Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Project introduction and background information

Digital education provides a unique opportunity to reshape our educational practices in order to optimally use our limited resource in terms of human capital and continue to provide excellent education to our students. However, education at most universities is still organized around monographic stand-alone topic courses, offered in a predetermined sequence and taught in plenary lectures. At the same time, it is well-known that the ingredients needed for (deep) learning are: boundaries (context), resources and a question that triggers our imagination. The goal of CMODE project was to develop a course design strategy based on these three pillars that can be extended to curriculum design.

The next project; CMODE-UP used the results of CMODE, and created evidence-based design principles for teachers to design their courses in engineering education with online modules. A teacher guide was also created to assist teachers in their design decisions.

Finally, CMODE-UP, the subsequent project, improved the design principles, the results from a teacher workshop were combined with results of a descriptive literature review.

Objective and expected outcomes

The general objectives of the projects were to arrive at evidence-based design principles for modular on-demand digital education in higher engineering education and CBL contexts.

The following sub-objectives were addressed with CMODE, CMODE-UP, and CMODE-UP: Implementation.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Explore the possibilities of on-demand modular education within the current curriculum structure.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Design a real-life case that provides the motivation for deep learning in the modules.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Optimize face-to-face lecturer-student contact to maximize the ratio value/time.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Develop an intelligent digital learning environment including digital assessment tools.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Design digital learning environment making use of existing online material supplemented with new material if needed and implement in CANVAS.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Establish best practices, do鈥檚 and don鈥檛s and a roadmap towards broader implementation of design principles for modular courses in higher engineering education.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Optimize use of our limited resources to make lecturer time count.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Maximize the added value of TU/e education with respect to online programs. 聽


路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The C-MODE blueprint is based on existing literature and best practices and TU/e expertise.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The "design principles" and the "teacher guide" of CMODE-UP are based on: a) a systematic literature review on 33 peer-reviewed published articles on modular courses in higher engineering education, b) interviews with TU/e experts and teachers.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The design principles are then improved through: a) a short workshop with two TU/e teachers and b) a descriptive review of relevant articles and conference proceedings that can shed light on issues such as design of a course with elective modules.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The design principles can be further strengthened and adapted using empirical data and practical implementation in the context of modular courses.

Expected outcomes

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Evidence-based framework with: a) design principles and a) accompanying teacher guide that can help teachers and course designers at a practical level in design of courses with a modular approach.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Improved performance and satisfaction of students and lecturers.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Reduce pressure on lecturing space and lecturer time.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Roadmap towards a broader implementation of modular courses.

Results and learnings

CMODE-UP resulted in two products to facilitate design of courses with a modular approach.

The first product contains聽six design principles聽for the teachers to consider as they design their course with a modular approach: 1) Course content: analyze learners, resources and course learning outcomes, 2) Module category, 3) Weekly alignment, 4) Module development, 5) Implementation, and 6) Course evaluation.

The second product;聽teacher guide聽seeks to further support teachers in designing courses by showing them selected illustrative articles. This teacher guide is a practical source to illustrate how the design principles have actually been implemented in the literature. This guide provides the teachers with example articles for each design principle. This teacher guide does not tell the teacher to apply certain design principles, but gives examples and shows how and why a teacher might choose from different design options.

With CMODE-UP: Implementation, the researchers worked on the iteration and validation of both products, through: a) testing of the design principles at TU/e engineering courses at a short teacher workshop and b) a descriptive review of 20 published papers.

Our current actions for dissemination include:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 conference presentation; the 50th SEFI Annual Conference, September 19-22, 2022, Barcelona, Spain,

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 conference presentation; the 49th SEFI Annual Conference, September 13-16, 2021, Technical University Berlin (virtual),

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 4TU final-reports for CMODE-UP and for CMODE-UP: Implementation,

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 research seminar at Innovation Space, May 12, 2022,

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 presentation at TU/e CoP meeting, May 18, 2022,

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 presentation at the 4TU Modularization event, December 9, 2021, and

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 article to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Practical outcomes

Please follow this page for the upcoming products of CMODE-UP: Implementation: 鈥楨xpress reports鈥 and 鈥楾eacher Recommendations鈥.