A Web-Based Engagement Tool to Promote Engineering Studies and Retention of Engineering Students
Engineering is viewed as a scarce and very important skill world-wide and a sector where women are often under-represented. In an effort to attract young women to the field of engineering, and to support retention of both male and female engineering students, an interactive online engagement tool was developed at the research site. This tool, which was designed to support prospective students, teachers, parents, mentors and communities in their exploration of engineering careers and to assist them in making the right choice of study, is in its final testing stage. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to discuss the rationale for and development of the interactive online engagement tool by means of a literature study and previous research conducted. The impact of the tool has not yet been measured and tested, however, a pilot test was conducted and respondents were asked to provide feedback on the tool. Results indicated the positive aspects of the tool as well as suggested improvements.Furthermore, the results indicated that the interactive online engagement tool could result in an increase in engineering student enrolments, improved student retention and success, as well as the marketing and promotion of the university, women and businesses in the region. The suggested improvements to the tool are being actioned, and it is anticipated that that final tool will be launched later in 2019 at a South African University.
Index Terms - Engagement, Retention, Web-Based.