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The role of CDIO in engineering education research: Combining usefulness and scholarliness
KTH, School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), Learning.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8664-6854
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The CDIO Initiative is a community for engineering education development, but since 2016 its annual conference also calls for research. This paper considers possible roles for CDIO in the field of engineering education research (EER). The EER landscape is explored, in particular whether the aim of research is to seek knowledge to improve engineering education, or to seek knowledge for its own sake? Although usefulness and scholarliness are not mutually exclusive, the priority matters throughout the research process and in evaluating work. Introducing concepts from similar debates, this paper argues for embracing the tension, to form a productive relationship between scholarliness and usefulness. A dual objective is implied: usefully contributing to the improvement of engineering education and establishing a recognised research field enabling sustainable careers for researchers. Quality mechanisms are necessary for staking out borders and upholding standards, at least to weed out work that is neither scholarly nor useful.

Keyword [en]
The CDIO Initiative, engineering education research, engineering education development, research aims, academic discipline, usefulness
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-217274OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-217274DiVA, id: diva2:1154898
Note

QC 20171106

Available from: 2017-11-06 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2017-11-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exploring the dual nature of engineering education: Opportunities and challenges in integrating the academic and professional aspects in the curriculum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the dual nature of engineering education: Opportunities and challenges in integrating the academic and professional aspects in the curriculum
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Engineering education is both academic, emphasising theory in a range of subjects, and professional, preparing students for engineering practice. Ideally, these aspects are also in a meaningful relationship in the curriculum, but the dual nature ideal is simultaneously a source of tensions. This theme is explored in the context of engineering education development, represented by the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) approach. Cases on programme and course level illustrate how the dual nature ideal is pursued in the integrated curriculum. CDIO is also compared with PBL (problem/project-based learning), and opportunities to further emphasise research in the CDIO community are explored.

Two critical accounts suggest widening the perspective from curriculum development per se, to the organisational conditions. First, the views of Carl Richard Söderberg (1895-1979) are compared with CDIO, showing considerable similarities in ideals, arguments, and strategies. This leads to a critique of the swinging pendulum metaphor. Then, experiences of unsustainable change leads to a model called organisational gravity, explaining the stability of programmes and implying two change strategies, with different availability, risks, resource demands, and sustainability of results.

Refuting a rationalist view on organisation, an institutional logics perspective is used to analyse the tensions within engineering education. It is suggested that the logics of the academic profession dominates over the logics of the engineering profession, hence favouring “teaching theory” over “teaching professionals”. The integrated curriculum strategy is contingent on educators’ ability to unite theoretical and professional aspects in courses, and on the collegial capacity for coordination. Finally, the CDIO initiative is conceptualised as a field-level driver of institutional innovation, identifying some strategies for legitimacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. p. 92
Series
TRITA-ECE ; 2017:2
Keyword
engineering education, professional education, dual nature, engineering education development, CDIO Initiative, CDIO approach, CDIO Standards, PBL, engineering education research, Carl Richard Söderberg, organisational gravity, institutional logics
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Technology and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-217315 (URN)978-91-7729-596-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-13, Salongen, KTHB, Osquars backe 31, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20171108

Available from: 2017-11-08 Created: 2017-11-07 Last updated: 2017-11-10Bibliographically approved

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Edström, Kristina

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