Multi-university course projects – an example from KTH and UTokyo
Documentation from Lunch ‘n’ Learn 16 February 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
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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
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