LEARNING SYSTEMS ENGINEERING BY ROLE PLAYING
Delft University of Technology (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Systems Engineering (SE) has many phases and is a difficult field to understand and master. Most teaching material is focused on only part of the issues that relate to the field. Next to that overview schemes are often given to give provide a high-level understanding for students and professionals to be educated in the art of SE. Normally a Systems Engineer needs years of experience in a wider set of disciplines that related to the field of SE and besides this an excellent working knowledge in project management.
On the one hand students either pick up one or more of the specializations that relate to SE but seldom choose the field of SE as the topic for further study and/or as a topic for their Master Thesis. On the other hand the industry and government has a high demand of graduated and professional Systems Engineers. The need to make the field of SE more interesting and to improve accelerated learning and education is high.
This work shows learning by role playing in the field of SE over a seven week course. A simplified SE-approach was thought during several years in a classroom setting. Students where ask to play the role of respectively the Systems Engineer of the customer/acquirer organization and the Systems Engineer of the design/engineering organization in several projects in the field of Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics. Every week a separate task was taught and performed in a played professional environment. In the end a design was delivered and validated.
Based on the results of three years it can be concluded that students were able to communicate on the role of SE in the field of Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics. They see the necessity of using a clear phased approach; to understand the role of communication during the SE process and the mutual responsibilities during this process. This level of learning would never be possible in regular classroom education and/or by means of writing reports.
The class has now been taught for three years to Master students at the Delft University of Technology. The used SE approach has to be tuned to more general used approaches and has to be updated. The role-playing has to be more professionalized writing clearer instructions for the work to be performed during the phases/classroom-days. Next to that the course has to be tested with professionals before it can be commercially offered to the professional world in a multiple day’s course.
Keywords: Role playing, systems engineering.