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Intercultural and Interdisiplinary Communication Skills as a Component of Engineering Education: International Design Projects

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technical Session

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Paper Authors


Anna Friesel Technical University-Copenhagen

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Anna Friesel is Professor at the Center for Electro-technology, DTU Diplom - Technical University of Denmark, Campus Ballerup. She is also the president of the EAEEIE - European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering, which is a European non-profit organization, with members from nearly seventy European Universities, most of them teaching in the area of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE). Anna Friesel is a member of the IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) Faculty Resources Committee (FRC). The mission of the EAB FRC is “to promote the continued evolution of engineering education and the career enhancement of Engineering, Computing and Technology (ECT) faculty through quality programs/products/services designed to advance innovation in educating engineers”. She is an Associated Editor in IEEE Transactions on Education. She collaborates regularly with many technical universities in Europe, Latin America and USA. Her research interests include mathematical modeling, system dynamics, control theory, and educational methods in automation, robotics, and in engineering in general.

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Sergey Dubikovsky Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Sergey Dubikovsky is an Associate Professor at Purdue University in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. He teaches advanced aircraft materials and processes and advanced manufacturing and design process courses. His research focus is in immersive learning, problem- and project-based learning, international engineering education, globalization, lean Six Sigma. He worked previously in industry as a Design, Product, and Project Engineer. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from South Ural State University (formerly Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute) in Russia and a PhD in Engineering Education from the Purdue University's College of Engineering.

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Companies are designing and producing products around the world and engineering businesses became global enterprises. Partnerships are formed with professionals from diverse cultures and backgrounds as business relationships are expending. Each technical discipline and unique culture brings a wide range of communication challenges. Good communication practices are essential for successful product development and business dealings. Miscommunication could cause a loss of business and, in some cases, even bankruptcy of a company. Communication is a mix of verbal and non-verbal interactions and etiquette. Therefore, the engineering students need to practice and to enhance their skills in communication, while working with projects in teams with students from other countries and cultures. In this paper, the authors describe their international projects where students from Denmark and the USA work together. For USA students, it is a part of their senior design capstone course and for Danish students it is an innovation and interdisciplinary project, so called the Innovation Pilot. The key learning objectives for training communication skills in order to work in global teams and manage the projects are as follows: • To understand the elements of culture and intercultural communication that impact the development of new technology and business interactions • To learn how to apply a model to understand any culture, including one’s own. • To enhance students’ skills in the dimensions of intercultural competence. The authors describe their experiences throughout three semesters with three teams of students working together to develop new high-tech test equipment for the engine test cell, which is located at Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. The focus in this paper is global communication during the project work. The different phases of communication are described and analyzed. The paper concludes with the instructors’ and students’ own statements concerning their experiences to communicate with each other on distance and across disciplines and different time zones.

Friesel, A., & Dubikovsky, S. (2019, June), Intercultural and Interdisiplinary Communication Skills as a Component of Engineering Education: International Design Projects Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33004

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