Compulsory courses: How to make students take the hard pill

Johansen, S. K. (Oplægsholder), Hurford, D. (Oplægsholder)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Experts in Team Innovation (EiT) is a compulsory course for all SDU/Odense engineering students in the fifth semester. Students form interdisciplinary groups and produce an innovation either in a company setting or as entrepreneurs forming a start-up. The learning objectives accommodate the students’ experience-based learning from the two concurrent processes: the collaboration process and the innovation process. We want our students to understand why they arrived at a particular innovation; to “see behind” the dynamics of the two processes. Put differently: focus is not on the students producing “great innovation” but on realising and explicating their learning from the processes.

Our presentation will focus on the learning and motivation incentives we have integrated into EiT and their effectiveness: student teams address “wicked problems” (Camillus, 2008) from real-world companies, they practise contextualised presentations and pitching, they develop their reflective practice through facilitated rather than taught sessions (Sortland, 2016), and finally course assessment includes both group and individual assessment (Slavin, 2014).

Overall, it seems most students now see the value of or at least understand the motivations behind EiT. Students used to interdisciplinary work, e.g. from the programmes Product Development and Innovation and Integrated Design, accept EiT more quickly than students from traditional engineering programmes but remain challenged by the strong focus on learning processes. Some students from the B.Sc. programmes argue that EiT should be placed on a later semester, i.e. in their M.Sc. programmes. Finally, students express a high degree of learning through the various presentations in the course. The 2018 iteration of EiT takes the above into consideration.

EiT is a compulsory course that teaches soft competences relevant for addressing wicked problems which they will meet in their professional roles. Our EiT-practice is particularly relevant for teachers of similarly challenging courses. EiT is still very much work-in-progress, and we welcome shared experiences so that we too can become better at alleviating the “hard-pill” syndrome.
Periode6. nov. 2018
BegivenhedstitelConference on Teaching for Active Learning: Collaborative Learning
PlaceringOdense, Danmark
Grad af anerkendelseNational