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Inspire their desire - balanced learning with real industrial projects

Prof Steffen Ritter | Hochschule Reutlingen (HS Reutlingen) (Reutlingen University)

Inspire their desire - balanced learning with real industrial projects

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At Reutlingen University the collaboration with industry plays an essential role. Established as capstone courses in the curricula of the undergraduate and graduate programs of Mechanical Engineering there is more than a decade of experience on cooperative project based courses with industrial and research partners. The focus of these courses is mainly product development, with all its aspects from first concepts, material choices, design, calculations, detailing, prototyping and validation up to final production. Balanced leaning doesn�t mean to follow any specific learning or teaching format, it means to teach and learn to solve the given problem accordingly. A mixture of classic frontal lecture, project based learning, problem based learning, e-learning... applied to the task will lead to a successful balanced learning strategy. The success factors for persistent, motivating and inspiring courses will be shown. From the acquisition of the right industrial partners, the choice of the right problem, the timing of the project, the evaluation of grades up to any other important aspect. Our role as teachers change from a mainly "input driven teaching style" to a "support giving coaching style". Leading the students to ask the right questions or use the right tools at the right time of the project without solving the problems ourselves. At the same time we need to inspire and motivate the students to leave a positive connection to what we do as product developing engineers. A class wide open feedback culture is established, where teachers and industrial partners are allowed to give respectful open feedback. The students confirm in final evaluations the value of these industrial problem related all-embracing student projects. Compared to "classical" lectures these courses show significant improvement of what students think how much they have learned and how motivated they are to apply their knowledge. Let�s inspire their desire!