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The Development Of Communication And Design Skills Through Multi Disciplinary Teamworking

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Team Skills Through Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1276.1 - 10.1276.11



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Paper Authors

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Robert Harris

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M. Bramhall

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Ian Robinson

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David Hick

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

Session No: 3425

THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN SKILLS THROUGH MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMWORKING M. D. Bramhall, R. G. Harris, D. Hick, I. M. Robinson Sheffield Hallam University, Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences, Sheffield, UK


This paper details the methodologies developed at Sheffield Hallam University for improving students’ design, teamworking and communication skills through participation in undergraduate and postgraduate modules. One module is a residential ‘teamwork and leadership course’, which final year undergraduates undertake. This module develops the students’ teamwork and leadership skills away from the university, by participating in a series of indoor and outdoor tasks, with an inter-disciplinary design focus, spread over a weekend. Assessment is by both staff observation and student self-reflection with a ‘portfolio style’ evidence-based final report. The second module described in this paper uses ‘video conferencing’ between higher education institutions, with postgraduate students at each university undertaking joint project work. These joint projects are multi-disciplinary, for example engineering students working with business students, or materials engineering students working with design students. This leads to the students’ greater understanding of the importance of teambuilding within a multi-disciplinary environment. The paper evidences evaluation of the modules described, incorporating both students’ and the United Kingdom (UK) engineering professional bodies’ views on the skills and expertise that they have developed, and the importance that they perceive of this skill development for a professional engineer in the UK.


The needs of UK industry are constantly changing, moving towards highly specialised, high quality manufacturing within a globally competitive market place. Engineers more than ever need to be equipped not only with the necessary specialist technical skills, but also have excellent innovative, design, communication, IT, teamwork and inter-disciplinary skills if industry is to maintain any competitive advantage. Many UK industries are now ‘out-sourcing’ their manufacturing to cheaper labour markets within Eastern Europe. Graduate engineers need to be able to communicate and work with these European countries. They need to have the wider skills outlined above to be able to succeed in this demanding global marketplace. Richardson [1] tells us that:

“traditionally engineers and scientists in the UK have seen themselves only as inventors or creators of systems and have left businessmen to worry about the possibility of their commercial exploitation”.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Harris, R., & Bramhall, M., & Robinson, I., & Hick, D. (2005, June), The Development Of Communication And Design Skills Through Multi Disciplinary Teamworking Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15620

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