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Cluster conference “Challenges & Frontiers in Engineering Education’

Hi, again colleagues!

I promised a short report from the Cluster conference “Challenges & Frontiers in Engineering Education’ in Eindhoven last week. The conference was held in the futuristic space ship give to Philips from the City back in the sixties named as the Evoluon Congress Centre. It is not clear if it also is equipped with a warp drive.

The start of the day was a very inspiring talk by Gareth H. McKinley Professor of Teaching Innovation.
School of Engineering, MIT, and it striking how much better MIT and other American universities are to explain what they are doing when it comes to innovation and reach out.

Anyway: the conference had eight sub-themes in work-shop format: Innovative Doctoral Training, Technology enhanced learning, Entrepreneurship & KIC’s, Involvement of Society, Gender balance, MOOCs and Outreach, Incubators & Start-ups and finally Internationalization.

I had to choose so I picked theme 4 and 7 namely Involvement of Society and Incubators & Start-ups.

Our own Margareta Norell Bergendahl gave an inspired talk on the possibilities for Open Lab at KTH in theme 4.

My general feeling after a long day and a lot of discussions are that we are quite well positioned in many of these areas but that we lack necessary facilities for our students to try their own wings in one way or other. ITM need an incubator/make space/workshop/lab! Maybe we can call it Brazil-lab?

One reflection was that MOOCs was generally downplayed in discussions and it was basically put forward a way of enabling greater flexibility for on-campus students and a way to better prepare for courses + of course a great way of attracting students and branding the university.

The conference was rounded up with a couple of panels consisting entirely of Rectors from Cluster universities. My conclusion was that it was rather difficult for them to predict the future. Maybe it would have been smarter to discuss a desirable future? Anyway…

After the conference we were taken to the joint exhibition from TU/e, Delft and Twente as a part of the Dutch Design Week. This was rounded of with the Cluster Gala Dinner where we were served a real design dinner, so spectacular that we never understood where and when the main course was served. We compensated with a big dessert.

/Per L (GA)151030_GA_Cluster