Dual curriculum at the DHBW Mannheim.
You want to study and this preferably with direct practical relevance? You want to gain first basic work experiences in a company and at the same time achieve an internationally accepted academic degree? That is possible – in the form of a dual curriculum!
Not only students but also human resources manager increasingly seek for a closer link to practical experience in classical study programs. The dual curriculum offers a solution: Theoretical learning phases which systematically build on each other and take place at the university alternate with practical phases in the company. The employability rate amounts to about 90 % according to a survey of our cooperation partner, the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative University in Mannheim (DHBW Mannheim)!
Along with very good chances of continuing on with the company the monthly training allowance is certainly also very attractive. The employment relationship and, as a consequence, the higher financial independence allows you to concentrate wholeheartedly on your studies. The classical university vacations are dropped, however, you are entitled to the regular vacation days for recreation.
Courses with future – the technical studies
We have interviewed our present students and former graduates for you giving them a chance to talk about their motives:
Burak and Marco began their studies in electrical engineering, Tobias in mechanical engineering this summer at DHBW Mannheim. When interviewed they completed a three-month pre-study internship common at DEUTA which precedes the first theoretical phase. Frederike and Kilian already completed successfully their studies in computer science and work today at DEUTA as software engineer and computer specialist, respectively. Our training manager, Elmar Schraetz takes care of the students during their three-year studies assisting them with his advice. He helps to select a theme for the bachelor theses, to develop ideas for projects and he gives answers to other questions concerning their study program.
Why have you decided for a dual curriculum?
Burak: I already studied one semester at a classical university but realized very quickly that I missed the practical relevance. Therefore, I looked for alternatives.
Kilian: I wanted to be independent, to study and be financially independent. The employment relationship and the payment of the study fees by the company, were therefore a great advantage.
Frederike: The dual curriculum is diversified and I could apply my theoretical knowledge directly in practice.
But why at DEUTA?
Tobias: During an internship for pupils I got to know the company.
Frederike: It is a great advantage to learn in a medium-sized, family-owned company. Here, it is less anonymous than in a major corporation with many students. We share the office with various specialists so that we learn to look at a problem from different perspectives – which extremely enriches the academic discourse among the various specialties.
During the practical phase at the company you have to master practical tasks, in this way, you get to know the company and colleagues.
On which projects are you working/have worked, recently?
TTobias: At the moment, Marco, Burak and I, we work on developing test boxes for a code plug, for instance. This box allows the testing of the code plugs immediately after manufacturing. We have written a testing program in the programming language Phyton using a Raspberry PI. The program will load data on the code plug in order to compare them with the output data regarding modifications or damages.
If everything works out and the code plug functions, a green LED lamp lights up, in error case a red lamp.
As student of mechanical engineering I, of course, spend a lot of time in the workshop accomplishing drilling and milling works… In addition, I create 3D-drawings.
Burak: Marco and I, we are developing a testing box for the repair department. It is meant to identify deviations that individual devices show when switching on and off, respectively - on the basis of these deviations, errors can be detected. For the testing we have designed a graphical user interface in the programming language Python with which the user can set activation time, switch-off time and runtime. We use a Raspberry Pi 4 for this.
The testing box allows testing of ten devices at the same time. We have chosen a relay card for the hardware with which we can stimulate the switching-on and –off.
In this way, not only the students benefit from the work-related training, but also DEUTA profits from the students´ ideas and creativity.
Elmar: Our trainees work in projects which always have a close connection to DEUTA and therefore mean a high added value for our company. In the course of project works they have to deal intensively with problems which would be difficult to analyze with the same intensity in everyday operation.
Frederike, for instance, described a testing method for DEUTA IconTrust® technology in her Bachelor thesis. The IconTrust® technology is an independent monitoring unit which ensures that only correct display values of the TFT display (e. g. in driver´s cabs or control devices in the railway traffic) are presented. The patented system analyzes the displayed picture on the TFT-display and compares the picture data with the value of the original input data. If a deviation is detected, IconTrust® triggers a safety-related reaction. Frederike integrated in the existing test framework a function with which the activation of IconTrust® can be checked.
Would you recommend the dual curriculum?
Kilian: I, definitely, would recommend the dual curriculum, in classical study programs you get a lot of theoretical input, however, you do not learn much about how things actually work in a company. Nevertheless, it is quite labor-intensive, you have a strictly structured timetable, up to seven exams during the theoretical phases at the university, ... but the work effort pays off.
Frederike: During the practical phases I´ve learnt how to plan and manage projects successfully and which bureaucratic obstacles I have to cope with – here, theory differs clearly from practice – an important advantage compared to colleagues graduating in classical study programs. During my dual curriculum I felt to be in very good hands at DEUTA, demanded and promoted in the right balance.
It is an advantage for both parties getting to know each other before. I know my colleagues and my work environment, my colleagues know me and we spare time-consuming familiarization and training.
What fascinates you in your field of work?
Frederike: At very early stage I was interested in the technology and logistics, e. g., in a computer or other devices.
Kilian: The computer science offers a wide range of applications, many different directions – the goal you want to reach is specified, however, how to get there, you have to find out yourself – like a puzzle.