Engineering students soft skill: the extension projects role
Keywords:university extension; transversal skills; soft skills.
The indissociability between teaching, research and extension promotes extension activities to the same level of other university responsibilities. This is ensured by law and reaffirmed by higher education managers. One question guided this research: "What is the role of extension projects in the development of transversal skills (TS) of engineering students?" To answer this question, 19 HTs were identified in the literature as demanded by the labor market in the context of engineering. Based on this, an online survey was carried out among engineering students from the Federal University of Itajubá - Itabira campus to identify the frequency that the extension projects provided the use of these TSs. Responses were given on a Likert scale that indicated 1 - never, 2 - rarely, 3 - sometimes, 4 - most times and 5 - always. 115 students answered the questionnaire and, by analyzing the percentage of answers 4 (most of the time) and 5 (always), the most used HT were identified: teamwork, flexibility, listening, communication and responsibility, with more than 80% of responses 4 and 5. The less developed HTs were argumentation and power of persuasion, learning ability and foreign languages, with less than 40% of answers 4 and 5. This article indicates that university extension is an educational process of practice of transversal skills. And, in engineering education, this is even more important since many people believe that the classroom is a locus of exclusively technical skill development.
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