Industry based projects and cases: A CDIO approach to students’ learning

Industry based projects and cases: A CDIO approach to students’ learning

T. Mejtoft (2015).  Industry based projects and cases: A CDIO approach to students’ learning. 11.

Learning is much more than a real-time cognitive process. It is an important platform for aspects and skills needed to enable students’ future careers. CDIO has the aim to bridge the gap between engineering education and the industry’s view of engineering skills (Crawley et al., 2007).

This paper reports and analyzes a case study (Yin, 1994) from 2013, based on experiences from student supervision and interviews with representatives (CEO/editor-in-chief/journalists/developers) from VK Media (VK), concerning a project, with the goal to renew VK’s digital news platforms. VK publish the newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren and, a top-10 news site in Sweden. The project was performed on two, consecutive, courses: Product development in media technology using the design-build-test method and Prototype development for mobile applications at the five-year Interaction Design Program and involved traditional project-based learning (Krajcik & Blumenfeld, 2006) and a real case-based group project (Lawrence, 1953). The aim was to provide industry-related projects to enhance learning process and students’ involvement, balance theoretical/practical knowledge, create value for society and industry and work with real cases in-between industry-academia.

Rapid technological evolution and changing social behavior has significantly impacted the interdisciplinary field of media technology. Graduates face contemporary complex problems (Churchill et al., 2013), which are problematic to construct in traditional learning environments. The project’s goal was to combine teaching with real environments and actual problems still inside the boundaries of the academic education (Dearing, 1997; Holmes, 1999). The courses are rooted in the CDIO philosophy and great results have been achieved within Conceive, Design and Implement. The students created a project organization, based decisions on current needs and defined concepts and functions for interaction with new digital news media. They constructed an innovative design, based on trade-offs between goals of readers and VK. While, the final implementation was done by VK’s developers, the students worked intensely with factors like different users’ (readers/journalists/editorial) interests. Although only touching Operate by e.g. demonstrations and ”learning” for VK’s employees, focus has also been on the extended syllabus and ”leading engineering endeavors”. The students were given opportunity to work with, learn from and discuss with management and focus on value creation (Crawley et al., 2011).

Furthermore, one project over consecutive courses resulted in deeper cooperation with the industry and gave students’ opportunities to use experiences gained in previous phases, thus allowing the experience to be a base for both learning and outcomes (Kolodner, 1992; 1997). VK gave the students great responsibility and working with academia was anchored within the organization with strong student cooperation and high management involvement. The most prominent results for the stakeholders are: The students used engineering skills in a real-world context, the University created a long-term industry cooperation and strengthened the students employability by results that are possible to present in a portfolio and VK launched two new digital platforms (new web featuring paywall, October 2013 and new mobile application, March 2014) which has, significantly, strengthen their revenue model (Degerström, 2014). By the end of the project, the editor-in-chief stated: “The students were damn good!”.

Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

Authors (New): 
Thomas Mejtoft
Umeå University, Sweden
project work
Value creation
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
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