Paper i proceeding, 2016

Twenty-first century engineering student professional skills require the ability to work effectively in multicultural, globally distributed teams. Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and Penn State University (USA) have formed a collaboration to provide students with an experience in this environment to start requisite skill development. The activity is anchored by a corporate supplied project with realistic open-ended design requirements. The students are expected to mimic the operation of a multinational corporate engineering team to develop a design solution. The collaboration was initiated in September 2014 and launched in January 2015 with Volvo Group as the industrial partner. In addition to the traditional design experience outcomes, the learning objectives from a global perspective are to: (a) understand the impact of engineering in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context; (b) understand cultural/ethnic differences and develop the ability to work sensitively with them; (c) learn to function effectively in multinational teams; (d) communicate effectively in English, regardless of team members first language; and (e) develop the ability to organize and deliver communication around the globe. The paper discusses the integration of academic protocols from each university, the logistics and operation of the global student teams. At completion of the program a critique was performed from various perspectives to assess effectiveness and capture lessons learned. A pre and post survey was given to the students to assess effects on intercultural communication from the interaction. The Volvo Group personnel who interacted with the teams and supervising instructors were asked to critically evaluate the program. All information pointed to a successful program whereby the students delivered technically sound design solutions and gained professionally through the global experience. The paper concludes with a discussion of the keys to success for such a globally distributed university-corporate academic collaboration.

industry sponsored educational project

CDIO Standards

Global design teams



Jason Z. Moore

Monica Ringvik

Mikael Enelund


Martin W. Trethewey

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland, June 12-16, 2016


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