International Applications for Project Integrated Learning through Engagement in the Partnership for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE)

Patricia A. Sulivan*, Delia Valles-Rosales, Marcelo Augusto Leal Alves, Brendan P. Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademicpeer-review

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Global Applications for Project Integrated Learning through Engagement in the Partnership for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE)The purpose of this work is to document the process implemented to develop experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students in STEM disciplines through a collaborative global PACE-University partnership. PACE is an innovative educational model that promotes the integration of learning with real world problems in a global design and manufacturing environment through an extensive network of industry and university partners. The goal is to gather evidence that project-integrated learning (PIL) is an excellent way to minimize the gap between industry expectations and students’ employability attributes such as soft skills(communication, critical thinking, problem solving, team work, etc.) The literature extensively repeats the importance of fostering joint participation between universities and companies in educational projects to lessen the gap between higher education and labor market requirements. This paper documents the methodology employed to create and implement a pioneering PACE-University partnership that recognizes the pedagogical value of learning experiences beyond a formal curriculum. The goal of this experiential learning approach is to complement the traditional engineering education approach of producing engineers with hard technical skills incorporating educational experiences in industry. The methodology exposes students to a hybrid combination of technical challenges of design, prototype, and manufacturing of a portable assisted mobility device (PAMD) within the context of an international competition where global collaboration is a key component to advance manufacturing concepts – the quick transfer of science and technology into manufactured products and processes – into practice. The over-arching goal of the PAMD design competition was to provide an alternative and convenient mode of limited distance transportation for individuals residing in urban settings with additional market opportunities identified as individuals that walk to school, work, or travel between buildings that are physically spread across a large geographic area. This international collaboration effectively equipped members of a multidisciplinary team with the knowledge and skills required to take a project from initial design concept to full-scale manufacturing including design of the proposed manufacturing facility. Each PACE-team consists of 4 to 6 universities from several countries and continents. The students are forced to communicate and cooperate in a global environment with different cultures, different languages and different time zones like in a typical global company. This requires a high sophisticated project management, communication platforms and data management. The entire group of students utilized industry accepted engineering design processes to ensure the final PAMD prototype met the pre-specified weight, size and functional parameters set forth by PACE. Manufacturing aspects taken into account included ergonomics, comfort of the product for the consumer, the potential market for the product, consumer safety, and identification of the PAMD build of materials ensured both low-cost and functional attributes. It is expected that the new engineering graduate will be ready to enter into the professional life with a strong technical background and being sensitive to the challenges posed by diversity and cultural differences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventASEE International Forum 2015 - Seattle, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 201514 Jun 2015


ConferenceASEE International Forum 2015
Abbreviated titleASEE
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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