DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Brisco, Ross; Grierson, Hilary
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
Section: The potential of interdisciplinary activities to foster responsible innovation
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.11
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


Engineering design education has experienced a recent paradigm shift. Online learning was once a novel concept with few universities and courses offered fully online. A consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic was a shift to online learning as the default for all universities during the period of self-isolation. Pre-pandemic on-campus education considered technologies to support distributed learning as a novel concept, as secondary to in-person education. Now, the engineering design educational community must consider remote learning as equal to in-person learning. We now find ourselves as educators, not with a desire for computer-supported collaboration, but instead with computer-necessitated collaboration now being the norm. Workshops were conducted with participants of the E&PDE conferences, and members of the Design Education Special Interest Group of the Design Society in 2020 and 2021. The first workshop took place in July 2020 with the aim to determine ‘what the challenges in the Design Education transition to online will be and how to overcome these. The outcomes of the workshop were: four key areas, 12 challenges and six solutions to these challenges. It was clear from this workshop that there were gaps in knowledge in terms of how to overcome challenges. Those involved in this transition did not believe the pandemic would have a huge impact on engineering design education and the community had little experience in taking emergency measures to get online quickly whilst still delivering high-quality material. The second workshop took place in early September 2021 after the community had experienced one year of teaching fully online. This time, 19 challenges were identified and 16 solutions to these challenges. By comparing the outcomes of the workshops, we can better understand the gaps in knowledge of engineering design educators before and after the first year of online learning, and the innovative solutions created to overcome these challenges. This paper will share the engineering design practice changes reported by the participants of the workshops that will be useful to others who are developing online content. A third workshop was conducted in late September 2021 developing upon the outcomes of the first and second workshops, in which participants were asked to take the challenges and solutions and to map these to a university timeline for students. This timeline proposes to support the planning of educational interventions to overcome common challenges and opportunities for online learning. The value of the timeline is in supporting others who are now engaged in online or hybrid learning, as a permanent change to their teaching practice, or as a framework, if a rapid change to fully online happens again.

Keywords: online, virtual, blended, hybrid, pandemic, COVID-19


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