Designing a Flexible, Choice-Based, Integrated, Professionally Challenging, Multidiciplinary Curriculum

Designing a Flexible, Choice-Based, Integrated, Professionally Challenging, Multidiciplinary Curriculum

S. Hallenga-Brink, E. Sjoer (2017).  Designing a Flexible, Choice-Based, Integrated, Professionally Challenging, Multidiciplinary Curriculum. 16.

The bachelor programs Climate and Management, Building Engineering, and Civil Engineering at The Hague University of Applied Sciences are developing one joint ‘Building Environment’ nodal curriculum. Based on individual choices students pass by a number of nodes and in between learning takes place in professional, mixed-discipline, guided tasks. The international 3-year bachelor program Industrial Design Engineering develops a choice-based modular curriculum, by co-creation with students and the workfield. Students will learn in a societal, authentic context, together and reciprocally with stakeholders from the professional field including users and (a hybrid) teaching staff. In both curriculums of the Faculty of Technology, Innovation and Society students are scaffolded in learning to define their own professional profile from the first day they start their studies, creating their own job as they go along, and learning to develop from novice to expert and work together on different levels simultaneously. While redesigning the curriculums of the four programs, with multidisciplinary tasks/projects in the authentic learning environments and catering for needs of our near-future students, we meet several challenges. This paper describes the argumentation for the choices made from an educational science point of view.   The question is how to gradually increase the authenticity and complexity of the professional learning tasks, and the autonomy and self-direction of the student. Within the framework of CDIO the organization and structure of an integrated curriculum are described in detail (Crawley et. al, 2014). Personal and interpersonal skills are interwoven with disciplinary knowledge and together offered within different contexts that prepare the student for the complexity that awaits them in the professional field. As a program it is our responsibility to guarantee the learning results at graduation fit to what graduates need when starting to work . But in our philosophy to educate ‘engineers who can engineer’ it is not enough to merely offer the authentic, professional context following John Dewey’s theory of experiential learning (2005) and restore reflection in engineering education (Buch and Bucciarelli, in Christensen et. al. (eds.), 2015). When we ‘throw students in at the deep end of the pool’, as a Dutch saying goes, with minimally guided instructions for ‘increased authenticity’, this does not fit the cognitive architecture of our students’ brains when they come in at age 17-19 (Kirschner et al, 2006). Kirschner found evidence for a higher effective learning by guided, just-in-time instruction, in order to deal properly with expert-novice differences and critical cognitive load. Lawson & Dorst (2009) recognize different levels of expertise in design students, from a novice who applies strict rules, via an advanced beginner who relies on general truths, to a competent graduate who is a problems solver, learner and reflector. In a lifelong learning society student need to deal with the responsibility of directing their learning path and the responsibility of proving what they have learned.  What pedagogics and didactic structure do you need for that? And what consequences does this have for the professionality of the teaching staff, the organization of the teams, and the needed facilities?

Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference in Calgary, Canada, June 18-22 2017

Authors (New): 
Suzanne Hallenga-Brink
Ellen Sjoer
Pages: 
16
Affiliations: 
The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
Keywords: 
Flexible curriculum
choice-based modular curriculum
professional identity
Curriculum Design
multi-disciplinary education
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 12
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO standard 4
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 6
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 9
CDIO Standard 10
CDIO Standard 11
Year: 
2017-01-01 00:00:00
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