1 Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BOTSWANA)
2 University of Botswana (BOTSWANA)
3 Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
4 Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5921-5926
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Engineering education is still dominated by traditional ex-cathedra teaching. In such an environment the focus is mainly on the lecturer. The student has very little (if any) choice on the learning process. An alternative is project based learning (PBL) where the students are in an environment centred on learning through project work instead of on teaching. PBL is a highly effective way to provide engineering students with the competence to solve engineering problems. In many areas of engineering the resulting gain in competence can be increased by organizing the students participating in PBL in project teams. For the ease of communication this form of teaching and learning can be defined Project Organized Problem Based Engineering Education (POPBEE).

Global Engineering Teams (GET) is a joint global University programme that utilized POPBEE. Students are organized in multicultural multidisciplinary teams to increase educational output. In addition the problems that enable PBL for them are selected from a portfolio of actual challenges that are issued by international industry partners such as GE, General Electric Company, Robert Bosch GmbH or ThyssenKrupp AG. GET incorporates the University partners Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Gaborone, Botsuana, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Santiago, Chile, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, USA, School of Design Thinking of the Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Potsdam, Germany, Stellenbosch University (SU), Stellenbosch, South Africa, Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), Berlin, Germany, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Sao Carlos, Brazil, and University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.

The contribution of the extreme form of POPBEE as utilized in GET was assessed based on the 2014 edition of the GET. Four learning projects were analysed on their impact on students competencies. The projects all contained a challenge that was related to product development. In two cases service development was connected to the product development. These four projects were compiled into exemplary cases of competence gain under consideration of the different contributions that the respective industry set-ups provided.

A comparison with learning impact derived from ex-cathedra teaching and other traditional forms of learning was created and discussed. The findings from this research helped to illustrate the nature of the contribution from POPBEE in terms of enabling student learning based on the challenge as defined by the industry partners.
Problem Based Learning, Engineering Education, Project Management.