Assessing International Product Design and Development Graduate Courses: The MIT-Portugal Program


The Product Design and Development (PDD) course is part of the graduate curriculum in the Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) study in the MIT-Portugal Program. The research participants included about 110 students from MIT, EDAM, and two universities in Portugal, Instituto Superior Técnico—Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (IST) and the Universidade do Porto (FEUP). We investigated the PDD EDAM course in the context of the two other groups who studied a similar course in a different setting. Research tools included questionnaires, with questions related to students’ learning outcomes and perceptions as well as focus groups with EDAM faculty and students. We assessed the EDAM course format of several concentrated two-week long periods compared with a regular semester based on students and faculty feedback. In a question related to the product life cycle stages the MIT and EDAM students listed on average a higher number of items than that of the IST and FEUP students, indicating a higher level of learning. The learning approach that follows the MIT PDD course has been instrumental in successfully incorporating hands-on activities and student-faculty interactions into the EDAM program.


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