The Design of an Innovative Research Led, Undergraduate Programme for Effective Development of R&D Skills and Learning.
Engineering education has suffered a shift in focus between research led fundamental engineering and vocational training that has resulted in many graduate engineers equipped without a thorough grasp of either skill set. Furthermore the belief that these two components of education can be explicitly separated appears to undermine the notion of what a graduate engineer is. The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of a research informed, undergraduate, module that incorporates the principles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed approach to engineering education where the core components of study are formed around the concept of CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate). We outline our initial starting concept for the taught module and systematically break down the CDIO approach, applying the outcomes of this process to the design of the engineering module. The resultant module structure incorporates the majority of the CDIO principles, and highlights the mechanisms by which research can inform undergraduate teaching without straying away from the development of practical skills required by the graduate engineer. This work suggests that the CDIO approach, with minor modification, can be tailored to a single isolated module structure as well as a whole curriculum provided that there is a clear objective outlined at the start.