Presentation of the CDIO Academy at Skoltech

On 19 November 2013, the presentation of the CDIO Academy training programme was held at Skoltech in cooperation with the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI).

The training programme was participated by representatives of such higher education institutions as the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Tomsk Polytechnic University, Ural Federal University, Astrakhan State University, Moscow Aviation Institute, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, as well as the representatives of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and other higher education institutions of the country.

The CDIO Academy consists of five modules, three of which are conducted in the on-site session format, whilst the other two are webinars. The last module of the programme will be held in May 2014 at Skoltech and will be concluded with the CDIO RUSSIA 2014 conference. More than 20 leading engineering higher education institutions of Russia are expected to participate in the training programme.

The CDIO Initiative presently encompasses more than 100 universities worldwide, which act as partners striving to increase the level of technical education in the world and to foster a new generation of engineers.

According to Skoltech Vice President for academic matters Mikhail Myagkov, through the application of CDIO any education institution solves a dual task: on the one hand, it designs courses which are based on the project approach to learning and CDIO standards; on the other hand, it creates a culture of engineer training. And the solution of the second task is even more important than that of the first one.

In the context of the presentation of the programme, the participants discussed a number of important topics relating to the introduction of CDIO principles into the training programmes of leading engineering universities in Russia and abroad. Among the most sought-after after are the principles of building, the key technologies and practice of the CDIO system, the requirements to the modernisation of engineering education, the assessment of the practical introduction of CDIO and the readiness of universities to introduce it, and many others.

“The introduction of the CDIO principles is about transforming the education. It must address the relevant knowledge and skills which are required by modern society and which the industry wants to see in its future engineers”, says guest lecturer Kristina Edström (Royal Institute of Technology). Kristina also added that Russian higher education has many strengths that are acknowledged worldwide. At the same time, to improve the quality of engineering practice and innovation in Russia, education needs to be changed and modernised. Universities should build the methodology of their work around the educational process – all modern educational methods and practices – everything that will have a high impact on the students, motivate and inspire them, since it is these factors that enable fostering the next generation of engineers around the world.

In the CDIO Academy programme, Skoltech ensures interconnection and presence of foreign experts; it also helps universities introduce the international experience of the incorporation of CDIO into the training process.

In Kristina Edström’s opinion, Skoltech has several important roles in this process. First of all, it is the formation of a new university model, which will be an example for universities not only in Russia but in other countries as well. The achievements of the university and the introduction of its own exemplary training practices are very important, and the community should be made aware of them. Another important role of Skoltech is the development of the idea and principles of CDIO in Russia and abroad. Skoltech should become a kind of CDIO ambassador and at the same time support all initiatives and changes in the universities’ training processes.

Skoltech’s international partners in providing expert support for the programme are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the Chalmers University of Technology.
The Worldwide CDIO Initiative is the community of engineering universities which provide practice-oriented education and an integrated approach to professional training: a set of common principles for the development of training programmes, their material and technical support, as well as the selection and training of teaching staff.
The development of the CDIO principles began in the late 1990s in the United States in response to employers’ dissatisfaction with the fact that university engineering education was too far away from practice. Formally, the CDIO community emerged in 2000 thanks to cooperation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with three Swedish universities: the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linköping University and the Chalmers University of Technology. The author and co-founder of the CDIO Initiative is Rector of Skoltech Edward Crawley. To date, more than 100 higher education institutions from 30 countries of the world have joined the CDIO Initiative. In Russia, the CDIO members are: Tomsk Polytechnic University (since 2011), the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (since 2012), Astrakhan State University (since March 2012), Moscow Aviation Institute (since October 2012), the Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (since March 2013) and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (since April 2013).

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