Iowa Alumni Magazine: Engineering Across Cultures

Monday, April 11, 2011

The April 2011 issue of Iowa Alumni Magazine -- published by the UI Alumni Association -- features an article on how UI and French engineering students participate in a virtual team to collaborate on a real-life project.

To access the article, go to

The College of Engineering partners with the Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille (Polytech'Marseille) in Marseille, France on an international research experience for undergraduate engineering students called Virtual International Project Teams (VIPT).

The VIPT program involves substantial interaction between the students on collaborative projects that last for one year. Regular communication on the Internet, combined with travel to the partner institution, provides a realistic, intense level of partnership on a common project. Once qualified, UI students selected for VIPT use the VIPT experience to satisfy the College of Engineering Honors Program. In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of workshops and seminars offered by the Office of International Students and Scholars.

The goals of the VIPT program are: 1) Provide undergraduate engineering students with a team-based project experience, 2) Gain an understanding and appreciation of engineering standards, common engineering practices, and cultures in other countries, 3) Develop personal skills necessary to work on a team with students from another country on a common project, and 4) Understand and master the difficulties of communicating clearly and concisely through electronic media.