Sør-Trøndelag University College (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 7180-7185
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
It is quite challenging for a distributed team trying to solve a common and interdisciplinary problem to work optimally. Concurrent design is an approach to interdisciplinary problem solving which has proved to be both efficient and effective. This approach means to establish a concurrent design facility that is equipped with appropriate ICT equipment and to gather the necessary expertise within this co-located facility. The facility will in turn be used to conduct concurrent design sessions, i.e., highly intensive working sessions facilitated by a concurrent design facilitator.

Many of the ideas from co-located concurrent design can also be transferred to a distributed environment, but this will also cause different challenges. In this paper we look at challenges associated with articulating distributed problem solving processes and we look particularly at the use of a distributed Mind Map, which is used as the main tool in relation to coordination of the distributed collaborative design process.
The paper reports from an EU-project in which partners from seven European countries collaborate on designing entrepreneurial courses.This EU-project is currently in the startup phase and the first work package aims to adapt the concurrent design process to the project in question. This means that we must define the demands for different experts, make a plan concerning which interdisciplinary activities that should be undertaken, and define which tools we should utilize to support the distributed problem-solving process.

In this paper, we build on previous experiences in interdisciplinary problem solving with the use of concurrent design, and we focus on challenges in relation to articulation of this work. Specifically how to use a distributed mind map to coordinate the project participants optimally. The results are based on own experiences in this problem area besides relevant research literature and it contains specific plans for how this will be organized in a concrete EU projects. We highlight some challenges associated with the coordination of distributed problem-solving tasks and we discuss how we can use experiences from an ongoing project to improve the articulation of distributed and collaborative design of entrepreneurial courses, with special focus on the utilization of a distributed Mind Map. Furthermore, we discuss how this can contribute to articulation of distributed problem solving processes on a more general level.

The methodological approach used in this project is based on action research, which forces us to carry out a cyclical process model where action planning, action taking and evaluation is repeated in several iterations. In practice, this is about planning, implementation and evaluation of distributed concurrent design sessions. At present in this project we have completed a startup meeting, and two out of four distributed concurrent design sessions in which the upcoming entrepreneurial course has been initially designed. Further work will therefore be to complete the action research cycles and figure out whether we are able to generalize about articulation of distributed problem solving processes, based on the data that are available from the project.
Collaborative Design of Entrepreneurial Courses, Distributed Collaboration, Concurrent Design.