Fostering Collaborative Learning and Educational Mass Customization in a Graduate Level Engineering Design Course

Markus Rippel, Dirk Schaefer, Farrokh Mistee, Jitesh H. Panchal

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7 Citations (SciVal)
305 Downloads (Pure)


The rapid progress of globalization has lead to many unprecedented changes in the world in which
our students will practice. New product development paradigms such as mass collaboration are
redefining the way in which products are realized. The authors believe that in the light of these
changes, new approaches to educating the next generation of engineers are needed. Towards this
goal, the authors present a pedagogical approach to allow students to experience mass collaboration
and to improve their understanding of emerging trends in product development. The approach
is designed to foster collective learning and to apply mass customization in education. It is
presented in the context of a graduate engineering design courseÐ`Designing Open Engineering
Systems'. Two of the main features of the approach are: (1) providing the students with the
opportunity to define their own learning goals, and (2) posing a broad question to which the
students are required to develop an answer by the end of the semester. All activities of the course are geared towards answering this questionÐboth individually and collectively. Collective learning is
facilitated through semester-long continuous development of a collaborative answer to the Q4S by
the entire class. Mass customization of education is achieved by having students define their
personal semester goals as well as personalizing their answer to the Q4S. A web-based collaborative
learning framework is developed for this course using social networking tools to facilitate
communication, and to simulate a mass collaborative environment. The authors believe that such
pedagogical approaches are essential for developing a foundation for next generation educational
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-744
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • mass collaboration
  • collective learning
  • educational mass customization
  • Engineering Design
  • Question for the semester
  • social networking


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