An accelerated method of developing DBT projects using CDIO partner institutions as parallel processors

Paul Hermon, Matt Murphy, Gareth Thomson, James Boyle

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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The cycle of the academic year impacts on efforts to refine and improve major group design-build-test (DBT) projects since the time to run and evaluate projects is generally a full calendar year. By definition these major projects have a high degree of complexity since they act as the vehicle for the application of a range of technical knowledge and skills. There is also often an extensive list of desired learning outcomes which extends to include professional skills and attributes such as communication and team working. It is contended that student project definition and operation, like any other designed product, requires a number of iterations to achieve optimisation. The problem however is that if this cycle takes four or more years then by the time a project’s operational structure is fine tuned it is quite possible that the project theme is no longer relevant. The majority of the students will also inevitably experience a sub-optimal project experience over the 5 year development period. It would be much better if the ratio were flipped so that in 1 year an optimised project definition could be achieved which had sufficient longevity that it could run in the same efficient manner for 4 further years. An increased number of parallel investigators would also enable more varied and adventurous project concepts to be examined than a single institution could undertake alone in the same time frame.
This work-in-progress paper describes a parallel processing methodology for the accelerated definition of new student DBT project concepts. This methodology has been devised and implemented by a number of CDIO partner institutions in the UK & Ireland region. An agreed project theme was operated in parallel in one academic year with the objective of replacing a multi-year iterative cycle. Additionally the close collaboration and peer learning derived from the interaction between the coordinating academics facilitated the development of faculty teaching skills in line with CDIO standard 10.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Event10th International CDIO Conference 2014 - Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 15 Jun 201419 Jun 2014


Conference10th International CDIO Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleCDIO 2014
Internet address


  • Design-Build-Test, project based learning, collaborative optimisation


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