From March to May 2019 Engineers Ireland worked with Irish Water and the TU Dublin School of Civil Engineering (Bolton Street) to deliver a pilot case study for final-year undergraduates, and it is envisioned that it will be used by Irish third level institutions as a template for future industry case studies

Elec

From March to May 2019 Engineers Ireland worked with Irish Water and the TU Dublin School of Civil Engineering (Bolton Street) to deliver a pilot case study for final-year undergraduates, and it is envisioned that it will be used by Irish third level institutions as a template for future industry case studies.

The structure of the course was that during the first lecture the client (Irish Water) presented to the students on the problem they wanted solved and members of the Irish Water Graduate Scheme were available to offer feedback. Employees continued to act as a resource for the students if they needed further information throughout the case study.

The students acted as consulting engineers in this case study, and between March and May 2019 the students split into various teams which addressed different parts of the briefing, ranging from costings and safety to environmental impact.

Real world engineering project


The lecturer involved in delivering the module, Dr Ahmed Elssidig Nasr, says: “The joint project which we delivered this year in conjunction with Irish Water was exceptional as it gave our students an opportunity to work on a real world engineering project.

Members of the pilot case study in discussion during a mentoring class.

“Also our students managed to use the best practice procedure in engineering projects management and they benefited from interaction with the Irish Water engineers who played the role of the client in this project.

“Positive feedback has been received from both students and Irish Water and this indicates the success of this project.”

Case study: Leixlip transfer pipeline


But what exactly was the case study presented to the students? Known as the Leixlip transfer pipeline, Irish Water is progressing an upgrade to the wastewater infrastructure in the lower Liffey Valley area.

The project includes the construction of a pumping station within the site boundary of the Leixlip wastewater treatment plant and construction of about 8km of underground twin rising main from the Leixlip wastewater treatment plant to a strategic sewer near Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. Works on the project are due to commence in late 2019.

This significant project will ensure that the wastewater network in Leixlip will have the capacity to provide for future population growth and economic development in the lower Liffey Valley catchment area.

It forms part of Irish Water’s investment to upgrade the strategic wastewater network in the greater Dublin area.

Who are these students, with the Case Study integrated into their final year exams?
The class involved in this case study was those of TU Dublin BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, Level 8 honours degree, the final year civil engineers DT027/4 (formerly DIT Bolton Street).

This is the project that the students are given as practical experience of working closely with their client, in this case, Irish Water, in developing solutions and solving problems in developing the Leixlip pipeline.

Mícheál Gallagher spoke to Sarah Ryan, one of the final year students involved, to get an insight into how the case study experience for the students was.

Ryan, who after completing her Level 7 BEng took a year out to work in the engineering industry, says: “This case study pilot module provided real industry experience of what it’s like to be an engineer.”

One of the aspects Ryan enjoyed was how the class was divided into six groups that explored a different aspect to the challenge: “Each of the six teams investigated a different aspect of the project, whether it was the costings involved, the traffic plan, or the environmental impact.

“One member from each team came together and into a seventh team dedicated to project management, co-ordinating the six groups. This was critical at the scale of the project and delivering a coherent solution to Irish Water.”

Ryan herself took on the role of the head of the project management team, co-ordinating the various project managers of the six groups and making sure that the solution handed over to the client was comprehensive and coherent.

“It was a good real-world leaning, compared to my previous industry experience it was in line with what I had experienced,” she says.

“I enjoyed the engagement with the graduate scheme employees who were fresh out of college – these graduates provided the details/clarifications we needed to deliver our consultancy project to Irish Water.

“They both understood the needs of final years and gave an insight into what it would be like to work for Irish Water after graduating.”

The students’ feedback was positive, particularly how much they learnt through coming up with solutions for the problem Irish Water presented.

Closest to professional practice experience


For many students, especially those who hadn’t previously participated in an internship, they felt that this project came the closest to professional practice experience that they’ve had to date.

The external client gave it an extra dimension of realness and the students had direct feedback over whether the solution presented back would be up to the standards in the industry.

Thankfully it was, and Irish Water was pleased to see that the presentation delivered by the students was in line with the projections they had completed internally.

Asked for final reflections of his case study experience as a lecturer, Dr Ahmed Elssidig Nasr says: “Working with the industry in delivering practical-based projects as part of our students learning activities is one of the strengths in our civil engineering programme in TU Dublin which we strive to maintain.

“Through working on these projects our students gain a wide range of essential skills and academic knowledge required in professional practice and this contributes significantly to the employability of our graduates.

“The joint project which we delivered this year in conjunction with Irish Water was exceptional as it gave our students an opportunity to work on a real-world engineering project.

“Also our students managed to use the best practice procedure in engineering projects management and they benefited from interaction with the Irish Water engineers who played the role of the client in this project.

“A positive feedback has been received from both students and Irish Water and this indicates the success of this project.”

https://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/a1a-5-1024x683.jpghttps://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/a1a-5-300x300.jpgDavid O'RiordanElecDIT,Irish Water,wastewater
From March to May 2019 Engineers Ireland worked with Irish Water and the TU Dublin School of Civil Engineering (Bolton Street) to deliver a pilot case study for final-year undergraduates, and it is envisioned that it will be used by Irish third level institutions as a template for future industry...