Collaborative course design in engineering education - a case study of teachers' design process

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Due to changes of the labor market and increased competition on an (inter)national scale, institutions of higher education are forced to innovate, creating an additional need for teacher professional development. In engineering education, interdisciplinary education has become increasingly important, bringing many advantages for both students and teachers. Instead of being individually responsible for a course, teachers collectively design and teach courses that integrate their areas of expertise and make interdisciplinary education a reality. However, to better support teacher teams and their professional development, higher education institutions require more information on their course design processes. This case study compares the course design processes of two teacher teams in the context of a university-wide educational innovation. One team chose to create an interdisciplinary course, whereas the other chose to design a multidisciplinary course. Design conversations of these teams were analyzed to study the similarities and differences between both teams concerning the design topics and design acts shown during team meetings. Our findings show that both teams primarily focus on the same three design topics: the teaching practices, course organization, and their own teamwork. Other important topics such as the specific characteristics of the student population were mostly neglected. When comparing the specific design acts of the two teams, the interdisciplinary team more often engaged in collaborative planning and adaption of the course and also engaged in more collective reflection compared to the multidisciplinary team. In doing so, the interdisciplinary team created more opportunities for professional development of its team members.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging, Engineering, Education
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts, SEFI 48th Annual Conference University of Twente (online), 20-24 September, 2020
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sept 202024 Sept 2020
Conference number: 48


Conference48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2020
Internet address


  • Teamwork
  • Teachers
  • Professional development
  • Course design


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