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Multi-university course projects – an example from KTH and UTokyo

Documentation from Lunch ‘n’ Learn 16 February 2022

Published Feb 23, 2022

During the webinar, Fredrik Lundell and Junichiro Shiomi presented a joint course activity between the University of Tokyo and KTH, where scaffolded projects were used in subject courses on fluid mechanics. They share their experience on the concept, some guiding principles, the challenge they faced, how it was all structured and some of the key reflections from the pilot project.

Table of contents for the video 

Here is a list of links that serve as a table of contents for the recording. Click on the link for the part you want to watch. When you get to KTH Play, click on the play button, and the video will start in the right place. All links lead to KTH Play. 

00:48 A joint UT/KTH course activity using scaffolded projects in subject courses

01:43 The LEQ (Learning Experience Questionaire) as a background

02:59 The concept "design thinking"

04:21 The guiding principles in designing the activity

05:31 The challenge in creating the activity

06:00 The solution to the challenge

06:50 The seminars in the design thinking process

08:39 A few examples of the posters produced

09:45 Fluid mechanics posters

10:54 Reflections on the UT/KTH Implementation (Lundell)

12:48 Junichiro on the perspective at the University of Tokyo

13:47 Peer instruction at the University of Tokyo

14:36 International joint modules for core undergraduate lectures (Scaffolded Project)

17:52 The team members from the University of Tokyo

18:47 How the project was advertised at the University of Tokyo

19:16 The members of the project

19:33 Seminar flow

20:37 Mission of students in group work

21:12 Session 1 – start of the seminar

21:27 Session 2 – explanation of the exam questions and introduction of the application tasks

21:46 Session 3 – introduction of theories and analysis methods for applied problems

22:44 Session 4 – explanation of analysis and calculation results

23:04 Session 5 – poster presentation

24:05 After the seminar

24:21 The seminar features

25:24 Points for reflection and how to proceed in the future

27:05 Note by Shiomi

About the webinar

Fredrik Lundell and Junichiro Shiomi share their experience and reflections of a joint activity between KTH and the University of Tokyo. During November and December 2021, in light of a lower score on the LEQ (Learning Experience Questionnaire) on two items linked to whether the students could choose what to do and if they found the course challenging in a stimulating way, Fredrik and Junichiro discussed how to develop a joint course project pilot using Design Thinking. Nine students from KTH and seven from UTokyo joined the pilot. The project applied a design thinking process, where the elements are iterative and use real-world problems instead of pre-defined problems with a pre-defined solution. 

The students selected an exam problem from one of the two universities. The participants expressed comfort in seeing their peers from another university solving the same type of problems they did. They worked on a solution together before presenting their work in a poster session where all the students from their respective courses were present. The activity seminar consisted of five sessions, with an introductory start of the seminar, a session with an explanation of the exam questions and introduction of the application tasks followed by a session in theories and analysis methods for applied problems, and a session on explanations of analysis and calculations results, ending in a session for the poster presentation.  

The Scaffolded design project suited the course context with its clear structure 

Professor Lundell’s previous experience and discussions highlighted the importance of getting the details on scheduling, curriculum integration and information flow right. The scaffolded design project had a clear structure and could easily be used in the course context. Prof. Lundell also found the strong institutional support important; it was clear that it was something both universities wanted to do. In addition, they could overcome or bypass some administrative and regulatory pitfalls since they were both heads of their departments. 

The ultimate example: minimising teacher effort – maximising student learning 

Professor Shiomi highlighted that this project was good for an early exposure for undergraduate students to experience working with students from other countries. He also noted that the sessions mainly consisted of confirmation on what was done and what to do next. In the end, he learned about an ultimate example of minimising the time spent by the teacher while maximising the effectiveness of student learning. The presenters would like to replicate the experience and launch a scheme, with core lecture modules, as the "KTH-UTokyo International Education Scheme". They hope this could be implemented in various subjects and anywhere in the world, which could help connect both students and faculty lead to broader student exchange.

Watch the video recording with transcription in KTH Play

You can click anywhere in the text below in the video, and the player will go to that section. You can also download the transcript as a text file inside KTH Play, if you use Firefox or Safari. If you want to avoid seeing the transcript, you can either select full screen, or see the section in KTH Play where you can choose to hide the transcript by clicking on "Hide transcript".

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Last changed: Feb 23, 2022