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Collaborative teaching project to increase students’ international experience: Experience from interweaving units in Australia and Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9283-9246
Edith Cowan University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.
Macquarie University.
2018 (English)In: Abstrakt – NU 2018, 2018, article id 650Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The global nature of business means getting international experience during studies at the universityis continuously increasing in importance. This project seeks to investigate the possibility of increasing students’ motivation to take responsibility for the learning process by creating “real” situations including international experience without having to travel abroad (Wen, Zaid & Harun, 2015; De-Marcos et al, 2014).

This project involved the interweaving of the content of two units: Prototyping for Mobile Applications at Umeå University, Sweden, a fourth year unit on the five-year MSc engineering program in interaction technology and design and Current Issues in Marketing at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, a third year marketing unit. Consequently, the engineering students created prototypes for mobile apps while the marketing students created marketing material. The virtual communication platform Slack was used to assist collaboration between students (Labus et al,2015).

The challenge in the design of this collaborative curriculum was that the students must be able to finish their unit in case of collaborative problems. Hence, there was no total dependence between the two units and the lecturers used ad hoc flexibility over the course of the collaboration. It was also decided not to give the students all information about the project at the start of the units but rather on a need-to-know basis.

The student review of the project showed that they liked the idea of the project but a more structured approach would be beneficial. Students on both sides of dyad often struggled with the unknowns, as they were reliant on students half a world away. However, from the communication platform it could be observed that the students exhibited skills in finding solutions and workarounds to complete their assessments.

Analysing the project among teachers involved, revealed some challenges, however all teachers consider that this type of international collaborative curriculum can benefit the students (Chang &Lee, 2013). Challenges during the collaborative project included, stilted exchanges on issues due to time differences, differing understandings of cultural priorities and aligning the timing of assessment of the units’ requirements. However, benefits to the students included, experience to give and receive feedback, experiencing a new business culture and technologies, development of online media skills and having to solve real world problems. For the Australian students an added benefit was the visit to Perth of one of the Swedish teachers, which supplement their online experience (Lin, 2016). This may have contributed to a greater positivity toward the project reflected in their course evaluation.

Experiences and learnings from the project include (1) the need to explicitly explain how all parts of project is going to work and how the students execute their role, (2) supervise a formal introduction of the students in each location so all students have the same knowledge about each other, (3) provide real-time opportunities by setting Swedish lectures in the morning and Australia lectures inthe afternoon, and (4) set joint deadlines between the two units and make clear the consequences offailing to meet deadlines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. article id 650
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-157001DiVA, id: diva2:1293454
Conference
NU2018 – Det akademiska lärarskapet, 9–11 oktober 2018, Västerås
Available from: 2019-03-04 Created: 2019-03-04 Last updated: 2019-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Mejtoft, ThomasBerglund, Stefan

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