Workshop at a company with students from two different disciplines

Workshop at a company with students from two different disciplines

L. Elmquist, L. Eriksson, F. Ekman (2014).  Workshop at a company with students from two different disciplines. 10.

Teachers from two different disciplines, Materials and manufacturing and Industrial design, are brought together to give a course on masters level. The course is called Materials and design. It is not only the teachers that come from different disciplines but also the students who come from two different master programs in Technology, Product development and materials engineering and Industrial design. The reason behind this mixture of disciplines is to increase communication and interdisciplinary understanding between the student groups and increase their ability to collaborate in their future profession. Earlier, it has been shown that there is a need for more T-shaped engineers capable of communicating across disciplines improving the product development process. The course is based on lectures covering both disciplines. Apart from the lectures, the course also includes computer labs about material selection, project work, and home assignments. The home assignments as well as the project are related to methodologies used to select a material for a certain application. In the course, material properties, both mechanical and physical, are discussed. However, also tactile and visual properties are discussed, how these properties are measured, and how they influence the material selection process.

Besides, a workshop was arranged where the students during one day solve tasks related to product development. The students were divided into groups based on their background in such a way that a mixture was created with students from the two programs. The students were “locked” into a room for the whole workshop and solved the tasks using methodologies taught in the course. The workshop was held at a company in order to make the work more real-case based. Before they started their work, the students were given an introduction to the products and their applications today. The main task was to investigate the products made by the company and come up with ideas about what applications there might be in the future. The result was presented at the end of the day to the company and their representatives.

It appeared that the workshop was an eye-opener to the company at the same time as the students had a fair chance to work in a realistic situation and learn how to use their knowledge and available methodologies. For the teachers it appeared to be a good experience, not only from a pedagogic perspective but also how to arrange this kind of workshop.

In this paper some of the solutions are presented as well as the evaluation and comments from company as well students. Finally the teachers involved give their opinion about the result and the pedagogic benefits from such a workshop, and also what to think about for the next one.

In this course the students get an increased understanding about the interrelationship between material selection and product design. They also gets a more pronounced understanding for communication between disciplines. Besides, their understanding for not only mechanical and physical properties but also properties that are more difficult to measure increase. In other words, the students become more T-shaped.

Proceedings of the 10th International CDIO Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 15-19 2014

Authors (New): 
Lennart Elmquist
Lars Eriksson
Fredrik Ekman
Pages: 
10
Affiliations: 
Jönköping University, Sweden
Strömsholmen AB, Sweden
Keywords: 
Problem-based learning
reflective learning
industrial relevance
T-shaped engineering
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
Year: 
2014
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