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Alliance By Design: International Student Design Teams

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.74.1 - 3.74.9

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Paper Authors

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Richard Devon

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Wayne Hager

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Dhushy Sathianathan

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Dominique Saintive

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Michel Nowé

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Jacques Lesenne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2544

Alliance by Design: International Student Design Teams Richard Devon, Wayne Hager, Dhushy Sathianathan The Pennsylvania State University

Dominique Saintive, Michel Nowé, Jacques Lesenne The Université d'Artois at Bethune

Abstract A French and an American University collaborated in the Fall of 1997 to run a design project using teams of French and American Students. The project was carried out using many different forms of information technology, including A-V conferencing. The students in the winning team were given the airfare to visit each other. The main problems were scheduling meetings and access to labs. The next most important problems had to do with developing technological resources and technological compatibility and the options currently available are discussed. Cultural differences, while not large, were present and some aspects were measured before and after the project. The project itself, which was industry based, was entirely successful. Even more important were the institutional changes that took place in both institutions. This approach will be used in the future using a variety of engineering schools around the world.

The Collaboration The collaboration between Penn State and d'Artois began in 1994 and has been described elsewhere1. It should be mentioned that Artois is very new and that using computer technology in the curriculum with Internet applications was very undeveloped until 1997. Penn State had been investing heavily in computing in the undergraduate curriculum for several years, but it trailed Artois in internationalizing the curriculum and in establishing close curricular ties to industry. The idea for using international student design teams came after a collaborative conference on the use of information technology in engineering education in Bethune in May, 1997. The well-established relationships within the collaboration were essential to the feasibility of the project.

The Design Project's Objective The collaborative design project was developed to internationalize the in-house curriculum at both institutions in a cost-effective way by relying heavily on information technology. Only 8% of Penn State University 4-year students go abroad to study before graduation using a Penn State program, and the figure for engineering students is only about 3%. For many years, university policy has included a goal of 20%, but no realistic way of achieving this has been found. The model deployed here has the potential for widespread impact on the curriculum. All the students in the courses at both institutions had an international experience as a result of the project. It was made especially relevant by offering travel scholarships to the members of the winning team. Friendships formed in the other teams allow the possibility for personal travel, also. At Penn

Devon, R., & Hager, W., & Sathianathan, D., & Saintive, D., & Nowé, M., & Lesenne, J. (1998, June), Alliance By Design: International Student Design Teams Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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