July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Cooperative and Experiential Education
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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