Tracks for change, flexibility, interdisciplinarity and creativity in engineering education
Paper i proceeding, 2020
This paper describes the early stages of the developments of Tracks, an initiative to create, implement and evaluate a new educational model where the structure of the education is developed to give students the opportunity to create multi- and interdisciplinary competencies, meet their expectations and need for a more individualized study plan and shorten the lead times for changing the education to embrace new technologies. The new education model is based on the creation of tracks with different themes lying between existing programs not belonging to a specific department or school. The idea is to create individual and flexible study opportunities by introducing Track-courses within the themes. These courses address specificc hallenges that may be broad societal and profound research-driven. Tracks also include largein vestments in Chalmers learning environment. The paper focuses on Tracks as a large change initiative, strategies to manage the complexity of this change as well as development philosophy and working methods in the early phases of the initiative. Change at universities has been discussed previously, but this is a unique opportunity to study how large change may be managed over time, including both the content of the education and the learning environments. Through action research, where interventions may be done to influence the initiative, it is possible to develop practical contributions for other universities in need of similar development. The research has been conducted over approximately a year and includes data from interviews and action research, where the authors are the main people working with this initiative. The close contact with the data gives a unique understanding of how different activities within the initiative influence the outcome. Thus, this paper will contribute to the understanding of how large institutional change initiatives are facilitated by a flexible and agile approach contrasting the traditional and somewhat slower university culture.