Research Areas























































Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC) Global Teamwork

Renate Fruchter

The mission of the Project Based Learning Laboratory (PBL Lab) at Stanford is to prepare the next generation of AEC professionals who know how to team up with professionals from other disciplines worldwide and leverage the advantages of innovative collaboration technologies to produce higher quality products, faster, more economical, and environmentally friendly. The goal is for these students to become leaders in global teamwork. The objective is a sustained effort in an integrated research and curriculum to develop, test, deploy, and assess radically new collaboration technologies, workspaces, processes, learning and teamwork models that support cross-disciplinary, geographically distributed teams. The vision was to create the master builder’s atelier in which undergraduate students play the role of apprentices to AEC MSc students, AEC MSc students play the role of journeymen, AEC faculty and industry practitioners play the role of experts, mentors, and sponsors. This is accomplished through an authentic project-based learning (PBL) learning experience and an innovative information technology (ICT) infrastructure. The PBL Lab serves as a home for the PBL learning experience and a testbed to study the impact of ICT in global teamwork and learning. The AEC Global Teamwork course established at Stanford in 1993 and run in collaboration with universities worldwide, offers an authentic PBL teamwork learning experience that enables students to identify discipline and cross-discipline objectives and thereby develop know-why knowledge in an interdisciplinary situated context. They exercise the theory and knowledge acquired in traditional discipline courses, i.e., know-what and know-how. The students are challenged to cross four chasms – cross-disciplinary teamwork, use effectively collaboration technologies, manage and coordinate their tasks and team process over time and space, and work in multi-cultural teams. The roles of each information technology as mediator for communication and cooperation within cross-disciplinary teams is justified and determined to support the diverse: (1) modes of learning and interaction over time and space, (2) needs to capture, share, and reuse information and knowledge, and (3) types of interactions among participants. The core atom in this program is represented by the AEC globally distributed student teams. Since 1993 more than 20 universities in Europe, Asia and USA have participated in the program leading to a continuously growing global learning network.

Martin, M., Fruchter, R., Cavallin, H., and Heylighen, A., (2007)“Different by Design,” AIEDAM International Journal, Special issue on “Support for Design Teams, Vol. 21, Nr. 3, Summer 2007, 219-226.

Fruchter, R., (2006)“The FishbowlTM: Degrees of Engagement in Global Teamwork,” I.F.C. Smith ed., LNAI 4200 “Intelligent Computing in Engineering and Architecture,” Springer Verlag, 241-257.

Fruchter, R., “Degrees of Engagement,” International Journal of AI & Society, 2005, Vol 19, 8-21.

Zolin, R., Fruchter, R., and Levitt, R., (2003) “Realism and Control: Problem-based learning environments as a data source for work-related research" International Journal of Engineering Education (IJEE) Vol. 19, No. 6, 788-798.

Fruchter, R. “Dimensions of Teamwork Education,” International Journal of Engineering Education (IJEE), Vol 17, Nr4 and 5, April 2001.

Fruchter, R. “Architecture/Engineering/Construction Teamwork: A Collaborative Design and Learning Space,” Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, October 1999, Vol 13 No.4, pp 261-270.

Fruchter, R., "Roles of Computing in P5BL: Problem-, Project-, Product-, Process-, People-based Learning," AIEDAM Journal, Nr. 12, 1998, pp65-67.

Fruchter, R. “Global Teamwork: Cross-disciplinary, Collaborative, Geographically Distributed e-Learning Environment,” published in Collaborative Design and Learning: Competence Building for Innovation, ed. J. Bento, J. Duarte, M. Heitor, W. Mitchell, Quorum Books Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 2004, 265-298.

Fruchter, R. “PBL Laboratory – AEC Global Teamwork,” in J-MEMEX: Creation of International Research Networks and Specific Digital Archives, ed. K. Imai, Stanford-Japan Center, Kyoto, Japan, 2001, pp356-396 (in Japaneze).

Jungbecker, A., Fruchter, R., Alfen, H.W., Implementing the Public Private Partnership Approach in Education, 13th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference, Weimar, June 2006.

