This paper describes the purpose and initial results of a 5-year project to develop, implement and use a testbed to improve the teaching and learning of students partaking in global team based design projects. It is expected that the project will, when complete, fundamentally change the way design engineering is taught by combining the use of digital libraries with virtual design studios. The paper describes the first stage of the project to inculcate basic digital library skills in undergraduate students. Lessons learnt in this first stage are detailed. The project team will be using these lessons to design the next stage of the project.

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