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A Cocurricular Framework for a Multinational, Vertically Integrated Engineering Design Project

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Cooperative and Experiential Education Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Cooperative and Experiential Education

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Lelanie Smith University of Pretoria

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Dr. Lelanie Smith is an Aeronautical engineer in the applied aerodynamic field. Currently she is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. Her research primarily focuses on application of computational fluid dynamic methods for modelling alternative aircraft configurations. In addition to her technical research, Lelanie is also involved in development of sustainable co-curricular models that not only provides a platform for students for experiential learning through practical application but also a space to connect with local industry, international interns and post graduate students as part of a diverse and dynamic team. She has been running such a program for the last 6 years and in 2020 took over the Vertically Integrated Projects in the Engineering, Built Environment and IT Faculty.

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Nadia Millis Trent P.E. University of Waikato Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Nadia M Trent is an industrial engineer in the supply chain management arena. Currently she is a senior lecturer in the Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato. Her research primarily focuses on quantitative modelling to support policy decision-making in the freight transport sector. In addition to her technical research, Nadia is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, publishing from her own practice as engineering and business educator. In 2018/2019, Nadia piloted the first Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Programme in Africa at the University of Pretoria with the help of the VIP consortium.

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A co-curricular framework for a multinational, vertically integrated engineering design project

In South Africa there is a need to address the lack of social and contextual relevance of existing engineering curricula. Education of the next generation of graduates has the potential to greatly impact society if their technical expertise are combined with personal and professional attributes to make them more socially-engaged and effective as leaders. Leveraging a project-organised curriculum as opposed to a more traditional approach has proven to be successful in cultivating these personal and professional attributes alongside technical development. But transforming a curriculum is a slow and arduous process. The curricula in the School of Engineering at the University of X are based on the CDIO framework, but limited resources and large student cohorts make it difficult to fully leverage the benefits of project-based learning within the formal curriculum. Resultantly, educators experiment with co-curricular initiatives to complement the personal and professional development of engineering students. The XYZ project is one such initiative. Since 2014, the XYZ project has been an interdisciplinary, multi-national, vertically integrated engineering design project founded exclusively on an experiential learning approach philosophy. It has been successful in cultivating innovative attitudes, professional skills, and early cross-subject synthesis in participating students. The co-curricular nature of the project has evolved over six years through trial and error and now fosters robust articulation with project-based and work-integrated learning modules in the formal curriculum. Strong articulation enhances the longevity of the project and the persistence and motivation of participating students. In this paper, we use a reflexive lens to explore the evolutionary stages of the XYZ project since 2014. We connect the project leader’s lived experience throughout this evolution to the theoretical underpinnings of co-curricular initiatives in higher education. Reflecting on the lessons learned during each stage, we provide an implementation framework for similar projects and offer long-term recurriculation guidelines for large cohorts.

Smith, L., & Trent, N. M. (2021, July), A Cocurricular Framework for a Multinational, Vertically Integrated Engineering Design Project Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36558

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