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DIDET: Digital libraries for distributed, innovative design education and teamwork. Final project report

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee); NSF (National Science Foundation) (Funder) (2008) DIDET: Digital libraries for distributed, innovative design education and teamwork. Final project report. [Report]

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    The central goal of the DIDET Project was to enhance student learning opportunities by enabling them to partake in global, team based design engineering projects, in which they directly experience different cultural contexts and access a variety of digital information sources via a range of appropriate technology. To achieve this overall project goal, the project delivered on the following objectives: 1. Teach engineering information retrieval, manipulation, and archiving skills to students studying on engineering degree programs. 2. Measure the use of those skills in design projects in all years of an undergraduate degree program. 3. Measure the learning performance in engineering design courses affected by the provision of access to information that would have been otherwise difficult to access. 4. Measure student learning performance in different cultural contexts that influence the use of alternative sources of information and varying forms of Information and Communications Technology. 5. Develop and provide workshops for staff development. 6. Use the measurement results to annually redesign course content and the digital libraries technology. The overall DIDET Project approach was to develop, implement, use and evaluate a testbed to improve the teaching and learning of students partaking in global team based design projects. The use of digital libraries and virtual design studios was used to fundamentally change the way design engineering is taught at the collaborating institutions. This was done by implementing a digital library at the partner institutions to improve learning in the field of Design Engineering and by developing a Global Team Design Project run as part of assessed classes at Strathclyde, Stanford and Olin. Evaluation was carried out on an ongoing basis and fed back into project development, both on the class teaching model and the LauLima system developed at Strathclyde to support teaching and learning. Major findings include the requirement to overcome technological, pedagogical and cultural issues for successful elearning implementations. A need for strong leadership has been identified, particularly to exploit the benefits of cross-discipline team working. One major project output still being developed is a DIDET Project Framework for Distributed Innovative Design, Education and Teamwork to encapsulate all project findings and outputs. The project achieved its goal of embedding major change to the teaching of Design Engineering and Strathclyde's new Global Design class has been both successful and popular with students.