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Course development: International Collaborative Design Project

An initial working group of Dr Tom Curran (UCD), Dr Pilar Barrerio (UPM), Dr Guiliano Vox (UniBa), Dr Theo Dillaha (VT), Dr Steve Zahos and Dr Rich Gates (UIUC) developed ideas for how to add a global dimension to design activity within Biosystems Engineering curricula. They reviewed design experience in the partner universities and concluded that there is a trend towards problem-based learning in real-life type projects in team environment, and potential for a collaborative undergraduate design activity across the network.

During 2013 a working group comprised of Dr Tom Curran / Prof Nicholas Holden (UCD), Prof Francisco Ayuga (UPM), Dr Francesco Gentile / Prof Giacomo Scarascia (UniBa), Prof Demetres Briassoulis (AUA), Dr Durelle Scott / Dr Mary Leigh Wolfe (VT) and Dr Rich Gates (UIUC) had a number of Skype calls which culminated in a workshop at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg in July 2013. The work involved a review of existing modules that could include international collaboration and the potential of a new class/module/course. The group highlighted many different possibilities for the class including semester/year-long exchanges, short courses, webinars, industry/global specific problems, and student-design videos. Many challenges were acknowledged such as varying semester dates, language, resources, cost of implementation, differing programme structures, matching classes/modules/courses, and opportunity cost for faculty/academic staff.

It was decided that the most feasible method to implement in the short term was the video podcast. The group agreed that the following two learning outcomes could be added to classes (modules/courses) - that students should be able to: 1. Create a video with technical content for an international peer audience; and 2. Assess and provide feedback for content and clarity of videos created by international peers. Students in selected classes in the 2013/14 academic year will take part in this collaboration.

Material on this activity has been published at the ASABE International Meeting in 2011 and the ASEE 2010. Further papers are planned in 2014 at the EurAgEng conference and the ASABE International Meeting and later in an appropriate journal.
Current activity:The summer workshop was successful and an implementation and dissemination plan have been agreed
Last updated:22-07-2013


N. M. HoldenUCD
M. L. WolfeVT
R. S. GatesUIUC
D. Briassoulis AUA
F. Ayuga UPM
G. Scarascia-MugnozzaUniBa

EU Coordinator:

Prof Nicholas M Holden
UCD School of Biosystems Engineering
Room 3.03, Agriculture and Food Science Centre
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4

US Coordinator:

Dr Mary Leigh Wolfe
Biological Systems Engineering
305 Seitz Hall
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

This project is funded by:

Details of the programme can be found here
Details of the programme can be found here
N. M Holden 2009
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland