Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing

Special Issue Articles

A framework for design engineering education in a global context

Andrew J. Wodehousea1, Hilary J. Griersona1, Caroline Breslina2, Ozgur Erisa3, William J. Iona1, Larry J. Leifera4 and Ade Mabogunjea4

a1 Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

a2 Department of Learning Services, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

a3 Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Massachusetts, USA

a4 Center for Design Research, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA


This paper presents a framework for teaching design engineering in a global context using innovative technologies to enable distributed teams to work together effectively across international and cultural boundaries. The Digital Libraries for Global Distributed Innovative Design, Education, and Teamwork (DIDET) Framework represents the findings of a 5-year project conducted by the University of Strathclyde, Stanford University, and Olin College that enhanced student learning opportunities by enabling them to partake in global, team-based design engineering projects, directly experiencing different cultural contexts and accessing a variety of digital information sources via a range of innovative technology. The use of innovative technology enabled the formalization of design knowledge within international student teams as did the methods that were developed for students to store, share, and reuse information. Coaching methods were used by teaching staff to support distributed teams and evaluation work on relevant classes was carried out regularly to allow ongoing improvement of learning and teaching and show improvements in student learning. Major findings of the 5-year project include the requirement to overcome technological, pedagogical, and cultural issues for successful eLearning implementations. The DIDET Framework encapsulates all the conclusions relating to design engineering in a global context. Each of the principles for effective distributed design learning is shown along with relevant findings and suggested metrics. The findings detailed in the paper were reached through a series of interventions in design engineering education at the collaborating institutions. Evaluation was carried out on an ongoing basis and fed back into project development, both on the pedagogical and the technological approaches.

(Received May 05 2009)

(Accepted August 02 2009)


  • Design Education;
  • Design Engineering;
  • Digital Libraries;
  • Distributed Working


Reprint requests to: Andrew Wodehouse, Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management, University of Strathclyde, James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow G1 1XJ, Scotland, UK. E-mail: