Abstracts - Its21 2022
abstract texts thursday
Thursday 16 June
Session 1 – Professional development workshops
Session 1A: Design studios in higher education
Redesigning architectural design studios in higher education for an interdisciplinary era of environment-making
Philippe Vandenbroeck1, Michiel Van Iersel1, Ellena Ehrl1, Panayotis Antoniadis1, Freek Persyn1
1ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
At NEWROPE we seek to promulgate a design sensibility that is radically interdisciplinary. It wants to decenter the architect-urbanist in the processes of creating liveable environments. Action research with a bearing on an evolving architectural design studio pedagogy embraced within NEWROPE reveals five distinctive elements in the experience of student-learners that suggest themselves as enablers of effective interdisciplinary teamwork:
- Openness and freedom in scope, task setting and relationships.
- The experience of connection and collaborative learning.
- Being able to engage deeply, seriously, playfully with a chosen question.
An expanded feeling of (future) possibility.
The ease of not-knowing and the experience of flow.
We want to make use of the workshop opportunity to explore with other practitioners to what extent these elements can be generalised across other educational and professional settings as markers of effective interdisciplinary teamwork.
The session is structured in three parts:
- A brief introductory sketch of approach to/insights from our action research on design studio pedagogy at Newrope, ETH Zürich (15').
- An interactive part in which workshop participants are invited to reflect (in small groups) on the meaning of these insights for their own practice (30').
- A concluding part in which we will harvest and explore the contributions from the participants (15').
An appraisal of the value of the insights from our action research for practitioners in other fields. Suggestions for extending our action research in architectural design studio pedagogy.
Details of related research
Architectural design studios have been a fixture in architectural education since its very origins in the 17th century. Basically, two main traditions of architectural education have emerged, which still hold sway: a Beaux Arts conception which places emphasis on artistic métier and on traditional principles of formal design, and an engineering and craft-oriented conception which focuses on the pragmatic application of scientific principles with an eye to achieving desired functionality and economy. Despite the differences in design ethos, the role of the studio in both has been similar: to create a space for a small number of students to work on particular design problems under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
However, practice models of the past are under strain from the extraordinarily complexities of an emerging global age of climate change, constraints in natural resources and rapidly growing urbanisation. As a result, the architectural profession is confronted with grave questions about its raison d'être and modus operandi. Ashraf Salama puts it well: "Today’s architects must confront and embrace the need for a major change in their world-outlook; that now they are living in a time of contradictory values, a time in which no one theory will have the upper hand in solving the contemporary needs of society in the field of architecture and urbanism. This new age is characterised by the fact that no longer can anyone discipline have strong claims over its own direction, concerns, and areas of knowledge in isolation from what is happening in other disciplines. This ongoing transformation requires redefining architecture to be, ultimately, a social act, a transdisciplinary field of study and practice, and a socially responsible axiological art." (Salama 2015:47).
Obviously, these questions cascade into conceptions of architectural education, and further into the place and contribution of the studio as locus of interdisciplinary collaboration. As a result, the field of design studio pedagogy is growing (Smith 2021).
The impulse for this practitioner workshop is our own action research on studio pedagogy redesign within NEWROPE. We subscribe to a view that sees architecture as being as much about changing practices and cultures of collaboration and communication as it is about changing spaces. To make design more meaningful, inclusive and regenerative, it is crucial to change the culture of architecture and urban design from a output-driven ethos to "a practice of practices working together, transforming space and the ways we inhabit it through a series of connected actions, merging multiple perspectives." (Persyn 2021:11). This stance reflects an onto-epistemological shift to entanglement and enlivenment. The unit's research track Changing a Culture invites citizens, practitioners, researchers, and students to join in an unfolding exploration of how to make this shift possible. The development of a distinctive pedagogical concept is an integral part of this exploration.
Takeaways for teaching practice
The insights from our action research and from the workshop reflections will lend themselves to extrapolation as the design studio is a model for collaborative and interdisciplinary learning in settings beyond architectural education.
F. Persyn (2021) Design in Dialogue, in: S. De Blust, F. Persyn and C. Schaeben (2021) 51N4E. Denkstatt. Endeavour. Design in Dialogue. Ruby Press.
A. M. Salama (2015) Spatial Design Education. Taylor and Francis.
C. Smith (2021) Progressive Studio Pedagogy. Examples from Architecture and Allied Design Fields. Taylor and Francis.
Session 1B: Assessing interdisciplinary collaboration
Meaningful assessment of interdisciplinary collaboration
Ilja Boor1, Linda de Greef1
1University of Amsterdam, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Revitalizing the way we assess, is essential for the quality of interdisciplinary education within academia. Society today asks for a new generation of academics who can direct and reflect on their own learning process and development.
This workshop gives you - a university teacher - a kick-start when you want to change your assessment practice by presenting building blocks for meaningful assessment: assessment with the right purpose in mind, powerful feedback, alignment with pedagogical beliefs, alignment with learning outcomes and authentic assessment tasks. We demonstrate inspiring assessment practices that cover some of the most important skills that foster interdisciplinary understanding such as integration, collaboration, critical thinking and reflection. For example, assessment forms where students’ ability to integrate new knowledge and cooperate with each other and diverse stakeholders are assessed or where students reflect on and assess interdisciplinary collaboration.
In the second part of this workshop, we will do an exercise to find opportunities to assess interdisciplinary collaboration in your own teaching practice. We will specifically focus on how to make your assessment practice more authentic, how to provide your students with powerful feedback and how to let students take the lead in their own learning process. This workshop will serve as a foothold to empower students to be independent self-assessors not just during their academic education but as long-life learners.
The workshop starts with an interactive welcome and a short presentation of the building blocks of meaningful assessment. Then, a few examples of methods to assess interdisciplinary teamwork are shared. During the main activity of this workshop participants will collect good practices of assessment formats that assesses skills necessary for interdisciplinary teamwork. Each group will prepare a short pitch in which they present their outcomes.
- Interactive welcome: what would you like to change in your assessment practice? (10 minutes)
- Short presentation: what makes assessment meaningful? Five building blocks: assessment with the right purpose in mind, powerful feedback, alignment with pedagogical beliefs, alignment with learning outcomes and authentic assessment tasks. (10 minutes)
- Examples of assessment methods that foster interdisciplinary understanding (10 minutes)
- Stakeholder dialogue (self, peer and teacher led)
- Reflection on and assessment of interdisciplinary collaboration
- Discussion (max 5 persons) (30 minutes)
- Step 1: Collect examples of assessment formats that assess interdisciplinary teamwork in your own teaching practice
- Step 2: Pick one idea and elaborate on how to make this example more meaningful?
- Step 3: Collect the outcomes of the discussion
- Step 4: Each group will pitch their outcomes
- Discussion and take-aways (15 minutes)
Details of any related research
Boix Mansilla, V.B., & Duraising, E.D. (2007). Targeted assessment of students’ interdisciplinary work: An empirically grounded framework proposed. The Journal of Higher Education, 78(2), 215-237.
Earl, L. & Katz, S. (2006). Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind. Assessment for learning, assessment as learning, assessment of learning. Manitoba Education, citizenship and youth.
Gulikers, J.T., Bastiaens, T.J., & Kirschner, P.A. (2004). A five-dimensional framework for authentic assessment. Educational technology research and development, 52(3), 67.
Keestra, M. (2017b). Introduction: Multi-Level Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Cognition and Team Collaboration-Challenges and Opportunities. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies, 35, 113-120.
After the workshop participants can explain how the five building blocks contribute to meaningful assessment in interdisciplinary education, and have ideas to make assessment of interdisciplinary teamwork in their own practice more meaningful.
Takeaways for teaching practice
Participants will learn about the building blocks of meaningful assessment and discuss in groups how to apply these building blocks in their own teaching practice. We will conclude the workshop by collecting the takeaways of each group on how to make assessment of interdisciplinary teamwork more meaningful. In this way we can make maximum use of the experience and expertise of all participants to arrive at innovative assessment formats that are also directly applicable in a variety of interdisciplinary courses.
Session 1C: Facilitating collaboration
How to facilitate collaboration in teams by insiders
Lea Sørensen1, Jan Rohwedder1
1Business Academy Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
The workshop focuses on how to facilitate collaboration in teams when the facilitator is an insider—that is, a full member of the team being facilitated.
Collaboration does not just happen by itself. Therefore, the insider facilitator must frame and facilitate the team's processes through resonant interventions in a way that makes collaboration possible.
The workshop is based on our own experiences from an insider action research project at an educational institution, where we as insiders facilitated a strategically anchored change project. Facilitating collaboration within—and between—teams was a key focus of the project.
The design of the workshop is based on experience from the research project, and facilitation will draw inspiration from the same project. In practice, this means that participants can expect to be involved in dialogue and reflections on insider facilitation of collaboration. It also means that participants are invited to take part in the actual testing of interventions and elements that can be applied by the insider facilitator.
The workshop consists of 4 elements:
- Check Your Preconceptions (dualities) about Insider Facilitation
- Insider Facilitation of Collaboration
- Rounding up and learnings
After a presentation of the workshop and the organisers, the participants will be presented with an exercise on insider facilitation: "Check Your Preconceptions about Insider Facilitation (dualities)". The exercise will illustrate how one's own preconceptions, attitudes and values have an impact on the facilitation of team processes. What follows is a mix of presentation and subsequent debate among the participants on the opportunities and limitations of insider facilitation based on concrete examples of specific intervention by the organisers and challenges they have met with, as well as findings from the insider action research project.
Rounding up and learnings from the workshop will be targeted towards reflection to foster insights and realisations. The focal point is a Learning Loop Model to support reflection by the workshop participants. These new learnings can then be used to act and react in new ways.
Workshop content and methods
1. Introduction (10 minutes)
Welcome with a brief description of the workshop, the workshop organisers and the point of departure. Presentation: Presentation of facilitators, the workshop and its purpose
2. Check your preconceptions (dualities) about insider facilitation (20 minutes)
Process exercise: The aim is to promote self-insight and sharpen participants' awareness of their own attitudes, preconceptions, values and assumptions about insider facilitation. The insider position and the specific opportunities and limitations in relation to facilitation.
3. Facilitating collaboration in teams (20 minutes)
Presentation and debate: Opportunities and limitations of the insider position in relation to facilitation. A presentation of specific interventions to promote collaboration in teams—resonance, visual scaffolding, assumption detectives, etc.—followed by a dialogue on the participants' experience and an interaction process on which interventions the participants find meaningful and effective in their own contexts.
4. Rounding up and learnings (10 minutes)
Individual reflection and knowledge sharing: Finally, participants are introduced to the Learning Loop Model. They must answer two questions to explore new insights and understandings and reflect on any new actions or new behavioural desires.
The workshop presents different "approaches" to insider facilitation. The facilitator's own mindset and assumptions are explored, and various interventions to promote collaboration in teams are presented which can be adapted for subsequent use in other contexts. Dialogue and reflection at the workshop serve to facilitate participants in acting as insider facilitators and/or supporting collaboration in teams.
- The workshop is based on the following research, among others:
- Insider research and insider facilitation, including exploration of own assumptions and personal attitudes, role duality, role conflicts.
- Collaboration, including shared responsibility and interdependence, as well as systematic knowledge sharing and the use of visual scaffolding.
- Selected literature: Alvesson 2003, Bang & Dalsgaard 2005, Bradbury 2015, Brix 2017, 2019, Coghlan 2019, Jensen 2019, Lüscher & Meier 2018, Reason & Torbert 2001, Rich & Misener 2017, Rohwedder et. al. 2021, Rohwedder og Sørensen 2020, Roth et al. 2011
Takeaways for teaching practices
After attending the workshop, participants will have:
- an opportunity to reflect further on the personal preconceptions uncovered during the workshop and their implications on future insider facilitation.
- increased awareness of their own opportunities and limitations as an insider facilitator.
- some new approaches to promoting collaboration in teams as insider facilitators.
- examples of specific interventions that may be adapted to other contexts concerning the role of the insider facilitator and collaboration.
