Distributed cognition transformation in complete online system engineering design teaching

Sabah Farshad, Clement Fortin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Engineering design teams, particularly in academic courses, were no exception to the consequences of the unknown virus and the global pandemic. Forced online teaching has influenced the way of using communication technologies. The information flow architecture of engineering design is also transforming due to the remote activities and the dominancy of web-based technologies. This transformation creates different patterns of distributed cognition within design teams. In the course of full remote teaching, we studied the entire information flow of a small and dispersed engineering team through the early stages of design for one month using the ethnographic method and Distributed Cognition analysis techniques. Our analysis, of the interdisciplinary design team during a rocket engineering project and system engineering teaching, shows the considerable role of different online data sharing and communications technology platforms in distributed cognition and collaborative problem solving within the team. These new trends create new challenges and opportunities, and in order to enhance collaborative design, these emerged out of the box trends require more attention and updating of existing strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1313-1322
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Design Society
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event23rd International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2021 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 16 Aug 202120 Aug 2021


  • Design cognition
  • Distributed cognition
  • Information management
  • Remote teamwork
  • Systems Engineering (SE)


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