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: Simão De Luca, Giovani; van der Linden, Julio Carlos de Souza
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil; 2: Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense (UNESC), Brazil
Section: Industrial 1
DOI number:
ISBN: 978-1-912254-05-7


This paper presents the results of a research developed at a communitarian university in the southern region of Brazil. Its Product Design course carries out design disciplines in partnership with companies, simulating a real environment for performing product designs. These projects stimulate students to develop a professional stance since the first semesters, bearing consistent results for both parts. Based on the design competencies presented by Overbeek et al. (2004), this study looked into which of the "core competencies" described by these authors have been developed throughout the projects conducted in partnership with companies. According to Overbeek et al. (2004) “core competencies” are specific competencies and therefore easier to identify. On the other hand, meta-competences, also presented by Overbeek et al. (2004), are transversal throughout the course and are difficult to be individuated in any discipline. The study was developed in two stages and encompassed all levels of the course, which lasts four years. Initially, a survey was applied within 39 students (out of a total of 81) enrolled in the course. In this survey, the central competencies were presented and students were asked to relate them to the disciplines where they seemed to have been more developed, and also which were their perception of their level of mastery of that competence. Subsequently, the survey results were discussed in focus groups with teachers, as well as in groups of students, from each semester separately, which confirmed and explained them from both optics (teachers and students). This study pointed out that the competences of “User Focus and Perspective” and “Ideas plus Concepts” were the ones more related to the disciplines with some kind of partnership with companies, while the competence “Market Orientation” did not have a relevant perception, in opposition to what was expected. In addition, as a result of the focus groups, it was concluded that executing projects in partnership with companies in just one semester do not allow for further development of the proposal and, therefore, students fail to understand how the product design they have developed can behave in the market. As a consequence of this study, it will be proposed the continuation of these projects in an interdisciplinary way throughout disciplines in the following semesters, in order to make the “Market Orientation” competency better perceived in the Product Design course.

Keywords: Design education, competency development, university-industry relationship


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