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Real-World Engineering Projects for International Student Teams to Become "Global Engineers"

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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

International Division Technical Session 2

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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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Phillip Albert Sanger Purdue University

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Dr. Sanger is a professor in the School of Engineering Technology in the College of Technology of Purdue University. His focus and passion is real world, industry based, senior capstone experiences both domestically and internationally. He has successfully developed this area at Purdue and at Western Carolina University. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Sanger had a successful 30 year career working in and with industry managing and participating in broad range technology development and commercialization.

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Engineers in Europe and in USA play prominent roles in technology development for their respective societies, but there are differences in their carrier development and their future role in society depending on country and culture. We can expect, that in the future, engineers work global and change their place of residence, which means that international companies need engineers who already are trained in understanding other cultures and tried to work with real world projects in teams with partners from other cultures and countries. Engineering programs in many universities include following elements in their syllabuses in order to train students as ”global engineers”: • knowledge of languages and cultural skills, • teamwork and group dynamics in international teams • knowledge of the business and engineering cultures in different countries • knowledge of international variations in engineering education and practice. Our common students’ projects (for PURDUE University in USA and Technical University of Denmark, DTU Diplom in Denmark) were established to ensure acquisition of these skills and capabilities through out common real-world projects provided by industrial companies. In this paper, we describe our experiences with three industrial projects performed by students from USA and Denmark, which also included international standards, adapting to diverse cultures, and effective project management. As part of these projects, the Danish teams were on visit in PURDUE University every time at the beginning of the projects and USA teams were in Denmark at the end of the projects in order to present the results of their work for the companies involved. The first face-to-face visit is absolutely crucial for the development of common goals in the project, as well as in order to establish the proper communication during the entire project work. The visit is always planned in cooperation with the American team as they are the host and provide both housing and activities for the stay of Danish students. Danish students stay with a couple of the American students and their mates and spend a lot of time socializing with them. By spending all this time together both parts of the team, Americans and Danish, are able to get a better idea of culture, language and professional skills. Participating in non-professional activities give students friendly bond and a lot of the formalities can be dropped. For the same reason, communication become easier during the entire project work. This paper describes different stages of forming international and intercultural awareness during project work.

Friesel, A., & Sanger, P. A. (2019, June), Real-World Engineering Projects for International Student Teams to Become "Global Engineers" Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33225

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