June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1261.1 - 15.1261.10
The Value of Exchange: The Benefits of Inter-Cultural
Engineering Study- A Design Team Perspective
Children in the sixties and seventies grew up watching cartoons in which characters used futuristic items such as computers and video phones. Now, less than fifty years later, such items are commonplace for many and promote international communications and commerce. Despite the ease with which technological advances have allowed ideas to be shared, language barriers and lack of access to culturally balanced information may still be difficult to overcome. The growth of global economies facilitates a need to understand cultures for which products and services are to be designed, produced, and sold. Surmounting these, and other, challenges is achievable through the promotion of foreign-student involvement in design clubs and through promotion of student-exchange programs.
International student involvement in campus activities and student exchange programs facilitate communication, work to overcome cultural bias, and promote cultural diffusion and diversity while preparing future scientists and engineers for work in a global economy. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has effectively modeled cultural interaction through Engineering Technology Program Clubs such as SAE Formula One, SAE Baja, and Moon- buggy. Domestic students and international students improve their communication and leadership skills while simultaneously learning about varying cultures through these activities at MTSU.
Effective communication occurs in many forms. Colloquialisms and slang often complicate communication between those of differing native languages, as well as different cultures within the same language. While Britains and Americans ostensibly speak the same language, engineers studying trunk closure effort in the US could be understandably confused by “boot” data received from a British counterpart. The mutual exposure of domestic and international students at universities raises awareness of cultural communication differences and facilitates the exchange of ideas.
Business is no longer nationally cloistered. Products may be designed in one country, produced in another, and then sold in another. In order to be competitive, companies must understand not only the market to which they are targeting their products, but also the workforces of the markets in which their products will be produced. Efforts to improve understanding through media outlets alone are not necessarily effective. News reports and the internet often document negative or sensationalistic information that can foster cultural bias. Students at universities, both domestic and international, are more apt to glean an accurate understanding of differing
Foroudastan, S., & Hyde, S. (2010, June), The Value Of Exchange: The Benefits Of Inter Cultural Engineering Study– A Design Team Perspective Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16039
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