Building international experiences into an engineering curriculum - a design project-based approach

Victor Maldonado, Luciano Castillo, Gerardo Carbajal, Prabhat Hajela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper is a descriptive account of how short-term international and multicultural experiences can be integrated into early design experiences in an aerospace engineering curriculum. Such approaches are considered as important not only in fostering a student's interest in the engineering curriculum, but also exposing them to a multicultural setting that they are likely to encounter in their professional careers. In the broader sense, this programme is described as a model that can be duplicated in other engineering disciplines as a first-year experience. In this study, undergraduate students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Universidad del Turabo (UT) in Puerto Rico collaborated on a substantial design project consisting of designing, fabricating, and flight-testing radio-controlled model aircraft as a capstone experience in a semester-long course on Fundamentals of Flight. The two-week long experience in Puerto Rico was organised into academic and cultural components designed with the following objectives: (i) to integrate students in a multicultural team-based academic and social environment, (ii) to practise team-building skills and develop students' critical thinking and analytical skills, and finally (iii) to excite students about their engineering major through practical applications of aeronautics and help them decide if it is a right fit for them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-390
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • design project
  • engineering curriculum
  • multicultural
  • study abroad

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