Connecting across differences to develop engineering solutions to sustainability challenges

Reinwald, Y. ORCID: 0000-0001-6733-605X and Newstead, C., 2022. Connecting across differences to develop engineering solutions to sustainability challenges. In: M.S. Gudjonsdottir, H. Audunsson, A.M. Donoso, G. Kristjansson, I. Saemundsdóttir, J.T. Foley, M. Kyas, A. Sripakagorn, J. Roslöf, J. Bennedsen, K. Edström, N. Kuptasthien and R. Lyng, eds., Proceedings of the 18th CDIO International Conference. Reykjavik, Iceland: Reykjavík University, pp. 372-384. ISBN 9789935965561

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Study abroad has long been promoted to aid the development of intercultural confidence, adaptability, and context awareness, necessary to work cross-culturally and in different environments. International travel, however, is increasingly at odds with the broader objectives of sustainability due to its climate impacts and uneven global availability. Collaborative online international learning (COIL) offers a potential solution to this issue, creating opportunities for students to engage with peers in a wide diversity of locations, increasingly reflective of contemporary team-based engineering environments. To provide students with an opportunity to collaborate globally, the Department of Engineering at Nottingham Trent University introduced a virtual Engineering Research Online Summer School (EROS International) in 2021. EROS International connected engineering undergraduate students across different disciplinary backgrounds from Canada, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, and the UK, to collaboratively complete a one-week sustainability challenge on energy consumption and energy management. Students worked in multi-cultural groups across different time zones supported by an academic mentor. This paper explored the outcomes of this project by drawing on evidence from students’ pre- and post-activity self-assessments. At the beginning, students had little or no prior experience of sustainability in their engineering curriculum and limited understanding of engineering challenges associated with sustainable development. EROS International helped participants to increase their knowledge of sustainability and to recognise the importance of international collaboration for developing engineering solutions to sustainability problems. Students experienced challenges related to online and distributed workspaces but were also able to recognise the opportunities for sharing complementary knowledge, contextualising technical knowledge, and building strong communication skills.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Reinwald, Y. and Newstead, C.
Publisher: Reykjavík University
Place of Publication: Reykjavik, Iceland
Date: 2022
ISBN: 9789935965561
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 24 Oct 2022 09:18
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 09:33

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