CDIO Initiative

What Is CDIO?

CDIO (short for Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate), is an education initiative pioneered that began in 2001. This new model of engineering education stresses engineering fundamentals within the context of the actual process that engineers use. This initiative is a collaboration between industry and educators with the goal of producing engineering graduates who are actually ready to engineer upon graduation.

Real-world engineering requires more than knowledge of engineering fundamentals; it requires abilities ranging from experience with hands-on design-build projects to skills in communications and teamwork. An engineering programming formed within the framework of CDIO, teaches professional, personal, and interpersonal skills, in addition to the technical fundamentals.

Within the CDIO framework, curriculum includes design-and-build projects and demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of engineering. Educational experiences are created in which students design, build and operate product systems. In addition to theoretical problem solving, classes include team-based projects progressing towards an elective capstone design project that requires students to integrate and apply their knowledge to a fully comprehensive project.

The CDIO teaching method encourages active learning rather than passive note-taking. Students apply the information gained from lectures throughout their educational career, ensuring understanding of how fundamentals interact and impact actual processes.

CDIO benefits not only students, but also addresses the needs of industry. Students, who graduate under the CDIO framework, are ready to enter the workforce and begin engineering, reducing the need for lengthy and costly on-the-job training. Employers benefit from the experience students gained while working in interdisciplinary teams and environments and their exposure to real-life projects and guidelines.

The CDIO Initiative is an international venture with ninety-seven universities currently collaborating worldwide. The organization includes universities such as MIT, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Colorado, Duke, Embry Riddle, and the newest member, the University of Arkansas, which is the only university in the region to adopt this education reform initiative.

Through its concept, CDIO is resolving the conflict in engineering education – bringing engineering education in line with real-world engineering needs.

CDIO in Curriculum

Integrating CDIO into a traditional university curriculum, offers students with a unique experience to begin engineering and designing as early as their sophomore year, as opposed to their senior year. Students who are exposed to design throughout their college career, are better prepared to start in the workforce and engineer right out of school.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is introducing design into many of our courses,such asMechanics of Materials, Machine Element Design, ME labs, and our creative projects.

In addition, the department plans to open a Virtual Machine Shop in January of 2014. This cutting-edge facility willallow students to design, produce, and machine their creations without ever even leaving the building.

For more information on CDIO or to find out how you and your organization can become involved, pleasecontact us.

CDIO in Industry

Engineering education programs throughout much of the 20th century offered students plentiful hands-on practice: Accomplished and experienced engineers taught courses that focused on solving tangible problems.

But as the century progressed and scientific and technical knowledge expanded rapidly, engineering education evolved into the teaching of engineering science. Teaching engineering practice was increasingly de-emphasized.

As a result, industry in recent years has found that graduating students, while technically adept, lack many abilities required in real-world engineering situations.

Major companies created lists of abilities they wanted their engineers to possess (e.g. Boeing's Desired Attributes of an Engineer). To encourage schools to meet real world needs and rethink their educational strategies, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology listed its expectations for graduating engineers.

Industry and ABET had identified the destination; it was up to educators to plan the route. Faced with the gap between scientific and practical engineering demands, we took up the challenge to reform engineering education. The result of our endeavor is the worldwide CDIO Initiative.