Culture In Engineering Education CDIO Framing Intercultural Competences

Culture In Engineering Education CDIO Framing Intercultural Competences

B. Hoffmann, U. Jørgensen, H. Christensen (2011).  Culture In Engineering Education CDIO Framing Intercultural Competences. 13.

As engineers today often work in intercultural projects and contexts, intercultural competences must be part of the learning objectives in engineering educations. Cultural aspects of engineer-ing education should not just be treated as a question of appropriate communication and teach-ing: cultural aspects are basically part of engineering disciplines, work challenges as well as the contextual elements in engineering curriculum [1,2].

This is reflected in the aims of the CDIO programme [3,4]; however, the programme, as well as the teaching practises, undoubtedly needs to further develop approaches to cultural aspects in engineering education. Hence the key-question of this paper is how CDIO support the develop-ment of intercultural competences in engineering education.

The paper explores the implementation of CDIO in an intercultural arctic engineering programme in Greenland that since 2001 has been enrolling students with special focus on developing inter-cultural competences. The discussion draws on the socio-technical approaches to technology and professional engineering practises [5,6]. We conclude that intercultural teaching is not just a matter of teaching in spite of cultural differences; it involves the ability to communicate across differences and foster mutual learning processes and approaches to problem solving. We also point to methods and lessons learned to address this challenge in practice.

The discussions and findings of the paper have relevance in several ways. Firstly, it addresses the continuously development of CDIO, including the current discussion of a new principles [7]. Secondly it has practical relevance to the engineering education, which to a growing degree has to cope with the potentials and challenges of internationalisation of educations and thus intercul-tural classrooms. Thirdly it has a more general relevance for educational development as engi-neers most often are working in projects within different cultural settings and contexts and in culturally diverse groups. 


Authors (New): 
Birgitte Hoffmann
Ulrik Jørgensen
Hans Peter Christensen
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Intercultural competences
engineering context
community networking
Programme development
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