Parallel session 2 - Research papers
Session 2A: Interdisciplinary teamwork in worklife
Drivers and dangers in interdisciplinary teamwork: A study in the utilisation of interdisciplinary teamwork in Danish SMEs
Ulla Haahr1, Jesper Klintrup Nielsen
1Business Academy Aarhus, Research and Innovation Department, Viby J., Denmark
According to one hypothesis, interdisciplinary teamwork increases innovation capacity and the level of innovation in enterprises. Therefore, interdisciplinary team competencies are in demand when enterprises recruit graduates from institutions of higher education. It is against this background that we develop educational activities strengthening students' interdisciplinary teamwork skills.
But do these activities in fact reflect the reality graduates will be faced with? In short, are we in sync with practice?
A literature review was conducted in 2021 with the aim of mapping the area of interdisciplinary teamwork to clarify the prevailing elements.
The literature review identified three different purposes of interdisciplinary teamwork in enterprises (organisations):
- Cooperation between enterprises:
Cooperation between organisations (understood as entire organisations) for the purpose of optimising value and supply chains and the flow of raw materials, products and services (Camarinha-Matos et al., 2009; Gonzalez-Benito et al., 2013).
- Process optimisation in the individual enterprise:
Collaboration across departments, functions and disciplines, etc. for the purpose of process optimisation within production, customer service or the supply of services (Caulliraux et al., 2020).
- Interdisciplinary teamwork in creative processes, idea generation and innovation:
A team with different backgrounds and disciplines has the potential to develop unique ideas and creative solutions (Ness & Søreide, 2014). Boston Consulting Group (2018) documents a positive correlation between diversity and innovation, primarily in large enterprises. It is this perspective and this potential that primarily form the basis for our further studies of the field.
The literature lists a number of barriers to the success of interdisciplinary teamwork in enterprises.
The composition of an interdisciplinary team fosters creativity and increases the opportunity to create innovative solutions in reply to market challenges. However, this requires that management is aware of the potential and that interdisciplinarity and diversity are included as a parameter when teams are established (Moirano et al., 2020; Han et al., 2014).
Once the team has been established and starts working, the knowledge of the individual team members will become visible and be utilised; furthermore, a polyphony of disciplines will arise and lead to the creation of unique, new knowledge. However, technical language and different terminology can make communication in the team difficult and cause conflicts. The above polyphony may also be hindered by professional pride and lack of openness in which case no new knowledge will be created (Ness & Dysthe, 2020).
If the interdisciplinary teamwork process is successful, the potential for success in the market will increase by virtue of the underlying unique knowledge possessed by the team. If the team has failed to integrate the different disciplines and knowledge of its members, the enterprise will experience a degree of 'diseconomy-of-scale', which means a disproportionate use of resources compared to the outcome (Moirano et al., 2020).
There is little knowledge of the utilisation of interdisciplinary teams in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is problematic as this is the prevalent business segment in Denmark (Confederation of Danish Industry, 2019).
Secondly, only a few empirical studies are based on a concrete business context in which interdisciplinary teamwork is intended to contribute directly to value creation or innovation in practice.
Finally, there are only few systematic literature reviews of the area with a link between value creation, innovation, interdisciplinary team collaboration and creativity.
The literature review has shown a lack of systematic, research-based knowledge using business practice as its starting point. This would imply that it is difficult to assess whether the teaching activities are actually in sync with practice.
Therefore, in the spring of 2022, we will continue to shed light on the area through a case study in Danish SMEs. Against this background, a final version of the 'drivers and dangers' in interdisciplinary team collaboration in enterprises can be arrived at.
The case study will give us a greater understanding of how and why SMEs choose to integrate interdisciplinary teamwork in their business practices. Such a study will also be a building block for creating research-based content of future educational activities within interdisciplinary teamwork at higher education institutions.
Growing x-disciplinary teamwork across established organizations and silo mentalities
Liv Randi Hultgreen1, Ole Gunnar Dahlhaug1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Waterpower Laboratory, Trondheim, Norway
Looking forward, we see many opportunities and challenges for our modern society in near and distant future. Working with research on hydropower energy systems, we see a need to seek solutions to increasingly complex challenges. And an increasing need to bring people together from different disciplines and several organizations in order to find good solutions. To develop good over-arching energy system solutions for a society like the Nordics, Europe or USA, we need people from different disciplines to come out of their comfort zones, and engage in complex cross disciplinary challenges together.
In 2016, a new Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) on Hydropower Technology was established (HydroCen), aiming to enable the Norwegian hydropower sector to meet complex challenges and exploit new opportunities through innovative technological solutions. The centre brought together researchers from multiple different disciplines and research organizations, and gathered industry user partners from the broad hydropower industry, across the whole value chain.
These researchers had little experience with x-disciplinary cooperation, and one of the outspoken goals for the centre was to make these researchers act as a team or several multidisciplinary teams. The centre lifespan was 8 years – from 2016 to 2024, which was expected to be sufficient to grow strong and productive research teams.
The work was organized in 4 work packages, each including 3-6 projects headed up by project leaders from the 3 main research partners. When defining the different projects we aimed for multidisciplinary projects, and encouraged project leaders and work package leaders to seek cooperation beyond their core team.
From the very start, in project definition phase, we encountered challenges when trying to include multidisciplinary elements. A great many challenges occurred, voiced by both project leaders and work package leaders. And many good explanations were given to why each project should not include x-disciplinary cooperation, based on science, practical implications, feelings and culture.
The centre therefore set out with less than 25% multidisciplinary project portfolio in 2016, and a perception that this share needed to grow substantially throughout the centre period.
To address the many good explanations to why x-disciplinary cooperation was so hard to achieve, the centre started to facilitate many meeting points for the different researchers. To grow a culture that encourages cooperation, it was clear that the researchers needed to get to know each other and each other’s research areas and interests.
Within 2-3 years a new culture started to form, very gradually and gently. Key researchers led the way, and through informal dialogue ideas for new research projects started to form. These projects were based on multidisciplinary elements, the x-disciplinary cooperation was the foundation and the key to achieve any results. Several project applications followed and were granted; Competence and Cooperation Projects (KSP) and Innovation in the Industry Projects (NPI) to the Norwegian Research Council, and applications for EU-projects. These projects were direct spin-offs from the research centre, and built on ideas brought up in-between discussions on the centre’s projects.
This culture has continued to settle and expand through the centre and into core teams and silos of our researchers. 5 years into the centre, we have 40% multidisciplinary projects and more than 60% of the key researchers from each discipline team display an interest to cooperate with researchers from other teams.
To build x-disciplinary strong and productive research teamwork, we need to accept and include some factors: Teamwork is performed by humans, and changing human culture, perception and interests take time and effort. The basis for such change must include strong motivation, and each member must be given opportunity to invest both time and effort.
When trust and professional respect is established in a team, new doors immediately open up. Ideas form through dialogue when the team know which strengths that sit within the team. With trust ideas can be discussed freely, grown and matured into projects, innovations, value creation.
In order to solve increasing complex challenges, at least in the energy sector, x-disciplinary cooperation is a prerequisite. But if this cooperation is not facilitated, it could end up as parallel work within the silos, instead of real teamwork.
Session 2B: Innovation and entrepreneurship education
Diversity and team performance
Steffen Kjær Johansen1, Donna Hurford2
1University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Department of Technology and Innovation, SDU Global Sustainable Production, Odense, Denmark
2University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Centre for Teaching and Learning, Odense, Denmark
The concept diversity is traditionally recognised as encompassing factors like age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, first language and the more hidden neuro-diversities. However, team-leaders may be more curious about their team members’ diverse knowledge bases, skills, work experiences and intercultural competences. Whatever conception of diversity is applied, team leaders are understandably interested in the finding that heterogenous teams can lead to more creativity and novelty than homogenous teams (Phillips et al. 2006).
Cantner et al. (2010) investigated the effect of heterogeneity in 337 new venture teams in terms of: knowledge scope, i.e., the beneficial effects of heterogeneity ascribed to the breadth of a team’s cognitive resources, and knowledge discrepancy, i.e., the detrimental effects of functional team heterogeneity ascribed to social categorization processes such as differing sets of values.
Indicators for innovation performance in early-stage ideas were pursued in Frederiksen et al. (2017) as an amalgamation of criteria from the creativity literature for ideas to be creative and of criteria from the innovation literature for ideas to be innovative; it was argued that companies can identify promising ideas by looking at a combination of the degrees of novelty, of usefulness, and of market potential. In the same paper, Frederiksen and Knudsen apply these criteria to 106 student projects from the years 2014-2016 from the course Experts in Teams (EiT) for engineering students at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).
In the work presented here, we continue along these lines and present statistics on student projects from 2017-2021 from the course EiT at SDU. More precisely, we want to investigate the impact of team heterogeneity as knowledge scope on team performance as innovation performance potential.
We have data (age, gender, study programme, EiT course grades) on students and teams of students from the years 2017-2021; all in all, around 2300 students and 400 groups. When it comes to the projects or challenges the teams worked on, they fell into 3 groups: company themes, entrepreneurial themes, and non-business themes. We scope the work presented here to investigating the relationship between number of different study programmes represented in a team and the grade the team receives for its group report.
Though both structure and content of the group report have changed over the years, it remains at its core a qualified value proposition. The report is graded based on how well the presented value proposition targets the recipient and this can be used as a measure of innovation performance potential. Whether this is a valid measure can be discussed. It is difficult to justify that, e.g., the grade should reflect the market potential. Nevertheless, the grade can still serve as a relevant measure of team performance. Afterall, we do not need to go as far as innovation performance potential to measure team performance; arguing for an idea’s value creation potential for a recipient should serve as well.
Independent of theme-type, we expect results to support the hypothesis also investigated by Cantner et al. (2010), that performance – in our case report group grade - will be an inverse U-shaped function of knowledge scope – in our case number of different study programmes represented.
If results are as expected, we have support for the hypothesis also beyond business ventures. If results are not as expected, then we will have indications that something is amiss in our understanding.
With this research, we set out on combining the Frederiksen et al. (2017)-understanding of innovation performance, i.e., as novelty combined with usefulness and market potential, with the Cantner et al. (2010)-understanding of venture performance, i.e. in terms of team heterogeneity. Furthermore, we will have data beyond the that extent beyond business ventures.
Cantner, U., Goethner, M., & Stuetzer, M. (2010). Disentangling the Effects of New Venture Team Functional Heterogeneity on New Venture Performance. Jena Economic Research Papers, 2010, 029.
Frederiksen, M. H., & Knudsen, M. P. (2017). From Creative Ideas to Innovation Performance: The Role of Assessment Criteria. Creativity and Innovation Management, 26(1), 60-74. doi:10.1111/caim.12204
Phillips, K. W., Northcraft, G. B., & Neale, M. A. (2006). Surface-Level Diversity and Decision-Making in Groups: When Does Deep-Level Similarity Help? Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 9(4), 467-482. doi:10.1177/1368430206067557
Aligning innovation and entrepreneurship education for graduates entering a VUCA work life
Matthew Lynch1, Kari Håvåg Voldsund2, Øystein Stavø Høvig2, Nils Sanne1
1School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Ås, Norway
2Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Bergen, Norway
Questions we care about (Objectives)
A key purpose of education has long been to ensure that students are well prepared for the workforce. In an unchanging context where tasks, roles, and expectations are stable this can be achieved relatively easily, and once in place will remain appropriate if the context is stable. In entrepreneurship education solving real-life problems has been seen as an important approach, with more guidance and less traditional lecturing. A part of the public mission of Norwegian universities is to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. It is often about opportunity identification, business development, self-employment, venture creation, and growth, i.e. becoming an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship in a higher education is about making students more creative, opportunity oriented, proactive and innovative. The challenge is in educating students for work environments that are rapidly changing and where the expectations placed on them are uncertain and ambiguous. That is training students for VUCA (Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environments. The challenge is to ensure that educational approaches used are in tune with the requirements of students who enter the workforce.
This research looks particularly at students who enter the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. While these fields are broad and have different roles and expectations connected to them, they are also archetypical of the VUCA world in which many students seek to find jobs. This research therefore sought out students who had graduated from a master's program and had been in the workforce for a less than a year to better understand what skills and education they felt were missing from their education and what skills they felt their education had contributed positively to. In short to hear how well equipped the student felt for this VUCA world.
Qualitative data gathering taken place spring 2022 of recent graduates from two masters' programs in Norway: Masters of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Masters of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). Both programs are not venture creation programs, but broad master's programs that educate for a larger labour market. Through interviews at one institution (7 students) and at the second institution (4 students) in a semi structured format, with 6 guiding questions and space given for students to answer in an open way. Making the total basis for the study 11 interviews.
One of the key points that arose from the data was this idea that graduates were generally happy with the study program in the way it had prepared them to have the right mindset or attitude in their work. The felt comfortable with new tasks and in interacting with other business representatives and colleagues. The areas where they seemed to be most challenged though was in interacting with more technically specific elements of their role. If we consider the feedback to fall under context specific knowledge it raises a tension that exists with broad focused entrepreneurship program. That tension is that preparing students for different roles requires preparing them for a mix of soft skills and technical skills.
Our findings might lead to practical implications for the two master programs at NMBU and HVL, but maybe also other universities and educational institutions aiming to prepare students for a VUCA world. The question we hope our research will answer is: Will our findings lead to identifying a gap between education and skills needed (as an employee)? Will this point to possible ways of teaching innovation and entrepreneurship? Can these findings be extended to other courses? Changing the way of teaching and including new experiments in our innovation courses; so that we can find better ways of preparing our master students for a VUCA world.
While the knowledge generated with regards to missing elements are specific to the two masters' programs, the findings have a broader relevance to those aiming to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. In addition, the methodology used for calibrating the programs congruence with the intended goals will have a broader relevance to many other programs who seek to ensure the quality of the education they offer.
Session 2C: Online collaboration
Being social online
Nina Haugland Andersen1, Nina Tvenge1, Ela Sjølie1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim & Gjøvik, Norway
Virtual collaboration is becoming increasingly more common in work life and education, a development that is accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Working together virtually enables collaboration across the globe, which is considered key for sustainable development and for realizing the UN’s sustainable development goals. In the educational sector, courses are offered online to enable learning of collaboration skills in virtual environments, and to provide flexibility and facilitate collaboration between students across institutions and national borders. There is reason to believe that future education will include increased use of courses with a varying degree of virtuality. In light of these changes, it is even more important that students learn skills that empower them to collaborate well with others in a virtual setting.
There is abundant research that identifies challenges to virtual collaboration as being largely related to the social dimensions of teamwork and impeded social interaction. This paper aims to provide insight into the social aspects of teamwork when the team members, either voluntarily or "forced", are working in a digital or hybrid environment. The paper explores how students experienced the social climate in virtual and hybrid teams in a project-based course during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether and how they took actively part in creating and sustaining the social climate in their teams.
This paper reports from a qualitative study of student teams in the course Experts in Teamwork (EiT). EiT is an interdisciplinary project-based course at a Norwegian University. During the course, each team is responsible for planning and carrying out a project, as well as reflect upon, learn from and actively work on improving their collaboration, thus developing teamwork skills. The course was originally supposed to be carried out either in a fully digital learning environment or in a physical learning environment, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the physical version of the course to be converted into a hybrid or a fully digital version. The data comprise interviews with 21 students from different teams and from three versions of the course: 1) students who chose to do the course digitally, 2) students who were “forced” to do the course digitally, and 3) students who were “forced” to do the course in a hybrid mode. These versions make up three categories in the study. Five focus group interviews and three individual interviews were carried out and analysed by a team of three researchers. The focus of the interviews dealt with how the students experienced the social climate in their teams and on how they organized their work.
The findings show how the students experienced the social climate in their teams, and on how they worked, or not worked, on developing practices that supported and sustained a good social climate. Our findings suggest that common for most of the teams was that social interaction and social connectedness was more challenging in the online mode, and that “being social online” might not come naturally to everybody. Thus, creating a social climate in the teams required a different effort from the student teams compared to what they were used to from a physical learning environment. Our analyses also reveal areas teams could focus on to create and sustain a social climate in a virtual setting, as well as advice to educators and team leaders. The findings will be discussed using concepts from organizational and educational contexts.
This paper provides important insight into how students perceive the social climate in teams in educational settings where the working environment is either hybrid or virtual. The study also provides valuable insight into how a good social climate can be created and sustained by teams when they work together digitally. Such insight could be useful for team leaders in work life as well as teachers wishing to empower students to nurture the social dimension in student project teams.
This study contributes with insight on how the social dimension of student teamwork is experienced, executed and maintained in a virtual and hybrid environment in a project-based course. As such it contributes to the scarce body of research on student teams who self-organize their collaboration in a virtual or hybrid environment.
Innovative online collegial coaching. An Experts in Teamwork (EiT) virtual Community of Practice (vCoP) for EiT Village Supervisors (VSs)
Maria Azucena Gutierrez Gonzalez1 Paula Rice1, Caitlin Mandeville1, Ferne Edwards1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim & Ålesund, Norway
This paper seeks to answer the following research questions: How can an ‘Experts in Teamwork virtual Community of Practice for EiT Village Supervisors’ contribute to the improvement of EiT methodology and approaches to teaching? How could this vCoP positively impact the compulsory activities & outcomes of the villages, the expected learning outcomes, and assessment criteria of the EiT programme?
This paper proposes a collaborative experiential learning approach among a set of interdisciplinary courses (called villages) from different faculties in the master program of Experts in Teamwork (EiT) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
A vCoP for EiT VSs was set, aiming at increasing interaction between the VSs. The vCoP has facilitated/promoted a series of interactions between VSs, to build stronger networks across department and faculties. This in time has proven beneficial to the VSs experiences as facilitators for EiT Villages and in doing so contributing to a further positive impact that aim at benefiting the individual villages, and the consequently the programme as a whole. These interactions are:
- Ad hoc virtual meetings
- Lecture exchanges/active contributions to each other villages (digital and physical)
- Semi-structure interviews – recorded focus group style discussions
- A shared Teams Platform for internal communication, literature review and knowledge/experience exchange
All these activities bring a different dimension impacting the facilitation practices in the villages at four different levels:
- Interdisciplinarity: increasing the capacity and opportunity of VSs for sharing knowledge, experiences and methodologies on interdisciplinary teamwork
- Learning outcomes and assessments: increasing the possibility for VSs to evaluate and provide a set of recommendations to improve EiT learning outcomes & assessments
- Innovative experiential learning: Loop-Input of EiT Collegial Coaching Network - vCOP: Enabling VSs to interact in an experience and collaborative based manner with other VSs by working as an interdisciplinary team of EiT VSs
- Social impact and sustainability: What will be the outcomes of increased EiT programme collaborations among villages. How these parallel experiential learning actions, directed to VSs, will impact the students’ deliverables as well as the interaction among students’ groups and external partners
This inter-village collaborative approach has contributed to the VSs ongoing professional development through reflecting on their roles and approaches as VSs. In addition, it encourages the VSs to make changes to their courses, aiming at improving the initial methodologies of the course to better achieve the stablished learning outcomes. “Communities of practice” by educational theorists Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (Lave and Wenger 1991) puts forward the idea that learning “is a process of participation in communities of practice” – participation, in this case not only in each Village/students teams, but across villages, breaking existing silos.
This paper studies and explains how forming these EiT Communities of practice allows the VSs to better understand, reflect and take decisions that will in time strengthen/enforce their facilitation practices towards increasing improving learning outcomes of the course on interdisciplinarity, team development and the interaction/connection between the process and project activities.
A series of recommendations answering questions selected by the participants to this research will be presented. Recommendations for the further development of this vCoP for VSs will also be part of the impact of our research.
This work aims at building capacity among VSs, adding value and positively impacting through recommendation to the EiT programme in key topics: Interdisciplinarity, Team Development, Social Impact and Sustainability. It also would like to increase focus on intercultural communication and review the current tools/methodologies of the programme, including the pensum, the facilitation team (components and focus).
Although recently EiT has implemented a virtual EiT Café, it is not an environment that will allow for in depth conversations. The virtual Community of Practice (vCoP) for EiT Village Supervisors (VSs) allows for a more permanent, intimate reflective environment that invites to truly transformative discussions.
Parallel session 3 - Professional development workshops
Session 3A: Teaching entrepreneurship sustainably
Teaching sustainable entrepreneurship – Teaching tool example
Siri Jakobsen1, Irina Isaeva1, Ulrika Persson-Fischier2, Elli Verhulst3
1Nord University, Norway
2Uppsala University, Sweden
3Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
Teaching sustainable entrepreneurship (TES) is an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership project between universities of Uppsala, Groningen and Nord University. The aim is to construct a teaching module on sustainable entrepreneurship based on current research and best practices within the field and implement it within current courses and programs at the respective universities.
The first part of the project was a literature review including interviews with practitioners to identify the current state of research and best practices. This part of the project uncovered the most important competences in sustainable entrepreneurship teaching. The second part of the project will create a teaching module, with curricula, content and examination, based on the competences from the literature review. This is done with the help from experts in the fields of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (Swedesd at Uppsala university) and entrepreneurship education (Engage at NTNU and Nord university). The third part of the project is to develop a resource pool of tools and methods relevant in teaching sustainable entrepreneurship competences described in the teaching module.
In this workshop we wish to draw attention to the third part of the project; methods and tools for teaching sustainable entrepreneurship. We invite teachers, researchers and practitioners to participate in a teaching activity where we will demonstrate and test one of the teaching tools we will implement in the teaching module. The tool we will focus on is The Sustainability Impact Canvas (Threebility, 2020). This tool can be used to identify the critical positive and negative impacts of a business or product. The tool has three levels that considers all the potential impact categories of a product or business. Successful mapping of sustainability impact demands interdisciplinarity and teamwork as a product or business may have impacts beyond the anticipation of an entrepreneur or business owner. In the workshop, participant will get an introduction to the tool and taking it into use working in (preferably interdisciplinary) groups with a given case. There will be time for feedback and discussion on the use of the tool.
The workshop will be conducted as a combination of presentations and group work according to the following time plan. The presentations from the organizers will lay the basis for the group work where participants will be asked to (1) fill out the Sustainability Impact Canvas according to a given case/product, and (2) make suggestions for improvements to the process and canvas.
Plan for the workshop:
- Welcome and introduction (5 minutes)
- Presentation of Sustainability Impact Canvas (10 minutes)
- Group work (30 minutes)
- Discussions and feedback (15 minutes)
- Summary and closing (5 minutes)
Workshop participants get experience using a sustainability tool that can be used both in teaching and in businesses. For educators, the tool can be used in teaching with a case given to the students (as is done in the workshop), or students can use it in projects to determine sustainability impact for their projects. For practitioners, the tool helps businesses to identify the positive and the negative impact of their product or business idea, therefore generating the first input for a realistic impact assessment.
The first part of our project consisted of a review over current research, including a literature review and an interview study, of current best practices within the fields of sustainability education and entrepreneurship education. The aim was to identify best practices, to get an understanding of where and how education for sustainability and education for entrepreneurship intersect and inform one another. The study has been finalized and can be accessed at https://www.teserasmus.com/.
The teaching tool we focus on in this workshop is described as one of several tools for sustainable entrepreneurship in a report by Fauske et al. (2022).
Takeaways for teaching practice
The project aims at implementing sustainability in a comprehensive way in entrepreneurship education. From this workshop participants will get familiarized with teaching sustainable entrepreneurship through one example tool that encourages group work and interdisciplinarity. Participants can implement the tool into their own teaching and will get access to and knowledge about more resources for sustainable entrepreneurship teaching.
Session 3B: Quality assessment in higher education
“What if we just asked them?”: Group interviews in educational quality assessment
1Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark
A large body of research has consistently documented that when students work in groups or teams rather than individually, it facilitates improvements not only in students’ grades (Michaelsen 2013), but also in their acquisition of curricular content (Currey et al. 2015) and skill development (Lau et al. 2014). For these reasons – and to prepare students for their future work lives – many university courses today implement group-based activities as an integral component of the learning process (Chiriac 2008).
However, this pedagogical turn from individual to group focus has yet to inform the way in which most institutions of higher education assess their own quality of education. Indeed, the most common method of eliciting student responses to courses and curricula consists of highly standardized forms that must be filled out by the students individually and anonymously. While this method has obvious advantages, at least in theory, it also frustrates students and teachers alike: students find the process tedious, and teachers struggle to take away useful feedback from such forms.
The purpose of this workshop is therefore to suggest and discuss alternatives to this traditional method of evaluating courses. Specifically, I will introduce participants to a data collection method that I used for the purpose of documenting students’ experience with receiving teaching online during lockdown in the spring of 2021. It took the form of very loosely structured interviews with students, not individually, but rather with the groups that they had been working in throughout the semester. The interviews were conducted over Zoom, with me (their teacher) as facilitator, and they yielded a wealth of highly interesting reflections from the students, who – rather than filling out a standardized form and grading their individual experience on a scale from 1 to 5 – now actively had to negotiate their shared experience with one another in real time.
It is safe to say that I learned more from this one round of group discussions than I have learned from the literally thousands of individual responses to standardized forms I have received over the years. Accordingly, I would like input from colleagues about how to turn this one-time experience into a format that can be used more generally in our quality assessment work.
The workshop will begin with a presentation (20-30 minutes), in which I outline the format of the group-based interview process and show examples of the kinds of responses that the method can elicit. This is followed by two joint discussions (each 20-30 minutes): one about how to use and further develop group-based student feedback in our quality assessment work, and one about the problems with such an endeavor (ethical, legal, pedagogical et cetera).
Expected outcomes and takeaways for teaching practice
Participants will hopefully feel encouraged to rethink their own course evaluation process towards more open formats that allow students to provide more useful feedback on their learning outcome by taking advantage of the discursive and explorative possibilities offered by the group format.
Chiriac, E. (2008). A scheme for understanding group processes in problem-based learning. Higher Education 55, 505-518.
Currey, J., Eustace, P., Oldland, E., Glanville, D., and Story, I. (2015). Developing professional attributes in critical care nurses using Team-Based Learning. Nurse Education in Practice 15, 232-238.
Lau, P., Kwong, T., Chong, K., and Wong, E. (2014). Developing students’ teamwork skills in a cooperative learning project. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies 3(1), 80-99.
Michaelsen, L. (2013). Team-Based Learning: extending the practice and the community. In: 12th Annual Team-based Learning Collaborative (TBLC) Conference, San Diego CA.
Session 3C: Team reflection - a story-based approach
Choose your own adventure! A story-based approach
Eline Rødsjø1, Sondre Neteland1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
In this workshop, the participants will be introduced to a story about a student group by helping them navigate the highs and lows of project-based teamwork. The workshop creates a space to reflect upon various aspects of teamwork and gives the participants an opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other. All while being engaged in problem solving, trying to make the best decisions on behalf of the student group.
The workshop centers around a story about a group of university students. We meet the student group as they are preparing a presentation about their semester project and the deadline is approaching throughout the story. The workshop participants will work together in teams of 4-6 to help the student group deliver their final project, navigating the challenges that arise along the way. The story is driven by the workshop participants engaging in active decision making, and there are multiple possible outcomes of the case depending on which path the participants choose to take.
The groups will be given different scenarios to solve, and for each one they are asked to discuss with their group the central theme of the scenario they have chosen. The participants are encouraged to share knowledge and experiences from their own lives and use this to make their decisions along the storyline. In addition, they will need to take the characters of the student group into account. This provides an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and add nuance to the groups’ understanding of teamwork as a complex process.
The introduction (15-20 minutes)
The workshop will begin with a short introduction to the theme and style of the workshop. The participants will be divided into groups and given a chance to get to know each other.
Group work (40 minutes + 15 minutes break + 40 minutes)
The groups will be introduced to the case and receive the same start-scenario. For each scenario the groups will discuss the central theme of the situation based on their own team experiences and what they think the characters in the story would do, before agreeing upon what choice to make on behalf of the case-group. After each choice is made, they will receive a new scenario. This process will be facilitated by the workshop runners. The story concludes after the groups make their decision in the final scenario. After this they will receive a description of the outcome of their unique storyline.
Discussion and summary (15-20 minutes)
All the different groups’ storyline will be shown and used as the basis for the final discussion. What did/didn’t your group do that made you end up with this outcome? This part will include both discussions in the workshop groups and sharing in the plenary.
The expected outcome of this workshop is
- experience with a gamified story-based approach to experience-based learning
- sharing experiences and reflections around teamwork with peers from different workplaces
- a broader perspective on what is important to consider when working in a group
- experience with decision making in a new group
- a practical perspective on the importance of seeing the perspectives of others in a group setting
The workshop is inspired by first-hand experiences as educators and group facilitators. The use of fictional characters is inspired by the use of role play in parts of the facilitator-training from the course EiT at NTNU. Inspired by theater and play, it enables participants to embody perspectives they may not otherwise experience. Case-based approaches are recognized as a practical tool for learners to face complexity and uncertainty (Sprain & Thimson, 2012; Chernikova et al., 2020), providing a learning opportunity where the real-life stakes are not too high to test out new or creative strategies. Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type platforms in learning situations are shown to increase learning, in addition to being engaging (Beckhoff, 2019). The workshop uses the same method to gamify experience-based learning.
Takeaways for teaching practice
The workshop will give participants experience with process reflection in a group setting. Participants will also get an opportunity to experience teamwork on multiple levels simultaneously – both as a member of the workshop group, and as a participating observer of the case.The workshop also aims to inspire the participants to consider applying story-based approaches and gamification elements into their respective courses and other learning situations. These are all tools that can be used in educational settings when working with student groups, or implemented in everyday life as a team member at work.
Parallel session 4 – Research papers
Session 4A: Collaboration for circular economy
Facilitating transition towards product innovation – a proposal for a methodology to support the transition towards a circular ecosystem
Ingrid Moons1,2, Els Du Bois1, Annouk Lievens1
1University of Antwerp, Department of Product Development, Antwerp, Belgium
2University of Antwerp, Department of Marketing, Antwerp, Belgium
An urgent need is recognised to transit from a single-use, linear and consumption economy towards increased reuse in a circular economy, where the creation of waste is at most reduced. The transition from selling single use products towards the organisation of a reusable product services system is not evident. Reuse requires new collaborations in new value chains to achieve optimal product qualities and services such as reversed logistics, quality assurance, maintenance and repair. These joint actions are crucial to realise successful implementation. Companies are often not able to handle all new activities by themselves and or other parties are better equipped to execute the reversed logistics in a cost-effective and sustainable way. New circular value chains often require different ownership models. Consequently, this drastic changes often result in a reluctant attitude of many companies. This change requires big effort for whom the problem is that it is not obvious who is willing to take the risk and take the lead.
Systemic design problems are considered to be complex service systems which make it rather impossible to make as well design as management decisions based on individual knowledge and skills. Assumed that interdisciplinary teams are essential for increased profit, innovation and knowledge sharing, it would be of high value to understand how to build and manage such teams and enable them to work well crossing the borders of one organization, and within the whole value chain. The objective of this study is to engage researchers in establishing a comprehensive framework to support ecosystems in their transition towards a circular economy.
Qualitative exploration upon the joint collaboration over the value chain was done in the first step of the project. At first, an overview is made to map the typical partners in a reusable value chain. Next, for each value chain partner, their characteristics are detailed (role, influence on other partners, criticalities) and the consequences for them and the other partners are detailed if they would facilitate the collective transition towards a reusable system. This reasoning is done based upon a case study that supports the development of a roadmap towards cocreating a more circular economic way of organizing the supply of food cultivated in greenhouses.
The result is a concrete roadmap that can be consulted at (Glitch Kompas, n.d.). Using the methodology led to the engagement of the stakeholders for about three years. The co creation process was divided into the seven of the double diamond model. During each stage, a range of research methods were used to gradually obtain insights in the process. The most important observations are summarized, the management challenges are plotted, actions (interventions) as well as tools to help implementing the interventions are proposed.
The methodology integrates insights, research techniques, knowledge and skills from a diversity of disciplines structured around design and managerial frameworks. As the skills and knowledge and research techniques may be typical for the high-tech innovative context of the horticultural industry, the authors call for more case study-based research in other industries.
This conceptual and practical exploration of collaborating with multiple stakeholders to evolve towards a more circular economy was one of the first to address some of the adoption barriers and drivers in the area of cleaner production, product development, infrastructure and knowledge. The project addressed barriers and drivers towards engaging into a more circular economic system such as management issues, technological issues, knowledge and skill issues, economic issues, market issues, cultural issues, and developed an initial framework to make a circular transition feasible.
Motivations and challenges in establishing circular biomass collaborations in a peripheral region: a sustainable development approach
Siri Jakobsen1, Irina Isaeva1, Jenny Sofie Kjemphei Larsen1
1Nord University Business School, Norway
The circular economy is an industrial system which aims to prevent depletion of resources, close material and energy loops, and facilitate for environmental quality, economic feasibility, and social equity (Kirchherr et al., 2017, Korhonen et al., 2018, Prieto-Sandoval et al., 2018). To implement an circular economy, it is important to acknowledge all material flows within a value chain, both biomass and finite materials (Sherwood, 2020). The focus on biomasses and the biological aspect of circular economy, has led to the development of the term “circular bioeconomy” (CBE). In CBE, biomass waste is regarded as an important resource, and play a crucial role in transitioning the industry and economy towards circularity (Venkata Mohan et al., 2019). One type of biomass waste is municipal solid waste (MSW), which contains a large amount of food that can be used for non-food purposes such as bioenergy and biogas (Philp and Winickoff, 2018). To utilize MSW a variation of technological solutions can be offered, such as pyrolysis, biorefinery or use of compost (Awasthi et al., 2019, Sherwood, 2020). However, how to deal with MSW circularly is contingent on multiple factors that can be discussed in relation to the three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, environmental and social. First, utilization of MSW can provide an economic gain, as it provides new market opportunities for the companies, while it also can reduce both waste management costs and emission control costs. Second, the transformation of waste to resources reduces emissions such as Co2 and methane gas and contribute to the overall environment. Third, by gaining access to new markets it also enhances the social aspect of the triple bottom line, by contributing with new employment opportunities and cooperation across companies (Korhonen et al., 2018).
However, managing and utilizing MSW is also contingent on geographic aspects in a society (Mak et al., 2020). For example, the use of biorefinery is dependent on MSW quality and infrastructure for timely transfer and storage (Mak et al., 2020). Thus, managing and utilizing MSW in peripheral regions might bring forth new obstacles, since peripheral regions are situated outside urban centers (Lagendijk and Lorentzen, 2007), with long transportation routes (Larsen et al., 2022) and are sparsely populated (Eriksson, 2010). Hence, it is important to study how MSWs are dealt with in peripheral regions, and how MSW industries understand both the motivations to enact CBE, but also the challenges to achieve it in peripheral regions.
In this paper we apply a multiple case study (Yin, 2013) of waste collection firms in a peripheral region in Northern-Norway and Northern-Sweden. We have conducted 6 in-depth interviews aiming to uncover their motivations and challenges in CBE.
Our inductive findings on increased circularity find that there are four main motivations for new circular initiatives to process food waste. First, with CBE, waste is increasingly considered as a resource where food waste contributes to e.g. valuable biogas, soil conditioner or electricity. The second motivation we observe, is the possible cost reductions related to a facility closer to the firms than the best available options today. Third, the possible regional value creation a food waste facility might provide is an important motivation, e.g. with new jobs. The last motivation we observe, is the desire to reduce the environmental impact from both processing and transporting the food waste.
We observe three main challenges. First, the large investments costs related to new technology is considered an important challenge, and further the geographical distances pose a challenge both related to transport and having access to sufficient amount of waste for a possible new food waste facility to be profitable. Third, the smell related to food waste is a challenge.
This study has important implications both for firms in the food waste handling ecosystem, and for policy makers.
The concept of CE has received increasing attention in recent years, however, there is a predominance of conceptual contributions to the field, calling for more empirical contributions. This study will contribute with insight into an important context (food waste handling) of CE with the possibility to transfer the results to similar contexts.
Session 4B: Interdisciplinary and university-industry collaboration
Students collaborating in interdisciplinary project groups: Do they engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and do they learn from it?
Mette Mari Wold Johnsen1, Maiken Spjelkevik1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
Project-based courses are often used to facilitate students' learning of interdisciplinary collaboration, and many empirical studies have found that students do learn to collaborate in such courses. However, few studies investigate interdisciplinary collaboration specifically. What is missing, is specifying more clearly what is meant by interdisciplinary collaboration as well as investigating whether students engage in and learn from it. Therefore, we explore students' perspectives on a 7,5 ECTS interdisciplinary project-based course. We set out to explore the following: "To what extent do students engage in and learn interdisciplinary collaboration in the course?".
We make a significant contribution by investigating a context where interdisciplinary collaboration is deliberately implemented as a mean and a learning objective. In addition, we apply multiple methods aiming to provide a fuller picture of students' interdisciplinary collaboration and learning. Findings inform instructors, course designers and researchers interested in enhancing students' learning of interdisciplinary collaboration in higher education.
The investigated course was project-based with 3000 students from six academic disciplines collaborating in 644 groups. The course had 115 classes with a teacher and teaching assistant facilitating exercises, helping the groups develop and complete their open-ended project. Most teaching and collaboration were online due to COVID-19.
Quantitative data were collected using a self-report questionnaire with an interdisciplinary collaboration skills scale inspired by instruments ICCAS, CKP, and the four-dimensional education framework.
Qualitative data were collected in twenty-five semi-structured individual interviews. Students were recruited for interviews by online visits in class and written messages through teachers. Students from five classes and four academic disciplines were represented in our sample. Video data from six student groups were recorded by the students in Blackboard collaborate (a learning and management system) and shared with the researchers. Interview data was analyzed using thematic coding and video data analyses will be finalized by the end of 2022.
Analyses of survey data show most students' interdisciplinary collaboration changed from the beginning to the end of the course (p<0.001), and medium effects (d=0.6) were stable among students from different academic disciplines, grade point averages and genders.
Results from interviews and video data challenge these results, suggesting that not all students engaged in interdisciplinary collaboration nor learned interdisciplinary collaboration in the course. Students explained they shared the work between them and worked alone in parallel. They also said they did not share much knowledge with their peers. The students did, though, notice that students from other disciplines approached the project work differently and brought different perspectives to the table. An interesting phenomenon was when asked about their collaboration, replies came with stories of peers sharing from their disciplines - indicating how learning is demanding to articulate.
Students also said they had different starting points, that being the only person in the group from their discipline was both liberating and challenging, and how thinking and talking about interdisciplinary collaboration was new to them.
Findings from our interviews indicate that the term interdisciplinary is somewhat confusing for the students, as they contradict themselves when asked how they utilize the different disciplines in their groups. This is something educators need to be aware of. This also indicates that students find interdisciplinary collaboration complex, and we ask ourselves: Was the students' groupwork characterized by interdisciplinarity? This will need further research.
Our findings indicate that placing students from different disciplines in a group does not lead to interdisciplinarity nor students learning interdisciplinary collaboration. We hope our findings can contribute to similar courses by addressing how interdisciplinarity is demanding to understand and demanding to implement. We also welcome further research on how students in higher education apply interdisciplinarity in courses where this is a specific aim and/or learning objective.
Several universities both in and outside the Nordics are now looking to teach interdisciplinary collaboration e.g., through sustainability courses. We investigate a course that has been developed over 20 years with annually more than 3000 students from six disciplines. The multi-method approach used to investigate this unique context is a much needed and unique contribution to the field of interdisciplinary collaboration research.
Portfolio of university-industry interfaces for collaborative project-based learning activities across disciplinary and institutional boundaries
Helen Jøsok Gansmo1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
The objective of this paper is to reflect on some of the recent changes in society and how this has framed expectations towards the higher education system as main contributor of interdisciplinary knowledge construction and innovation. This paper will describe how one Norwegian university has replied to these expectations developing a plethora of different approaches for university-industry interfaces, to cater for collaborative project-based learning and experiential learning activities across disciplinary and institutional boundaries. Finally, this paper will also describe some of the implicit constructions of interdisciplinarity and innovation these industry-university interfaces are based on, and invite a discussion about how and who to judge the potential success of collaborative practices. Also, are we so busy establishing innovate collaborative practices that we forget/neglect to learn from other’s experience, and risk reinventing the wheel?
Previous years have been marked by uncertainty due to the pandemic, the climate crises, and debt crisis, etc. Parallel to these crises, we have also witnessed that people have lost trust in the institutions and practices of the knowledge society. The high number of institutions and people engaged in and with (higher) education, R&D and policymaking are met with expectations to produce both certainty and innovation, as well as graduates - (future) employees - who can seize the opportunities presented by these crises and translate new knowledge claims and accompanying uncertainties towards innovative futures.
Through these expectations and the recurrent focus on crises the practices in industry have been disrupted, and the practices of universities have been challenged. The production of the skills needed (in the future) is under stress as seen in changes related to the autonomy and accountability of universities partly related to a debate regarding the work life relevance of education (OECD 2018), all pointing towards a need for engagement, dialogue and meeting places between universities and industry in order for producing more robust and sustainable knowledge as well as students with interdisciplinary team skills as the foundation for new innovations. Studies of innovation and interdisciplinarity have highlighted the importance of collaboration between universities and industry, as described by for instance Modus 2 (Gibbons, Nowotny et al.), Triple Helix (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorffer), recent challenges towards democracy and expertise (Jasanoff, Latour, Nelkin, Stenger, Yearly), and responsible research and innovation (RRI) (Åm) or quadruple helix (Carayannis et al).
What assumptions about innovation and interdisciplinary teamwork frame the industry-university collaborations in the region surrounding one of the universities in Norway? The approach of this paper is based on reviews of the portfolio of study programs offered at one university, and qualitative interviews with teaching and administrative staff as well as collaborating industry partners and governmental offices for innovation.
The results of this paper will describe how this allegedly “innovationable” engagement between industry, university and students is framed and played out, what problems and possibilities this collaborative engagement for innovation is supposed to solve, and also the accompanying expectations about who is the main and the “missing actor” creating possibilities for innovating our technoscientific futures.
Interdisciplinarity is in many regards seen as essential for knowledge building/sharing and innovations, and hence students are expected to on the one hand learn to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams at the same time as they learn their discipline and how to learn. In the quest for constructing more robust and sustainable knowledge students are on the other hand also regarded as agents for interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in business-university collaborations – as they are seen to “disrupt” the day-to-day routines of the established and bring new and other perspectives, as well as a link to the university researchers.
Implications and value/originality
The implications of this paper might be both practical and political, and this is also linked to the value/originality of the paper as a first attempt of describing a portfolio of tools for collaborative teaching practices (of interdisciplinarity) across institutional boundaries. In practice the paper may serve as a list of possible solutions for collaborative teaching practices and hence inspire testing or new potential developments. In terms of political and theoretical implications the paper also invites discussions about the definition of relevance of education as well as who are to be the main actors in collaborative teaching and innovation process between industry and university.
Session 4C: Group dynamics and skills in student project teams
Exploring low work commitment in active groups
Are Holen1, Bjørn Sortland1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
Collaborative learning in groups has become more prevalent in higher education in recent decades. Among the associated challenges discussed in the literature are the handling of “free riders”, students who demonstrate less commitment to the group work. The study explored how this behavior may influence groups.
In a separate quantitative EIT-study of interdisciplinary teams from 2017-2018-2019 (N=6595), four general group dimensions were isolated: management, social collaboration, work commitment, and attitudes toward evaluations. Free riders as seen by students is reflected in lower scores on the group dimension related to work commitment. By linear regression analysis, we were able to explore statistically how demographic data such as sex, cultural origin, cohabitation, and faculty together with general group characteristics were linked to the students’ group experience.
The results revealed that low work commitment was explained by group dimensions far more than by demographic variables and indicated that low work commitment exhibited by some students had a devastating effect on the group experience.
The study underscores the relevance of good group dynamics and skilled facilitation in interactive, interdisciplinary groups. In the presentation, we will share the findings in more detail and discuss their implications for interdisciplinary, collaborative group learning.
The study will be of relevance to those interested in interactive group learning whether they already are running or contemplate the introduction of collaborative groups in their curriculum.
Groupwork self-efficacy in entrepreneurship students: How is it related to entrepreneurial passion and demography?
Fufen Jin1, Dag Håkon Haneberg1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
Although new ventures commonly start as teams and good groupwork skills (also referred to as teamwork skills) are vital in starting and growing a business, there is little empirical research on groupwork skills in students entering a venture creation program (VCP). The goal of this study is to explore entrepreneurship students’ confidence in groupwork skills, the bivariate relationship between groupwork skills and entrepreneurial passion, as well as a range of demographic variables. Consistent with extant literature, we adopt a conceptual model that categorizes groupwork skills into task management skills and interpersonal skills (Cumming et al.,2014; Hobson et al. 2014; Morgan et al. 1986). Task groupwork skills involves the achievement of work-related team goals. Interpersonal groupwork skills focus on interactions with other group members (Cumming et al., 2014). For entrepreneurial passion, we draw on theoretical framework developed by Cardon et al. (2013), which includes three types of passion associated with inventing, founding, and developing. A recent study suggests that conflict of individual entrepreneurial passions may have a damaging effect on new venture team functioning (de Mol et al., 2020). Despite their potential importance on new venture team effectiveness, we have little empirical evidence capturing the relationship between different categories of groupwork skills and different types entrepreneurial passion. This empirical study contributes to such evidence, and further expands our knowledge about groupwork skills by additionally examining the association between groupwork skills and demographic variables.
The present study used descriptive survey method to explore groupwork skills on a sample of 93 students (females=34) in a VCP program at a Norwegian university. The questionnaire was administered to the students during the first week of the program. Students’ confidence in groupwork skills was obtained using the 10-item Groupwork Skills Questionnaire (GSQ) developed by Cumming et al. (2014). The GSQ consists of task groupwork skills and interpersonal skills. Students rated the items between 1 (cannot do at all) and 10 (higher certain can do). Entrepreneurial passion was measured using items developed by Cardon et al. (2013). The instrument is composed of three subscales that measure passion in the different phases of an entrepreneurial venture. The instrument included passion for inventing, founding, and developing. Independent sample t-test was used to examine gender difference in groupwork skills. The Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient (r) tests were conducted to explore the bivariate relationships between groupwork skills, entrepreneurial passion, and the demographic variables.
The results show that the overall mean score of task groupwork skills and interpersonal skills was respectively, 7.22 (sd=1.26) and 8.15 (sd=1.46). The entrepreneurship students seem to have a strong confidence in both task groupwork skills and interpersonal skills. No gender difference was detected for the task management skills [mean=7.09 (sd=1.46) for female, mean=7.29 (sd=1.13) for male; t (91) =0.74, p=.463]. In terms of interpersonal skills, however, a significant gender difference in favor of female was found [mean=8.88 (sd=0.99) for female, mean=7.73 (sd=1.53) for male; t (91) =3.94, p<.001]. Results from the Pearson’s Correlation tests show that task groupwork skills are significantly and positively correlated with all types of passion, with incremental coefficient values (r=353 for Passion for Inventing, r=.433 for Passion for Founding, and r=.545 for Passion for Developing). By contrast, none of the coefficients between interpersonal skills and passion reached significance. The findings suggest that the three types of entrepreneurial passion are incrementally linked to commitment to accomplish team goals, but not necessarily to interpersonal skills like building good relationships in an entrepreneurial team. Among the demographic variables, the only significant correlation is between gender and interpersonal skills (r=.382), further confirming that being female is associated with better interpersonal skills as compared to male.
The findings of this study have important implications for entrepreneurship educators relating to recruitment of students into VCPs, team composition in forming new venture teams, as well as curriculum design. In terms of research, future research should consider the mechanisms that explain how entrepreneurial passion and groupwork skills lead to team effectiveness.
This study provides empirical evidence on the groupwork skills in entrepreneurship students. It contributes to the literature seeking to explain new venture performance by linking groupwork skills with entrepreneurial passion and demographic variables.
Abstract texts Friday
Friday 17 June
Parallel session 5: Professional development workshops
Session 5A: PEOPLES-centered education
PEOPLES-centered education – a method for collaborative & experimental learning
Hilde Van Dyck1,2
1University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
2Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Brussels, Belgium
This workshop is all about a hands-on approach and how we can implement the PEOPLE’s method in our education system. The PEOPLE’S method is a 7-dimensional method that enables growth. The approach is not a linear step-by-step process, but rather iterative, where you start from the purpose and after every other dimension loop back through the purpose dimension to adjust it when necessary.
Figure 1 – PEOPLE’s method
After explaining the PEOPLE’s method and how it enables people to work on growth projects, we will elaborate on a case study at the Erasmus University College Brussels.
In this case study, the students had to choose a project that ‘scared them a little and excited them a lot’. By focusing more on the journey then on the result, they experimented with a ‘trial and learn’ mindset and a playful attitude, not sure of achieving their goal.
To support peer-coaching, we tried out an InterVision setup where students discuss their progress and issues. At the end of every session, they got tools and information on how to take the next step in their process.
We will wrap up the case by showing some results of an anonymous questionnaire (N=72 students) at the end of the academic year.
In the second part of this workshop, we will explore the applicability of this method on your own lessons/situation and speculate on ‘must have’ conditions to apply this approach.
- 0-5’ – Acquaintance (what is your superpower)
- 5’-20’ – Presentation of the PEOPLE’S method & the growth zone
- 20’-35’ – Application of the PEOPLE’S method at the Erasmus College Brussels
- 35’-50’ – We will explore the applicability of this method on your own courses /situation with a creative technique called ‘paper plane’ (https://www.paperplanepilots.be/play/paper-plane). By elaborating on pros and cons, we dive deeper in the method and the conditions needed to implement this approach in an optimal way.
- 50’-60’ – Thoughts and questions from the participants
By joining this workshop, you will know what the PEOPLE’S method entails and understand why this method, in combination with peer-coaching, can have a positive impact on a student’s growth process. In addition, you will know how to use the ‘paper plane’ technique to evaluate a project.
The PEOPLE’s method sprouts from desk research and interviews with experts on playfulness, creativity, innovation and education from the past 6 years (and beyond). In 2019, the method was introduced for the first time in the second year of the professional bachelor Multimedia and creative technologies at The Erasmus College Brussels. In the second year of this bachelor, I was allowed to experiment and test my PEOPLE’s method on 72 students. Meanwhile, the method proved to help the students successfully grow (soft and hard skills) for the 3rd year in row.
The results of an anonymous survey executed after the first year will be shared during the workshop. This survey questioned the added value of the PEOPLE’s method for their project, what kind of added value the method provided and their intention to use it again or recommend it.
Proyer (2012) considers global Playfulness as an individual differentiator that allows people to frame or reframe everyday situations in such a way that they experience them as entertaining, and/or intellectually stimulating, and/or personally interesting.
Richardson A. (1969) describes an experiment on visualization in ‘Mental Imagery’, where he split up a group of basketball players in 3. The first group trained 20 minutes a day, the second group visualized, and the third group did nothing. The research only showed a limited backlog between the group who visualized attentively and the group who trained every day.
Takeaways for teaching practice
After this workshop, you will have the guts and handles to focus more on the grow aspects than on the outcome of an assignment. By trusting the PEOPLE’s method and involving all students via peer-coaching, a student will exceed his/her own expectations, reflect on it, and learn from it.
Session 5B: Belbin's team roles and group fomation
Using Belbin's team roles in forming groups and using students’ reflections to keep the groups together
1Education developer, Vattholma, Uppsala, Sweden
The participants are asked to bring a PC for this workshop.
When the participants are arriving to the workshop they are presented with a paper form and are asked to fill it in, and form groups of 5 members with the aim to form groups with all the Belbin’s team roles.
The group is advised a table to sit down and the members are asked to tell each other about how they meet the task and how they interpreted the roles. They now get an assignment on using tools on Gapminder.com to create and show an understanding on what important historical events has affected the world population.
Now, the second part of the workshop starts. The participants are asked to write a self-reflection on their own role in the group, what kind of positive energy and group dynamic they have felt, and what they want to develop within the group during coming tasks.
The workshop leader presents how these two tools have been used in courses and how it was received by the course participants.
The participants are asked to reflect on the use of these tools in higher education.
Workshop style outline
- Start – (5 min) The participants get a paper form of the 9 Belbin’s group roles and are advised to choose and fill in 3-5 of them as typical roles for him-/herself
- 5-10 min: The participants are asked to make groups of 5 (to 6) using the forms, also thinking on the perspectives of gender and interdiciplinarity, and asked to sit at a table
- 15-25 min: A task is given to the groups. The group work begins and ends. (No presentation of the result)
- 25-35 min: Self-reflection. A new task is given to the groups on individual self-reflections.
- 35-45 min: Presentation on how instructions, the use of creative solutions to meet group conflicts, and feedback has been used to understand how the students have received the two tools, used in master’s courses. Reflections on the use of the tools.
- 45 min: Finish
Expected workshop outcomes
After physical and cognitive participation in the workshop, the participant should be able to
- use the model of Belbin’s group roles to help students to put their own groups together,
- use self-evaluations and group evaluations to help students outlast/survive the group work,
- critically decide, as a teacher, what tools to use in order to give the students control in their group work.
The research on groups and group dynamic that this workshop is building on is:
Wheelan, Susan A. Group Processes: A Developmental Perspective, 2nd ed. Pearson Education, 2005
Belbin, R.M. Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, Butterworth Heinemann, 2nd ed., 2004
Self-reflections as development tools are described in e.g. Gibbs, Graham, Learning in Teams: A Tutor Guide, Oxford Centre for Staff Development, 1995
Takeaways for teaching practice
The tools used and presented in this workshop are aimed for good practise in teaching at higher education. The goal is for teachers and students to shift the control in group work to the students, to give the students agency in their studies.
Session 5C: Team reflection - reflecting on reflection
Reflecting on reflection
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
To reflect on experiences is seen as a crucial tool to create meaning and learning from the same experiences. Kolb (1984) sees this as a continuous cycle of the four phases experience, observation, conceptualization, and experimentation. Reflection can be seen in this context as a bridge from observation to conceptualization. In other words, abstracting learning from concrete observations. Several scholars point out that the term reflection is not easily understood and research from Grossman (2009) and Rogers (2001) indicates that it is difficult to teach students to reflect. So, if a common understanding of reflection for the group at hand is a prerequisite for reflective team learning, exploring how reflecting can be taught would be a worthwhile activity for all teachers involving in experiential learning with their students.
The exercises in this workshop do exactly that. From three different perspectives they explore what reflection is and how it can be done by putting the participants into reflecting on reflection on several levels of abstraction. Firstly, they are challenged to explain the term by finding a synonym. Secondly, they expand these understandings by asking and answering open-ended questions. Thirdly, they discuss an academic definition of reflective thinking. After experiencing three different ways towards a common understanding of the term and the practice of reflecting, the group is asked explicitly to reflect on the difficult art of teaching reflection.
Intro: Reflecting in the context of experiential learning. 5 minutes
The workshop fasilitator puts the use of reflection into the context of experiential learning where the shared experiences should be reflected upon to create abstracts learned that can be used as the base for active experimentation and new experiences. The phase of reflection in this learning cycle by Kolb is often not explained or expanded for or by the participants in the learning process. Let’s try in practice to find out what it is and how it can be understood. A group of four volunteers sit in a circle facing each other. Instructions are given in writing for each part of the exercise, one at the time.
Part 1: One word for reflection. 10 minutes
Find one word in your mother tongue as the best synonym for reflection. Present the word and your understanding of it to the rest of the group. The three others are listening silently, writing down open-ended questions to expand their understanding of the expression explained.
Part 2: Discussing the term reflection. 10 minutes
Ask the questions you have written down to each other and discuss freely your understanding of each other’s words.
Part 3: Discussing a definition of reflection. 10 minutes
Discuss the following definition in the group as a whole: “Reflective thinking is an active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge.” Dewey (1933).
Part 4: Perspectives on teaching reflecting practice. 10 minutes
If you were to teach reflecting to a group of post-grad students, from what pedagogical perspective would you.
Part 5: Evaluation. 15 minutes
Experiences and thoughts from participants, observations and questions from bystanders.
This exercise will have outcomes on two levels, the first one semantic, the second pedagogic. By sharing their own thoughts and discussing them in the group each participant will get a broader and deeper understanding of the term reflection and the use of it in experiential learning. The discussion in part 4 will bring forth different pedagogical perspectives on teaching reflecting.
The exercise is not based directly on research but is exploring possible new ways to a wider and deeper understanding of how to understand reflection and how to practice it in experiential learning.
Takeaways for teaching practice
The exercise explores three different perspectives to pursue a better understanding of the theoretical term and the practice of reflection: 1) Starting from each person’s personal understanding of the term and how this is explained to others. 2) Starting from exploring other person’s understanding through asking open-ended questions. 3) Starting from an academic definition of the term. Each of these perspectives individually or in combination can be chosen depending on the level of the learners and the aim of the exercise.
Parallel session 6: Research papers
Parallel session 6A: Engaging students through co-creation
A comparative study of team dynamics within two hybrid interdisciplinary student courses
Yu Wang1, Hamish Hay1, Andreas Amundsen2, Ares Terteully Ignoumba1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Architecture and Planning, Trondheim, Norway
2United Future Lab Norway, Ålesund municipality, Ålesund, Norway
This paper is a comparative study two NTNU courses which employed innovative learning approaches, where interdisciplinary student teams engaged directly with urban innovation projects. The paper aims to uncover: “What are the key factors of success for positive student group dynamics in experiential learning settings, where the course is co-designed and co-taught with multi-disciplinary stakeholders in the context of real-world urban issues?”
The first course, “Data-Driven Co-Creation in Urban Innovation”, took place during the autumn semester of 2021. The core of the course was a week-long field trip to Ålesund to meet and interact with stakeholders involved in the development of the city’s digital twin for urban transformations. The second course was an intensive three-week programme as part of NTNU’s “Experts in Teamwork” cross-disciplinary master’s course titled “Climate-neutral, inclusive, beautiful & sustainable Nyhavna” for 30 students from a very diverse range of academic backgrounds. Students were split into groups and invited to generate concepts for meeting the challenges of Nyhavna’s “Quality Program”.
This article makes use of quantitative and qualitative data and student, teacher and stakeholder perspectives on the usefulness of the courses for tackling urban challenges. The primary method is a ‘discovery method’ and inductive logics for the description and exploration of the two cases. Sources of data include interviews with students and external stakeholders, reports delivered by students, videos of student presentations, student reflections (both written and presented) and the direct observations of teaching staff and student assistants. The study concluded that experiential learning processes, especially where conducted physically, can lead to rapid improvements in group dynamics. However, the alignment of the ‘peak’ in changing group dynamics with the deadline for key final deliverables can be crucial for ensuring the quality of final outputs.
