In the past few years, the Faculty of Engineering, Diponegoro University has been building and implementing a learning system based on the achievements of graduates, through the Outcome Based Education or OBE learning system. OBE is a higher education system that focuses on learning outcomes by referring to the criteria and competencies of graduates designed by a program. In its implementation, the OBE system uses an approach that emphasizes the continuity of the learning process in an innovative, interactive and effective manner.

Geological Engineering as part of the Faculty of Engineering, Diponegoro University also implements the OBE system in the student learning process. In order to meet OBE implementation standards, Geological Engineering has developed the following criteria and competencies for Geological Engineering graduates: (1) mastering theories, concepts and paradigms in Earth science and technology; (2) able to carry out research and develop Earth science and technology, and (3) able to identify problems related to the application of Earth science and technology and formulate appropriate resolutions.

Achieving these graduate criteria is actually not easy and requires commitment from all parties involved in the learning process. One of the obstacles that is clearly visible before our eyes is related to the curriculum which then becomes too dense because it must be able to accommodate all learning outcomes in accordance with the expected graduate achievements. As a result of the dense curriculum, the learning process itself becomes hampered. This is an endless dilemma and students are the ones who suffer the most losses from this. In the end, the expected graduate achievement criteria were not achieved optimally as well.

Reflecting on the criteria for graduates in the field of Earth sciences at universities abroad, graduates of undergraduate degrees or bachelor’s degrees are more emphasized on mastering basic concepts and being a little familiar with the application of Earth sciences in the industrial field. Applied courses in Geological Engineering in Indonesia have been taught from level 3 (semesters 5 and 6), only then taught at higher levels of education abroad. This big difference is not without reason, it is clear that Indonesia needs Bachelor of Geological Engineering graduates who are ready to work in various industrial fields such as oil, mining, hydrology, construction, and so on because of the high demand. Therefore, like it or not, it is hoped that the higher education system in Indonesia will be able to produce qualified graduates in a short time. Therefore, in fact the achievements of graduates compiled by the Geological Engineering department in Indonesia are not a handicap that must be corrected and equalized with university graduates abroad. This is solely to meet the needs of the industry.

Conceptually, the OBE system should be able to improve the quality of higher education and be in line with the needs of graduate users. However, thorough and regular monitoring of the learning process itself is needed so that the implementation of OBE is not only good on paper but what actually happens is that students do not learn optimally because the burden they bear is too heavy.

Article by: Anis Kurniasih, ST, MT (Geological Engineering Department)