Collaborative Student Centred Learning - Intellectual Property for Product Designers

Year: 2009
Editor: Clarke, A, Ion, W, McMahon, C and Hogarth, P
Author: Humphries-Smith, Tania
Page(s): 49-54


This paper fits into the topics of student centred learning and learning spaces and explores the question - How will the academic/industrial interface develop? At least a basic understanding of intellectual property (IP) rights is essential for practice as a professional engineer and/or designer to ensure commercial success. Yet it is recognised that there are barriers to incorporating learning and teaching of IP within the Higher Education design and engineering curriculum. These barriers include an already 'over-packed' curriculum and no established pedagogy. This paper reports on an example of collaborative student centred learning activity between BA/BSc Product Design (PD) and LLB Law (Intellectual Property Practice option) (LLB) final year students at Bournemouth University (BU). The final year product design students are required to design and produce a working prototype of a marketable product. The LLB students advise on the intellectual property aspects of the design. This learning activity has been ongoing for a number of years, however, last academic year changes were made to incorporate an assessed element for both sets of students and make the learning space almost entirely virtual using the BU virtual learning environment (VLE) called myBU. It is the outcome of these changes that are reported in this paper, using data gathered from the on-line discussion forums and the feedback from students. The activity has proved to be an extremely valuable learning experience for both sets of students, providing simulation of real life for both designers and IP lawyers and bridging the academic/industrial interface.

Keywords: Intellectual property; student centred learning; collaborative learning; product design

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