Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Projects for First-Year Engineering Students

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This research paper presents an interdisciplinary project setting for first-year engineering students. A theoretical frame of reference is suggested to support curriculum design for interdisciplinary competences in engineering education. Empirically, the study draws on insights from a narrow interdisciplinary curriculum project named “leadENG”. Besides being significant on its own in terms of learning outcomes within faculty borders, the leadENG project is intended to act as a bridge-building project to prepare students for broader cross-faculty projects. This study follows a second semester cluster of groups from energy and materials and production, all working together on the creation of a sustainable vehicle using recycled materials. Data have been collected through three explorative qualitative interviews with 15 students and 4 observations with the entire group of 35 students. Interview data have been transcribed and thematically analyzed
in NVivo. Findings indicate that students found the new narrow interdisciplinary setting highly relevant in expanding their understanding and approaches to sustainability and interdisciplinarity. Students experienced having a better and deeper understanding of their own discipline by weighing it up against another discipline and could see the meaning and dependency of contributions and collaboration with the other project groups. Although students still
experienced different challenges and difficulties, this study indicates that narrow interdisciplinary projects combining different fields of engineering disciplines in a system perspective can be fruitful in the progression of students’ broader interdisciplinary competences.
TitelASEE 2022 Anual Conference : Excellence through Dicersity
Antal sider17
Publikationsdatoaug. 2022
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022
BegivenhedASEE 2022 Annual Conference: Excellence Through Diversity - Minneapolis, USA
Varighed: 26 jun. 202229 jun. 2022
Konferencens nummer: 129


KonferenceASEE 2022 Annual Conference


  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Engineering Education
  • First-year students
  • PBL