Engineering and Occupational Therapist Students in Design Projects – Cross-Disciplinary Meetings

Engineering and Occupational Therapist Students in Design Projects – Cross-Disciplinary Meetings

M. Berglund, T. Andersson, V. Pavlasevic (2017).  Engineering and Occupational Therapist Students in Design Projects – Cross-Disciplinary Meetings. 10.

Collaboration between people with different backgrounds is essential to reach success in engineering and to develop high-quality products. It is therefore important for engineering students to develop their abilities to communicate their ideas in cross-disciplinary situations. This implies training the engineering students to communicate their own ideas to groups outside the university, but also encouraging them to learn the need and benefits of collaborating with other groups. This paper presents the results of a longitudinal inter professional teaching activity involving collaboration between engineering and occupation therapist students in design projects at Linköping University, Sweden. The objective of the paper is to share and reflect on the experiences of the integrative teaching activity in a course in Product Ergonomics for engineering students in Design and Product Development. The paper is based on the teachers’ own experiences of the teaching activity during five years, the engineering students’ evaluations and interviews with the occupational therapist teachers. The reported experiences are from a six credit course in Product Ergonomics. It is a compulsory course for third year students in the engineering program Design and Product Development. The course is designed to introduce the field of ergonomics and design and provides a basic ability to evaluate the applicability of ergonomics design as a methodology. One of the course aims is that the students after the course should be able to communicate with other disciplines, acting professionally as an engineer in a multidisciplinary context and presenting a product concept in a credible way. The course consists of two parts, a theoretical part and an applied product development project. During the project the students are trained to develop and present credible product concepts. In this phase the engineering students meet with occupational therapist students at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The engineering students then learn and benefit from the other students’ knowledge fields. They also train to communicate with other disciplines and are able to demonstrate their engineering skills, the latter when they reflect on in parallel ongoing design projects undertaken by the occupational therapist students. The student groups meet once to three times during the course and most engineering students appreciate the integrative teaching activity. As a result of meeting with the occupational therapist students many engineering students modify the direction of their design project. The engineering students also receive good advice on how to approach and learn about the user of the product that is to be designed. Some issues that need to be taken into account for the integrative teaching activity include the timing for the meetings between the student groups, number of meetings and how to prepare the students. In the paper, these issues are problematized and the outcomes of the teaching activity for students and teachers are highlighted. The reported teaching activity is related to implementation of the CDIO Standard 2 and 3 (Section 3).

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

Authors (New): 
Martina Berglund
Torbjörn Andersson
Vanja Pavlasevic
Pages: 
10
Affiliations: 
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Keywords: 
Product development
Communication
Collaboration
Ergonomics
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 3
Year: 
2017-01-01 00:00:00
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