Key words: sustainability, teamwork, urban development, experiential learning
Exploring co-evaluation for an educational distance learning project assignment
1University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences & Antwerp School of Education, Antwerp, Belgium
Flash-back to Summer 2021, at the brink of another academic year. Due to the latest updates by the epidemiology experts it dawned upon the didactic team of the educational master programme that “the new normal” of online teaching would continue for at least the winter semester. In response, a new project assignment was dedicated to the development of distance learning material. The objective was to prepare our students to become well versed in multimodal teaching as well as in developing educational material for distance learning.
Even if the pilot version of this project assignment was to be executed by individual students, frequent interaction moments were included to discuss the assignment progress with peers. The students had three roles: (1) all had to develop a distance learning package and as teachers-in-training, they would be (2) co-creators of the evaluation criteria and (3) co-assessors of the others’ intermediate and final results. The professor and assistant operated as coaches and assessors of the development process and as action researchers, keeping a close eye on the project development and the peer evaluation dynamics. As such, they could ensure that a qualitative set of evaluation criteria would be reached and that sufficient, constructive peer feedback would be exchanged.
An action research approach allowed the professor and assistant to closely monitor if the expected learning advantages for the students were met or needed further support, if the students evaluated their role as co-assessors and co-creators as beneficial for their own project refinement as well as for the learning process of their peers.
The reasons for a high degree of student involvement are multiple. As co-designers of the evaluation criteria, the students might understand and meet the ensuing criteria better. Using the resulting set of criteria to evaluate the work of peers and to receive feedback and assessment from peers on their own work, might trigger deeper learning and reflections on how to develop valid and accurate evaluation forms and criteria. As such, the students might grow as future assessors, both as evaluation criteria creators as well as constructive feedback formulators. Besides, it was hoped that the frequently planned exchange moments between peers would release social isolation and enhance group cohesion and well-being in this off-campus times of teleteaching.
The high involvement of the students paid off: they indicated this project assignment as one of the most valuable and satisfying assignments in their learning trajectory. The students learn from each other, inspire each other, offer each other an outsider’s perspective and can benchmark their own work progress and results in comparison to the work of their peers. Together they create a pool of interesting learning materials for their future careers as teachers.
Moreover, the pilot led to a qualitative set of evaluation criteria, by discussing, selecting and merging the proposals prepared by the students in small groups of three and finetuning those few criteria which were not unambiguously clear. All students unanimously advised to maintain this learning-by-practice assignment in the following years.
University rules prescribe that the content of each lesson and all evaluation criteria should be published at the start of each course. Covid-19 provided freedom to experiment and to adapt the learning plan, assignments and evaluation criteria. Thus, a cocreation session and a supportive class on how to formulate positive, constructive feedback with a growth-mindset were added to improve the quality of accurate, actionable peer feedback. In non-pandemic years, the university rules will restricti the practice of cocreating evaluation criteria and adapting lesson content in response to detected needs. However, the set of co-created criteria may be maintained and the interaction moments with peers too, as these are valued as effective learning opportunities in the students’ feedback.
This paper explores and demonstrates the learning potential of involving teacher training students as co-creators of the evaluation criteria and as co-assessors of the project results. It illustrates how this process calls for a shift from teacher-lecturer to teacher-process-coach. It also showcases an example of a project assignment, which caters for the needs of new distance learning material for teachers in teleteaching times.
Session 6B: Developing skills and competences in higher education
Creativity in engineering education through open-ended problems
Nora Geirsdotter Bækkelund1, Aina Isdal Haugland1, Joar Sande1, Jan Ove Rogde Mjånes1
1Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Norway
Although engineering is usually not perceived as a creative profession, creativity is central to good problem solving in engineering. In general, engineering education has been criticised for not fostering creativity. Engineering education tends to focus on teaching topic knowledge and specific working procedures, where students’ work is compared to the correct answer. This has also been the case at our institution. This approach is unlikely to foster the students’ abilities for creative problem solving because the students focus on solving narrow tasks and finding the correct answer. However, engineering education often includes some courses that require a different and more creative approach. In particular, open-ended problems is a common tool for developing students’ problem solving abilities – and thus also creativity. At our university a new course has been introduced for all the engineering students in different disciplines. In this course the students learn about systems thinking, innovation and economics, with the aim of developing more holistic perspectives and abilities of collaboration, creative problem solving, report writing and so on. A group project where the students develop their own innovation projects, supervised by experienced engineers, is central to this course. In this paper we investigate how the students use creativity to solve open-ended problems of their own choice, and what they learn about creativity from this problem-solving process.
Exploring a socio-ecological resilience perspective on individual sustainability competencies
Jessica Klaver1, Wim Lambrechts1, Marjolein Caniels1, Janjaap Semeijn1
1Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands
Today’s society focuses on creating efficient and optimised systems, which leads to the elimination of redundancies and the highest potential profit. Moreover, the focus lies on short-term goals and gains, which creates an emphasis on values that generate wealth; a short-term perspective for maximum profitability. However, this emphasis leads to significant ‘inefficiencies in how we generate value for societies’ and drastic losses in resilience (Walker & Salt, 2006, p. 7).
This paper argues for two main educational transformations for a sustainable and resilient future: first, a novel approach to learning and information requires a focus on Individual Sustainability competencies in higher education. Learning for sustainability requires an interdisciplinary approach to teach us ‘how to think in terms of interdependent, complex systems’ (Wals & Corcoran, p. 17). As Schor states: “in a sense, we can think of this new paradigm as one that mimics the nature of the systems we are attempting to understand and protect” (Ibid., p. 18). Second, and more importantly, these sustainability competencies should be grounded in socio-ecological resilience, to create both resilient and sustainable systems, and to prepare students for an unpredictable and nonlinear future.
Sustainable education requires advanced competencies to cope with the complexity, urgency and uncertainty of sustainability issues (Lambrechts & Van Petegem, 2016) and foster empowerment and resilience (Lambrechts, 2020), in the literature often referred to as “individual sustainability competencies” (ISCs) (e.g. Ploum et al., 2018). Based on a broad literature review, Wiek et al. (2011) identified five competencies for sustainability. While none of these competencies are less or more important than another, the fifth competency, ‘interpersonal competence’, is closely linked to interdisciplinary thinking, as it includes the ‘ability to motivate, enable, and facilitate collaborative and participatory sustainability research and problem solving’ (Ibid., p. 211). Therefore, interdisciplinarity is at the heart of the ISCs.
Blok and colleagues claim that two competencies, namely normative competence and action competence, should be viewed as two sides of the same coin, which make up ‘a virtuous competence’ for sustainability. However, as sustainability is a highly contested concept, like resilience, it is unclear what “normativity” in the normative competence and “responsible action” in the action competence refer to (Blok et al., 2016). In order to frame the competencies within this ethical dimension, which would allow for a deeper understanding of the possible contribution of competency-based sustainability education, we envisage a link between the individual sustainability competencies and the concept of resilience. This paper will explore whether the concept of resilience can act as a bridge between the individual sustainability competencies and ethical dimension of sustainability.
The recognition that resilience is an essentially contested concept also requires the understanding that a universal definition of the topic is hardly possible. To create resilient societies, we must accept the contested nature of the topic, accept its imperfections and move beyond them, to create theoretical grounding for future research to build on.
How do we agree on what is the right thing to do, and is this something we should even strive for? The issue seems to be whether there is an inherent morality within the concept of resilience. Therefore, resilience is considered desirable, even though it is not always clear which type of resilience is being raised. The concept of resilience has multiple, distinct meanings and a problem arises when these meanings are used interchangeably. Without the crucial distinction between ecological and engineering resilience, resilience can be achieved without this change being sustainable.
In line with Jickling & Wals (2008), this paper provides ‘those who seek to infuse [resilience] with meaning, and use them as a learning aid,’ with an avenue of further exploration and discussion. The contested nature of resilience does not have to be a problem, as long as it is clear which type of resilience is being referred to.
Currently, the Individual Sustainability Competencies are not embedded in socio-ecological resilience, whereas this paper argues for the establishment of the link between sustainability and resilience: rooting ISCs in socio-ecological resilience allows for a holistic interpretation of competency development in higher education.
Session 6C: Facilitating learning - the teacher perspective
The value of feedback and exploring personal histories in the training of teaching assistants
Martha Anderson1, Hanne Charlotte Helgesen1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
In this study, we aim to explore teaching assistants’ (TA) understanding of themselves and others, related to their tasks in an experiential collaborative course context.
In experiential collaborative learning, students’ thoughts, emotions and actions are part of their learning process (Kolb, 2014). This is especially true when students are expected to pay attention to interpersonal relations and train their collaborative skills (Veine et al., 2020). From a psychoanalytical perspective, French (1997) argues that learning situations provoke anxiety, and this anxiety may intensify in an experiential collaborative learning context where the potential fears of rejection also come into play (Kvalsund & Meyer, 2005). Anxiety that is not contained, may inhibit learning (French, 1997).
Group facilitation is an acknowledged approach to supporting groups’ learning (Hogan, 2002). Literature on facilitation emphasizes the need of facilitators’ knowledge of their own emotions and defenses to better understand the behaviors and emotions of others (Andreasen, Andreasen & Kovac, 2020; Hogan, 2002). We assume that the same self-knowledge is of significance for teaching personnel in an experiential collaborative learning context. This perspective is, however, lacking in literature on experiential learning in higher education.
We present a case where 14 TAs participate in a group seminar that rests on Johari’s Window (Luft & Ingham, 1961), which states that feedback and disclosure are prerequisites for development of self-knowledge and growth. The aim of this seminar is, through feedback and sharing of personal histories, to increase the TAs’ understanding of themselves and others.
Our research questions are:
- What do the TAs identify as the outcome of the seminar concerning their understanding of themselves and others?
- What effect, if any, does exploring personal histories and feedback have for the TAs’ interpersonal relations?
- In what ways, if any, do they transfer the outcome of the seminar to their TA tasks?
In the university-wide compulsory course “Experts in Teamwork” (EiT) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), students are expected to increase their teamwork skills through project work, feedback and reflection activities. To educate the students 350 teachers and learning assistants are organized in small teams (FT).
Each year, 14 undergraduate students are employed as TAs to support the FTs in challenging situations that arise within student groups and within the FTs. The academic section of EiT provide training for the TAs, including a 3 full-day group seminar to increase the TAs’ emotional skills and build trust within the TA team.
During the seminar each TA receives feedback from the group, and is subsequently invited to expand on the feedback, through sharing their own version of why they act and behave the way they do related to their personal history and significant life experiences.
Through qualitative interviews, we explored 10 TAs’, both former and current, experience of the outcome of the seminar. The interviews were conducted individually following a semi-structured guide.
All 10 informants have either discovered something new about themselves or have gained a deeper understanding of parts of themselves already known to them. They conclude that disclosing personal histories was challenging but rewarding. Several mention how listening to others’ stories, increased their understanding of others as well as of themselves. Some remembered being surprised by what lay beneath the surface of team members, even if they had known a fellow TA for some time. Regarding possible transfer for the TA job, it seems that the seminar was significant for the building of trust in the TA team and within the TA pair in supporting the FTs.
This study contributes new knowledge on how teaching assistants benefit from training aimed at increasing their understanding of themselves and others. This broadens the understanding of students as teachers, investigating the significance of exploring personal histories as preparation for TA position in an experiential collaborative learning context.
Our study presents a novel exploration of how teaching assistants experience training aimed to prepare them for diverse human responses that experiential collaborative learning may provoke. Literature on group facilitation has highlighted the importance of emotional skills as facilitator. This emphasis is hard to find regarding teaching personnel in higher education.
Towards enhancing student learning through improving teaching activities in an interdisciplinary context – Lessons learned and the way forward
Erjon Zoto1, Jia-Chun Lin1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Gjøvik, Norway
We faced several challenges when we co-taught a course that is provided to two different programs of study where students have different backgrounds and different levels of competence. The challenges include course incoherence and poor student engagement, which inspired us to look for possible solutions. To address these challenges, we made a series of improvements on our teaching activities, including re-structuring teaching content, adopting various teaching approaches, and offering various activities. The main purpose was to help students acquire deeper knowledge about the theoretical aspects of the course, supported by hands-on tasks for improving their practical skills. In this paper, we share our experience, the lessons learned, and the way forward towards enhancing student learning.
This research paper aims to answer the following main question:
- Can we enhance student learning in an interdisciplinary context?
It can be associated with several objectives, as follows:
- To provide context around the specific course and recent challenges in our teaching activities
- To describe the new approach followed and ongoing results
- To discuss about the implications and possible solutions for the future
While the pandemic situation was at its peak, we had to adjust our course plan adapting to online sessions, while the feedback we received made us look for more relevant changes for the next version of the course.
We designed an action plan, which included the following:
- Redesign the lectures to better integrate the main topics
- Adopt various teaching approaches (traditional classrooms, flipped classrooms, team-based learning, etc.)
- Offer various activities such as practical lab exercises and online games
- Establish a group project.
- Recruit committed teaching assistants, with relevant background.
We were able to re-allocate the lectures among the different weeks, helping achieve our main purpose with the course. We were further able to apply a good combination of physical lectures, flipped classrooms with on-class reviews, and weekly sessions dedicated to team-based work and learning activities. We established a team of 6 teaching assistants with relevant background.
The group project was announced from the start of the semester. We designed a “project” folder” to facilitate the students’ efforts in the process. We established good contacts with the reference group, providing almost daily feedback on diverse issues. We had multiple channels of communication and feedback, including a section in the group report and exam question.
We understood early on that a large part of the students would not be fully available on campus or during the lectures and labs. In addition, the students lacked feedback, especially from the TAs. We spent a lot of effort in the process, while we have already recruited more suitable candidates for the TA team in Fall 2022 and we have met the coming students. Furthermore, the project task turned out to be more challenging than anticipated, as the students were new to working on a group project graded A-F. However, we received positive feedback on the learning aspects of the project task, leading us to believe that we reached our goal.
To the best of our knowledge, the course itself and the approach we followed was not like in any other courses we are aware of. We aimed to design an innovative plan from scratch, and we believe working on it improved the overall course quality, by reaching a higher level of correlation between the intended learning outcomes, the designed tasks and the assessment methods, as required from the constructive alignment principle.
We also believe that the students, the course topics and us as teachers helped support the interdisciplinary aspect for the work done. Thus, the feedback collected leads us to confirm that student learning can be improved in an interdisciplinary context.
Furthermore, another value of this paper is in sharing our experience with our colleagues within and outside NTNU and we hope the paper should contribute to at least initiating fruitful discussions around enhancing student learning in an interdisciplinary context.
Parallel session 7: Research papers
Session 7A: Digital and face-to-face collaborative learning in health care education
Student active learning across Fjords and Mountains. Digital and face-to-face collaborative learning including different campuses and study programs
Kjersti Natvig Antonsen2, Marit Stuedahl2, Randi Stokke1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Health Sciences, Center for Care Research, Gjøvik, Norway
2Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Public Health and Nursing, Trondheim, Norway
This abstract presents part of a project called Learning Across Fjords and Mountains. One of the main objectives of this project was to facilitate collaborative learning between students from different study programs at three different campuses at NTNU to increase interdisciplinary competence. Effective teamwork and communication between different health care professionals are crucial for patient safety, and lack of communication and collaboration may be responsible for as much as 70% of the adverse events in health care services.
This project aims to promote interprofessional learning by bringing students from different campuses and multiple health care study programs to work together and learn about each other’s professional roles and stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration, aiming to improve the quality of patient care. Participating study programs are Bachelor in Radiography, and postgraduate program in nurse anesthesia, intensive care nursing, operating room nursing and pediatric nursing. These programs are all organized at different university campuses at NTNU located between fjords and mountains in Norway, making collaborative learning more complex.
Through a collaborative innovation project, we have developed student active digital and face-to-face learning tools that open for collaborative learning across three campuses and the five participating study programs.
As the core of the digital learning tools, we developed a patient story of a seven-year-old boy named Henrik. Henrik experiences a fall from a tree during play, and the story is presented to the students as a scroll-story of his journey through the hospital after the fall. This includes everything that happens to Henrik from the onset of his injury, the ambulance arriving at the emergency department through examinations and treatment until he gets discharged from the local hospital. This story is digitalized in collaboration with MedEasy, which also has delivered digital lectures within the scroll-story. As the story develops, Henrik meets different health care professionals working together. These meeting points, where different health care professionals collaborate, are organized in what we call Learning stations. At each learning station, the students collaborate across disciplines and campus to acquire knowledge, skills and competence to secure patient safety.
The Learning stations provide digital and physical student active learning tools operationalizing the students learning. The student will meet with different mono- and interdisciplinary groups during a variety of learning activities. We have utilized digital tools such as H5P, teams and Blackboard to organize the different learning activities, involving group discussions, practical training, simulation, digital lectures, filming, interviews, questionnaire etc.
The learning station related to working with Henrik in a trauma team is pilot tested within the participating study programs across all campuses in a trauma week this spring. Here the students work with the different themes concerning trauma reception and care.
Results of the evaluation of the students and teachers experience with the learning tools will be presented at the conference in combination with the results of a baseline questionnaire that explores the students' experience and attitudes towards digital learning and interdisciplinary learning at the university.
The implications of this study are to increase student learning related to interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge of other professions roles and responsibilities. By learning across campus and study programs the project opens for collaborative learning in a new way which is important to increase patient care and safety when the students later will experience real patient in trauma care.
By developing digital and physical learning arenas that innovatively promote student-active learning methods and learning across fjords and mountains this study provides learning methods for increasing collaboration between students across campus and study programs. The learning tools can be used both contemporary and digital regardless of time and place opening for collaborative flexible learning methods. Parts of the learning tools will be open access and available for other universities and study programs.
Session 7B: Group dynamics and skills in student project teams
Team formation in an interdisciplinary course with focus on entrepreneurship
1Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Ballerup, Denmark
The ability to communicate and to work effectively in a team is today one of the important characteristics of working life. However, if you have little experience in teamwork and no guidance or support is available, teamwork can be challenging and difficult (Oakley et al., 2004). Some of the factors which can affect a proper development of teamwork, are group composition, different motivation, expectations, commitment, lack of group norms etc. (Aranzabal et al., 2022).
The objective of this study is to discuss team formation and team activities as well as we will give an example of team forming process and team activities in an interdisciplinary course with focus on entrepreneurship. The study is a conceptual work describing our experiences and reflections with formation of interdisciplinary teams and we would like to discuss the topic at the conference.
The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to entrepreneurship, to train an entrepreneurial mindset and to enable the students to participate in entrepreneurial process using relevant entrepreneurial tools and methods. The course consists of theory and work in practice where the students have to work together in interdisciplinary teams with real-life challenges offered by local companies. The projects are open-ended real-life challenges observed by the company. The students are expected to investigate the challenge and to come up with a solution to the problem during the course by doing desk research, observations, and interviews with relevant stakeholders like users, customers, experts, company etc.
The course is a three-week course held in August at the University’s campus in Sisimiut, Greenland. The students come from two different Bachelor of Engineering programs at the university Fisheries Technology and Arctic Civil Engineering. Furthermore, students from other educations are also invited to enroll to the course.
Before the course starts, the students have to make a personal test, which shows their preferences. Based on this test, the teacher divides the students into teams of three to four students and students with different preferences are put together. One the first day of the course, the focus is on team activities, team roles, and team competences. The students have to analyze the team’s personal and professional competences, discuss their ambitions and preferences. In addition, the students also have to make an exercise concerning their network and how they can apply it for their teamwork.
Furthermore, the team must discuss which team roles and rules they will apply and write them down in a group contract. The team should discuss topics like expectations for the individual’s contribution during project work, how the team wants to communicate and how the team will handle disagreement in the team.
The goal with the team exercise is to provide the students with a good understanding of who they are in the team, which competences they have available, their ambitions and which network they have and how they can use it. Furthermore, the team should discuss how they want to work and what they will do in case of disagreement.
After the team activities, the students start their work with a case provided by a local company. The case is an open-ended case, and the students have to apply their different competences to be able to suggest a solution to the case-problem. During the course, the students have to reflect on and adjust the project management and collaboration process of the team and project.
Our experience is that the time spend on the team activities are valuable and can avoid problems in the teams. However, in future we will have more focus on the team activity and include follow up on the performance of the teamwork. At the ITS21 2022 conference we would like to discuss how teams should be made based on personality test or self-selection and also to discuss team activities with the audience to share experiences and get new inspiration.
Aranzabal, A., Epelde E., & Artetxe, M. (2022) Team formation on the basis of Belbin’s roles to enchance students’s performance in project based learning. Education for Chemical Engineers 38; 22-37
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004) Turning student groups into effective teams
Having to and having fun: Enablers of learning to collaborate in higher education
Mette Mari Wold Johnsen1, Ela Sjølie1
1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
Universities worldwide are using project-based courses to teach students to collaborate as part of e.g. sustainability and STEM education, and several studies have found that students do learn to collaborate in such mono- and interdisciplinary courses. What is missing from this research, though, are studies that explore students' learning processes rather than whether they learn.
A recent study of an interdisciplinary project-based course indicated that students rely on receiving input, experiencing, practicing, and experimenting in learning to collaborate. Other studies point towards interactions, guidance, challenges, and safety as important influences on students learning in these courses. Another finding from the above research, though, is that working with open-ended problems in disciplinary diverse groups makes learning activities more complex and challenging. So much that it may, in fact, constrain students' learning. The positive effects of interdisciplinary project-based courses should therefore not be taken for granted but investigated further. To learn more about students' learning processes, we ask: How do students learn to collaborate, and what enables and constrains their learning?
We investigated a project-based course at a Norwegian university where learning to collaborate was a specified learning objective. Three thousand students from seven academic disciplines attended the course in 2021, where they collaborated in groups of 3-6 students. The students were self-organized throughout the 15-day course period, and their projects were to fit within their class theme e.g., "Plastic Free Oceans", and "Responsible AI and welfare". The teaching staff provided input on exercises and group theory, facilitated, and supported the student groups. At the end of the project period, each group handed in one project report and one group process report (50/50 count of group grade).
As part of a dissertation project, analyses of survey data indicated a significant change in students' collaboration skills from the beginning to the end of the course. On the other hand, these analyses revealed that 1000 students indicated zero or negative change. Therefore, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the students´ learning through qualitative interviews. We completed individual interviews with fourteen students and four group interviews with fifteen students. Our sample represented eighteen course classes and five academic disciplines. All interviews were semi-structured and in Zoom. Thematic analyses of transcribed interview data will be finalized in 2022.
Students described their learning processes as characterized by "steps" initiated by course exercises (feedback, reflections), group experiences (conflicts, informal meetings) and/or realizations about themselves and/or others. Processes of less (or no) learning were described as "flattening out" and occurring in "busy periods", when motivation was low, or when not feeling sufficiently challenged.
We divide our results on enablers and constraints in three categories: First, some are related to the course content, e.g. exercises or how students were challenged by the course. Secondly, students described how social aspects such as the openness and attitudes of others enabled and constrained their learning. The third category is related to affective aspects, i.e., how students' positive, and negative emotions influenced their learning. According to the students, having fun and a not-so-serious atmosphere in the group enabled learning, whilst feeling awkward or tense in the group constrained it.
Our findings on students’ learning processes are important to keep in mind for those planning future courses: How can we facilitate students' learning to "step up" rather than "flatten out", and make sure they are sufficiently challenged?
Our results on enablers and constraints are useful for teachers and facilitators wanting to enable students' learning of collaboration: Course content, social and affective aspects enable and constrain students' learning. The positive influence of fun, and the negative influence of tension on learning may be a particularly important reminder.
In sum, our study contributes to a growing body of research on students´ learning of collaboration in interdisciplinary project-based courses. Future studies could e.g., investigate students' learning processes in other contexts in and outside higher education, explore the role of emotions in students' learning further, or study how various elements of interdisciplinary project-based courses enables and constrains students' learning of collaboration.