Ibrahim, R., Fruchter, R., Shariff, R. Defining an Innovative Architectural-Construction Integration Design Studio for Sustainable Global Practice, 1st CSAAR2006 Conference, November 2006, Morocco.

Fruchter, R. “A Decade of Innovation in Project Based Learning and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Global Teamwork,” ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering, invited keynote, July 2005.

Fruchter, R., “Innovation in Engaging Learning and Global Teamwork Experiences,” Proc. of Computing in Civil Engineering Conference in conjunctions with ASCE National Convention, ed. Ian Flood, Nashville, 2003.

Fruchter, R. “Collaboration Ecosystem in Support of Wicked Problem Formulation,” Proc. of Wicked Problems: Information Technology, Collaboration and the Design Process Symposium, UC. Berkeley, October 2003.

Fruchter, R., “Dimensions of Teamwork Education,” Designing Design Education for the 21st Century, Mudd Design Workshop II, May 1999.

Fruchter, R., “Taking the Distance out of Distance Learning,” CELTIC 3rd International Symposium on Civil Engineering Learning Technology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK, September 1999.

Fruchter, R., "AEC Teamwork Apprenticeship," Proc. of 1998 ASCE International Computing Congress, Boston, October 1998.

Fruchter, R., "Roles of Computing in P5BL:Problem-, Project-, Product-, Process-, and People-Based Learning" Proc. of "Computing Futures in Engineering Design," ed. Clive Dym, May 1997.

Fruchter, R., "The A/E/C Virtual Atelier: Experience and Future Directions," Poc. ASCE 4th Congress of Computing in Civil Engineering, ed. Teresa Adams, Philadelphia, June 1997, pp395-402..

Fruchter, R., "Information Technology Augmented Distance Learning," Poc. ASCE 4th Congress of Computing in Civil Engineering, ed. Teresa Adams, Philadelphia, June 1997, pp73-80.

Fruchter, R., "Computer Integrated Architecture/Engineering/Construction Project-centered Learning Environment," ACADIA Conference, Tucson, Arizona, October 1996, pp235-242.

Fruchter, R., "Multi-Site Cross-Disciplinary A/E/C Project Based Learning," ASCE 3rd Congress of Computing in Civil Engineering, ed. J. Vanegas and P. Chinowsky, Anaheim, June 1996, pp126-132.

Fruchter, R., "Computer Integrated A/E/C: Project-Based Learning Methodology and Environment for Collaborative Building Design," World Conference on Engineering Education, ed. Rex Krueger, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MI, October 1995, pp335-339.

Fruchter, R. and Krawinkler, H., "A/E/C Teamwork, "ASCE Second Congress of Computing in Civil Engineering, Atlanta, June 1995, pp441-448.

Fruchter, R., "The Virtual Atelier," Bridging the Generations CAE: International Workshop on the Future Directions of Computer Aided Engineering, ed. D. Rehak, CMU, Pittsburgh, June 1994, pp9-14.

Cross-Disciplinary Learning (CDL)

Renate Fruchter and Katherine Emery

Multidisciplinary teamwork in an information age learning environment poses new assessment challenges. This study focuses on the longitudinal assessment of a learning environment in which students collaborate in multidisciplinary, geographically distributed teams. The study presents a new metric focused on cross-disciplinary learning (CDL). Cross-disciplinary learning is defined as a journey from the state of island of knowledge (discipline-centric) to a state of understanding of the goals, language, and representations of the other disciplines. The metric proposes a four-tiered classification, designed to measure the students’ evolution of cross-disciplinary learning over time, that is based on the perspectives of cognitive and situative learning theories. The four tiers are islands of knowledge, awareness, appreciation, and understanding. The CDL metric can be applied at different level of granularity within a learning community: CDL can be used by the instructor for assessment of the learners in a class or by the learners or teams for self-assessment.

Fruchter, R., Emery, K., (1999) “Teamwork: Assessing Cross-Disciplinary Learning,” Computer Support for Collaborative Learning Conference, Stanford University, December 1999. pp 166-173.

