There are several critical challenges to revising a curriculum to be a CDIO-based curriculum and implementing such a curriculum. We follow the challenges with examples of methods, tools, and forms developed by CDIO. We include links to CDIO Web site papers and reports that describe the use and impact of some of these tools in engineering programs participating in the CDIO Initiative.
Challenges to designing and implementing CDIO-based curricula
1. Structure of current curriculum
Reformation of a curriculum often requires removal of entire subjects or parts thereof. Such changes can induce personal as well as financial conflicts. The existing curriculum's structure will also influence the design of the new structure by being the initial condition for the design process.
2. Lack of ownership of personal and interpersonal skills
Within most engineering programs no individual instructor is responsible for the teaching of personal and interpersonal skills. Consequently, teaching of these skills is often ad hoc.
3. Lack of competence in system building skills
Many engineering departments have competence in mathematics, basic science, engineering science and applied engineering subjects, but since the scientific part of individual subjects have been the primary interest, they lack competence in cross-disciplinary activities related to for example product development and system building.
4. Lack of dialogue between instructors responsible for supporting subjects
In many institutions there is no or very limited interaction among those responsible for different courses (at least when it comes to teaching issues). In addition, instructors typically have very strong opinions on the content and methods for teaching their subjects.
Addressing the challenges
All of the resources listed under Benchmarking and Design and Implementation Help provide inspiration, information and tools to assist in overcoming these challenges. Specific materials that are especially related to certain challenges are listed below.
1. A template for modification of the existing curriculum
The CDIO Initiative has developed a process for developing a new curricular structure, which has been implemented and reviewed at several well-reputed universities in a number of different countries.
2. Procedures and tools for benchmarking existing curriculum in order to identify ownership of skills and attitudes that were not taught previously
Benchmarking activities often uncover that many faculty indeed are interested in teaching topics in the CDIO Syllabus that they presently do not teach. Further, we often discover, to our surprise, that some topics are already being taught or are being taught at a higher cognitive level than we expected.
3. Approaches to developing faculty competence in topics of the CDIO Syllabus
A curriculum based on the CDIO Syllabus requires faculty members to teach subjects and topics they may not have reviously taught. In general, many of these topics do not warrant large amounts of teaching time, and recruiting specialists specifically for this teaching would be both impractical and expensive. Furthermore, when engineering faculty members teach the Syllabus topic, students obtain a higher appreciation of the topic's importance to engineers. We have created CDIO Instructor Resource Modules to assist engineering instructors in covering Syllabus topics with which they might not feel expert.