Teaching interpersonal skills in an international design-build course

Jørgen Erik Christensen, Markku Karhu, Cecillia Christensen

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The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Metropolia) started the CDIO concept in the autumn of 2008. The aim with this was to reform the B.Sc. courses to guide students to become better and more efficient engineers. The working conditions of a typical engineer involve many other fields than just those requiring technical skills. Interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly important, including communication, teamwork and leadership. The purpose of this paper is to describe the co-operation between DTU and Metropolia on the development of an International Communication Course for the engineering students and to emphasize the importance of including a course like this into the CDIO concept, to be worked on in the process of further development. The course described in this paper is a strictly non-engineering course in communication; it is special in that its chief purpose is to bring into focus the fact that students have to take an active part in the exercises as well as involve themselves in the interactive communication process. This is in stark contrast to a teacher giving lectures about communication, leaving the students passive listeners. The personal involvement aroused a negative reaction from several students at the beginning of the course however, during the one- week course the students gained a better understanding of the importance of learning how to communicate appropriately. Altogether, the four key questions dealing with the quality of the course show a very high satisfaction with the instruction. The grades one and two (1 best/very much, 5 worst/very little) of the responses to these four questions are ranging on average from 69.5% to 88% (on a yearly basis). The positive responses indicate that the students are very satisfied with the course recognising the need for education on international communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th International CDIO Conference 2011
Publication date2011
ISBN (Print)978‐87‐985272‐6‐8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event7th International CDIO Conference - Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 20 Jun 201123 Jun 2011
Conference number: 7


Conference7th International CDIO Conference
LocationTechnical University of Denmark
Internet address


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