Teaching Design Engineering in an Interdisciplinary Programme
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Wits, Wessel; Homminga, Jasper; Endedijk, Maaike; Visscher, Klaasjan; Krab-H, Leonie
Institution: ATLAS University College, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Section: Design Education in Practice
ATLAS, the Academy of Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences, is an interdisciplinary three-year Bachelor of Science honours programme for talented students that opened its doors in September 2013. This international programme uses the concept of project-led education to teach students to integrate both technical and social perspectives into a new engineering approach. It aims to educate the so-called ‘new engineer’: a generalist who can combine technological and societal approaches with design solutions that can be implemented in a range of technical, social, and cultural contexts. The programme has a thematic structure, in which a large project is the foundation of every semester. At the start of the semester the students write their own personal development plan framed by three domains (Engineering, Mathematics and Social Sciences) and six learning lines (Research, Design, Organization, Communication, Learning Capacity and Interdisciplinarity). In an interdisciplinary programme like ATLAS students have to learn to use knowledge from different disciplines and integrate it. This is also demanded by the project description, which is always a complex open-ended interdisciplinary problem. Design models from both engineering and social sciences are combined to develop new solutions for boundary-crossing problems. In this paper we will describe the programme and its underlying educational principles in detail. We will show the interdisciplinary design-engineering model that we use in our programme. We will reflect upon our first experiences with the programme and define a set of challenges for teaching design engineering in an interdisciplinary programme.