DS 95: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2019), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. 12th -13th September 2019

Year: 2019
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Svennevig, Paul Ragnar; Thorstensen, Rein Terje
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Universtietet i Agder, Norway
Section: Industrial 2
DOI number:
ISBN: 978-1-912254-05-7


At the University of Agder (UiA), the civil and structural engineering students in the fourth semester have participated in an event called “Innovation Camp”, all years since 2012. Innovation Camp is a collaboration between The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), Ungt Entreprenørskap (UE), which is a partner in the worldwide organisation Junior Achievement worldwide (JA worldwide) and UiA.

Innovation Camp has a pedagogical base adopted from the National Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning. This framework is again based on the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF). Hence, it is based on national- and international frameworks for teaching innovative processes and thinking.

The roles of the stakeholders are divided as follows; the NPRA provides real-life problems that the students are to use their innovative- and engineering skills to solve. UE is the link between the UiA and NPRA and provides the administrative help. UiA provides the students and makes sure that each camp has a foundation in the learning outcome of the education. Mentoring of the students is done by personnel from the UiA and NPRA in cooperation. Each camp is run over two days, which gives the students 24 hours to solve the problem they have chosen to work with.

The camp starts off with a motivational speech by an innovative person within the field of engineering. Then there are different tasks to get the students into an “innovative mode”. Successively, the real-life problems from NPRA are presented. The students then chose what problem to solve and gather in the pre-set groups to start their work. Mentors visit the groups twice. After the first round, the students can contact each mentor to get more mentoring. In the second round of mentoring, the mentors support the students with more specified advice. The mentors meant to be available until 1600 the first day, but most of them find it so interesting to work with the students, that they are available through the night. The next day, the students are to present their solution to a semi-final jury. As a result of the high number of students participating, there are three semi-finals run in parallel. Each semi-final jury chose three groups that go through to the final. In the final, the jury chose the first, second, and third place winners. The final jury consists of the head of the southern region of NPRA, the dean of the faculty of technology and science, and three representatives for future employers of the students.

This article discusses how participation in this Innovation Camp helps the students improve their innovative skills, which subsequently strengthens the learning outcome from the study program. Also, feedback from the stakeholders in this collaboration is valuable for development of the Engineering Education program.

Keywords: innovative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration university and the corporate world


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