Group Design-Build-Test Projects as the Core of an Integrated Curriculum in Product Design and Development

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast introduced a new degree programme in Product Design and Development (PDD) in 2004. As well as setting out to meet all UK-SPEC requirements, the entirely new curriculum was developed in line with the syllabus and standards defined by the CDIO Initiative, an international collaboration of universities aiming to improve the education of engineering students. The CDIO ethos is that students are taught in the context of conceiving, designing, implementing and operating a product or system. Fundamental to this is an integrated curriculum with multiple Design-Build-Test (DBT) experiences at the core. Unlike most traditional engineering courses the PDD degree features group DBT projects in all years of the programme. The projects increase in complexity and challenge in a staged manner, with learning outcomes guided by Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains. The integrated course structure enables the immediate application of disciplinary knowledge, gained from other modules, as well as development of professional skills and attributes in the context of the DBT activity. This has a positive impact on student engagement and the embedding of these relevant skills, identified from a stakeholder survey, has also been shown to better prepare students for professional practice. This paper will detail the methodology used in the development of the curriculum, refinements that have been made during the first five years of operation and discuss the resource and staffing issues raised in facilitating such a learning environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalEngineering Education: Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre
Volume5 (2)
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Teaching or Research: 15147

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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