Teaching design engineering in an interdisciplinary programme

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ATLAS, the Academy of Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences, is an interdisciplinary three-year Bachelor of Science honours programme for talented students that opened its doors in September 2013. This international programme uses the concept of project-led education to teach students to integrate both technical and social perspectives into a new engineering approach. It aims to educate the so-called ‘new engineer’: a generalist who can combine technological and societal approaches with design solutions that can be implemented in a range of technical, social, and cultural contexts. The programme has a thematic structure, in which a large project is the foundation of every semester. At the start of the semester the students write their own personal development plan framed by three domains (Engineering, Mathematics and Social Sciences) and six learning lines (Research, Design, Organization, Communication, Learning Capacity and Interdisciplinarity). In an interdisciplinary programme like ATLAS students have to learn to use knowledge from different disciplines and integrate it. This is also demanded by the project description, which is always a complex open-ended interdisciplinary problem. Design models from both engineering and social sciences are combined to develop new solutions for boundary-crossing problems. In this paper we will describe the programme and its underlying educational principles in detail. We will show the interdisciplinary design-engineering model that we use in our programme. We will reflect upon our first experiences with the programme and define a set of challenges for teaching design engineering in an interdisciplinary programme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International conference on engineering and product design education, 16th, 4 & 5 september 2014, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
ISBN (Print)978-1-904670-56-8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2014
Event16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design, E&PDE 2014 - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Sept 20145 Sept 2014
Conference number: 16

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Twente


Conference16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design, E&PDE 2014
Abbreviated titleE&PDE


  • METIS-305796
  • IR-92286


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