Fruchter, R. and Emery, K., (2000) “CDL: Cross-Disciplinary Learning Metrics and Assessment Method,” Proc. of ASCE ICCCBE-VIII Conference, ed. R. Fruchter, K. Roddis, F. Pena-Mora, Stanford, August 14-16, 2000, CA.

Mentoring Strategies in Global Teamwork

Sarah Lewis and Renate Fruchter

This study identifies mentoring and reverse-mentoring models in cross-disciplinary learning teamwork experiences developed in Stanford University's P5BL program. The program addresses Architecture/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C) industry’s needs to broaden the competence of engineering students to exercise the acquired theoretical knowledge and understand the role of the discipline-specific knowledge in a multi-disciplinary A/E/C P5BL learning environment. Mentoring opportunities are presented within a situated and constructivist perspective on learning, exploring theoretical constructs and practical implications of the development of communities of practice that reach beyond the university walls.

Fruchter, R. and Lewis, S., (2000) “Mentoring and Reverse Mentoring in P5BL,” 2nd Asia Pacific Conference on PBL, Singapore, December 2000.

Fruchter, R. and Lewis, S., “Mentoring Models in Support of P5BL in Architecture/Engineering/Construction Global Teamwork,” International Journal of Engineering Education (IJEE), Vol 19, Nr. 5. 2003, 663-671.

Culture and Communication Channels

Alicia Townsend and Renate Fruchter

This study is at the intersection of three thrust areas – culture, information and collaboration technology, and distributed, cross-disciplinary project-based teamwork and learning. The focus is on multi-cultural dimensions and their relationship to communication channels in a rich multi-modal collaboration and information technology environment deployed in a cross-disciplinary geographically distributed teamwork course organized by the PBL Lab at Stanford. More specifically, we look at the cultural dimensions that characterize distributed Architecture/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C), cross-cultural team works together to design a building using collaborative technologies. We aim to answer several questions.

Fruchter, R. and Townsend, A. “Multi-cultural Dimensions and Multi-Modal Communication in Distributed Cross-Disciplinary Teamwork,” Proc. of 3rd Mudd Workshop, Ed. C. Dym, May 2001.

Fruchter, R. and Townsend, A. “Impact of Multi-Cultural Dimensions on Multi-Modal Communication in Global A/E/C Teamwork,” in Proc. of 2002 ASEE National Conference, Montreal, Canada, June 2002.

Fruchter, R. and Townsend, A. “Multi-cultural Dimensions and Multi-Modal Communication in Distributed Cross-Disciplinary Teamwork,” International Journal of Engineering Education IJEE 2003, Vol 19, Nr. 1, 53-61.

Emergent Work Practices

Renate Fruchter and Yun Chyi Chao

This study focused on emerging work processes and practices in the AEC Global Teamwork, i.e., what people experience in interacting with the technologies, why people practice in the way they do, how the practice fits into the environment and change the work patterns. The observations and implications represent the blueprint for yearly innovations and improvements to the design of the AEC Global Teamwork program established in 1993 the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, at Stanford University. The analysis is structured under three questions:

We observed and defined stages in which the roles of technologies evolved and became idiosyncratic to AEC global teams. We identify the three stages: Stage 1: Preparation for collaboration – The adoption and abandonment, Stage 2: Adaptation – The transition from visible to invisible, and Stage 3: Idiosyncratic Usage – The coupling ready-to-hand and present–at–hand.

Explicit choices need to be made by the team members in order to achieve high-performance teamwork. These explicit choices are: core team values, mode of operation, and the corresponding IT tools. As the team goes through the three stages, the team members’ behavior will evolve, the team will adopt an emergent work practice, and ultimately, a new business process will be defined.

Fruchter, R., and Chao, Y.C., (2004) “AEC Global Teamwork: Emergent Work Processes,” Proc. of ICCCBE-X 10th International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering, Weimar, 2004. CD.

Fruchter, R. (2006) “Explicit Choices and Emergent Work Practices in Global Teamwork,” Proc ICCCBE-XI International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering, Montreal, June 2006. CD.