT and implements the research results into the education of technical teachers in Estonia. ECEP carries out and coordinates educational research in TUT, education of technical teachers and engineering educators, organises pedagogical teacher training practice and pedagogical practice of doctoral students in TUT, and coordinates continuing pedagogical education, in cooperation with the Open University of TUT, Education Technology Centre, Personnel Office, TUT faculties and European programmes of development of research and quality in education (Eduko and Primus).
ECEP is the only representative office of International Society for Engineering Education (IGIP) in Estonia and in the Baltic region, being accredited by IGIP as Engineering Education Training Centre for International Educators (for the periods of 2003-2007; 2008-2012; 2013-2017) . ECEP is the only centre of technical teacher education in the Baltic region, being one of 45 accredited centres from 75 countries of the world, represented in IGIP. According to IGIP requirements the accredited international centre for engineering education should appertain to a technical university, a unique didactical environment for teaching engineering.
Advisory Board of Education of Teachers and Professors at Tallinn University of Technology has been founded at TUT in 2010 (order of the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs 22.12.2010, No 403), including representatives from TUT (specialists of teacher education and teaching engineering), wide range of representatives out of the university - representatives from the Estonian Ministry of Education, University of Tartu, University of Tallinn, representatives of Estonian Qualification Authority, employers and leaders of centres of vocational education of Estonia. The mission of Advisory Board is to develop engineering education, teacher education in the field of engineering, and new measures for the further development of engineering education and its quality.
Head of Estonian Centre for Engineering Pedagogy, Tiia Rüütmann has been the member of Executive Committee of IGIP since 2010 and the president of IGIP International Monitoring Committee since 2014, and lector of ECEP Hants Kipper has been the member of International Monitoring Committee of IGIP since 2011. Both, T. Rüütmann and H. Kipper have actively participated in the elaboration of the international curriculum for technical teachers of IGIP since 2010.
TUT has the central and coordinative position of engineering education and technical teacher education in Estonia. Since 2001 TUT had a joint curriculum for technical teacher education (on Master level) together with University of Tartu. Since 2006 TUT has its own curriculum for technical teacher education on Master level. The curriculum has been accredited internationally by IGIP and graduates who have passed academic higher education in engineering (5 years) and technical teacher education, and have at least 1 year of teaching experience, may apply for international title and relevant diploma of International Engineering Educator (ING-PAED IGIP).
Quality of engineering education crucially depends on the quality of teaching. In order to improve the quality of engineering education, the foremost mission should be the improvement of the quality of education of engineering educators. Without improving the education of educators we cannot bring about any positive changes in the overall educational system. This is the reason why educational research and research-based Engineering Pedagogy Science is of great importance in TUT, being also newly developing science of wide interest in Europe and worldwide.
The aim of TUT is to evolve educational research in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), especially in the field of technology and engineering, and to educate qualified technical teachers for educational system of Estonia. ECEP of TUT has implemented numerous research-based contemporary effective teaching models, methods and strategies, balancing E-learning and classroom teaching, science-based knowledge in engineering speciality and engineering pedagogy in teacher education and continuing education, in order to meet the recommendation of worldwide known engineering educator Ruben Cubero: “As you enter a classroom, ask yourself this question: “If there were no students in the room, could I do what I am planning to do? - If your answer to this question is yes, don’t do it!”
Nobel prizes and research results create the prestige of educational institutions of technology - the quality of education however is determined by professors’ daily instruction. That is why educational research is of essential importance in TUT.