CDIO – Conceive, Design Implement and Operate has become a hot topic in curriculum design in recent years. It is championed as “an innovative educational framework for producing the next generation of engineers” (http://www.cdio.org/). The framework realizes the widen gap between engineering education and graduate practices. The basis of the syllabus, which claims can be adapted to any organization or educational institution, stresses the development of engineering fundamentals set in design and construct projects. To date, all institutions which have implemented CDIO and undertaken comprehensive evaluations of its success, have been traditional educational institutions with the standard cohort of oncampus students working in standard facilities in face-to-face teaching practices. However, in the rush to tap into new markets many institutions are venturing into the area of online and distance education. This places many different demands on students and academics and has further consequences for curriculum and assessment design.
This paper investigates opportunities and barriers to implementing the CDIO framework to distance and online education.
This paper is largely a literature review on CDIO, CDIO standards, and its application in distance education. It covers the area of distance and online education and Work Integrated Learning and how these principles can be applied to CDIO.
CDIO, whilst not the only avenue to develop a holistic curriculum, it does offer a well-developed and internationally supported framework. By using the framework along with aspects of virtual teamwork, it supported communication tools, and WIL, it offers a robust and innovative way to develop key graduate attributes in a diverse cohort of students. Students can utilise and expand on their work and life experience and industry becomes a key stakeholder in the learning partnership. By supporting appropriate placements for students and providing input into the curriculum and projects, distance education students may be able to overcome many of the barriers previously discussed.
In conclusion the authors demonstrate that with careful curriculum and assessment planning, making use of current technology and the appropriate learning theories of active and collaborative learning CDIO can be implemented successfully for distance education and several strategies are discussed. Whilst the implementation is not without problems it still can provide significant benefits for an increasingly diverse student cohort. CDIO deliver key graduate attributes as required by accreditation bodies as well as providing incentives for teaching staff to up-skill in both technical knowledge and teaching and learning principles.
CDIO; distance education; online education; graduate attributes.