Exploring Teaching for Active Learning in Engineering Education

Videnbyen, SDU, Odense 23 & 24 May 2017

Archived - info about the 2018 Conference

can be found here


How to educate the best engineers?

Learning as a dynamic social practice

Engineering Education seen from

 a "Rocket Perspective"

Helle Rootzén, Professor, DTU Compute


Professor in Learning Technology and Digitalization at the Technical University of Denmark. Has been head of DTU Compute from 2010-2015. Am working on learning technology, learning analytics, evidence in learning, learning objects, e-learning, and student based learning. Likes to look into the exponential future, leadership, statistics, big data, and diversity.


Keynote - How to educate the best engineers?:

How do we educate the best engineers? Asking that question raises a lot of other questions: e.q. How do we find the balance between theory and practice? How much should we - as teachers - be responsible for "making learning happen"? Should we instead develop student driven learning? And  how big a role should digital learning technology play? I believe that learning could be much more individualized, efficient and fun - and that we could benefit from using more e-learning, letting the students take much more responsibility for their own learning process, and combine it with coaching from teachers and people from industry.


Lene Tanggaard Pedersen, Professor, Department of Communication and Psychology, AAU

Professor of Psychology in the Department of Communication and Psychology at the University of Aalborg, Denmark, where she serves as director of the QS-research group (30 members, VIP), advisor for several Ph.D.-students, Co-director of The International Centre for the Cultural Psychology of Creativity (ICCPC), and co-director of the Center for Qualitative Studies, a network of more than 90 professors and researchers concerned with methodology and development of new research tools ( She is regional editor of The International Journal of Qualitative Research in Education and co-editor of Psykologisk Pædagogisk Tidsskrift. Lene is the author of numerous books and articles, among those the book: Lær – effektiv talentudvikling og innovation.


Keynote - Learning as a dynamic social practice:


This key-note by Professor Lene Tanggaard addresses the need of a dynamic understanding of learning in education and beyond. Research into knowledge transfer has shown that transposing the knowledge acquired in a training course onto work is not without its problems. People discover that learning processes can be difficult and at times they can regress. Furthermore, there is a body of knowledge that does not lend itself to absorption or transfer via traditional teaching.


It is simply not enough to just fill up on the mental stock of knowledge in individuals and in organisations. We are in need of a more dynamic understanding of learning. Most of our new graduates are equipped with analytical skills, a flair for acquiring knowledge and a willingness to learn new things. Yet the fact is that we could exploit these excellent skills far more systematically than we currently do – and this is true of skills acquired in academic as well as other contexts. We know that formal education or teaching is often the best way to instil deep specialist knowledge. However, most jobs in both private and public spheres need employees with both breadth and depth of knowledge if they are to have the ability to expand the frontiers of current expertise. We know that most innovative companies typically look for the 'T-shaped' professional, one who possesses a depth of skills and the ability to apply him- or herself to other areas. Such employees have mastered their subject; but they are also keen to explore any chance for learning something new wherever possible. Working on this broader plane often requires other elements: networks, experience and practicality. And it demands the kind of apprenticeship in which depth is combined with breadth. Could we work with this thinking also in formal education and develop a more active and apprenticeship based kind of teaching? These are the questions addresses by Tanggaard in the present key-note.

Peter Madsen alias "Raket Madsen", RML Spacelab

Peter Madsen – better known as Rocket Madsen – is the number one autodidactic rocket constructor in Denmark. Peter was one of the main drivers behind the successful launch into space of an amateur rocket, a project that was based on a small budget and a lot of work from dedicated volunteers. Peter is also the man behind the world’s largest amateur-built submarine, Nautilus, 33 tons and 20 m long. Former Danish Minister of Transport, Lars Barfod (K) said in an interview with Ingeniøren the following: “I don’t know whether we need more people who want to send men into space in a self-built rocket but I know that people who set ambitious goals and subsequently do everything to reach them are greatly inspiring. We need more of such people in Denmark.” Hopefully, Rocket Madsen may inspire engineering students and their teachers.


Keynote - Engineering Education seen from a "Rocket Perspective":


"If the United States, Russia and China can make space rockets - so can we."


With this quote, it was possible for Peter Madsen to cross borders and break with traditional ideas about what is possible and not possible. By use of extreme innovation, vision and dynamics, he is now realising his dream. It's all about the incredible way to an incredible target. From having built the world's largest amateur submarine to the world's largest amateur-built spacecraft, and most recently the Space Lab, Peter Madsen entertains about his innovative work from creativity and drawings into reality.


He provides insight into the technical challenges and discusses the work in non- profit and open source projects in relation to watch for political and legal loopholes.


Peter Madsen is not without reason demanded all over the country. He always enjoys top marks for his lectures in which he inspires his listeners. Get an experience out of the ordinary - it's innovation, motivation, passion and inspiration for the class!