Co-creation in higher education is the process where students collaborate with instructors in designing the curriculum and associated educational material. This can take place in different scenarios, such as integrating co-creation into an ongoing course, modifying a previously taken course, or while creating a new course. In this Work-In-Progress, we investigate training and formative assessment models for preparing graduate students in engineering to participate as co-creators of educational material on an interdisciplinary topic. The topic of cyber-physical systems engineering and product lifecycle management with application to structural health monitoring is considered in this co-creation project. This entails not only topics from different disciplines of civil, computer, electrical and environmental engineering, business, and information sciences, but also humanistic issues of sustainability, environment, ethical and legal concerns in data-driven decision-making that support the control of cyber-physical systems.
Aside from the objective of creating modules accessible to students with different levels of disciplinary knowledge, the goal of this research is to investigate if the co-creation process and the resulting modules also promote interest and engagement in interdisciplinary research. A literature survey of effective training approaches for co-creation and associated educational theories is summarized. For students, essential training components include providing (i) opportunities to align their interests, knowledge, skills, and values with the topic presented; (ii) experiential learning on the topic to help develop and enhance critical thinking and question posing skills, and (iii) safe spaces to reflect, voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions. In this research we investigate the adaption of project-based learning (PjBL) strategies and practices to support (i) and (ii) and focus groups for participatory action research (PAR) as safe spaces for reflection, feedback, and action in item (iii). The co-creation process is assessed through qualitative analysis of data collected through the PjBL activities and PAR focus groups and other qualitative data (i.e., focus group transcripts, interview transcripts, project materials, fieldnotes, etc.). The eventual outcome of the co-creation process will be an on-line course module that is designed to be integrated in existing engineering graduate and undergraduate courses at four different institutions, which includes two state universities and two that are historically black colleges and universities.