Digital Multi-university Cross-cultural Team-based Entrepreneurship Course

G Cunningham, John Hermon, John Heebøll

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Using a digital classroom and digital collaboration tools, five students from Queen’s successfully completed a team-based distance learning course delivered by the Technical University of Denmark. The course combined a mixture of online lecturers, self-directed learning and collaborative distance working with an international group of peers.

A new entrepreneurship course was developed in the Department of Management Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), with the first enrolment scheduled for Autumn 2017. Aside from the disciplinary learning, the objective of the course was to test if digital learning could be used to facilitate multi-university collaborative learning programmes in a cross-cultural context. The course was set at Master’s level, so that it could be offered to a more diverse group of students within DTU and at partner institutions. The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has previously worked with DTU through the CDIO initiative and Erasmus, and was invited to participate in the course. By fortunate coincidence, around the time of the invitation the School had a group of five Stage 4 (Master’s level) Product Design Engineering students that were short 10 credits of entrepreneurship because of a conflict between a upcoming Erasmus exchange and the new academic year structure at Queen’s. The solution offered by DTU matched the problem perfectly, and with the students due to undertake their Erasmus exchange in Sweden, they were positive about the prospect of a course based in another Scandinavian country.

The final enrolment to the course was comprised of 20 DTU students and 5 Queen’s students, with the 20 DTU students being made up of 11 Danish students and 9 visiting international students. The five Queen’s students were distributed among four of the five groups formed for the course.
The course was delivered primarily through the Adobe Connect platform and Google Drive. Adobe Connect was used to provide a digital classroom, facilitating teaching and interaction between teacher and student. Connect was also used to facilitate group work within the teams, who were each assigned their own ‘classroom’ to meet and work at a time convenient to team members. Additional videos, for self-directed learning, and text-based course material was posted on a shared Google Drive.

Assessment of the course was completed by participation in some pieces of individual coursework and an end of year team business pitch. It’s worth noting that the business pitch was submitted as a video and had to be created and compiled by the teams without ever meeting in person. The primary assessment of the module was completed by the lecturer, but the business presentations were also formatively assessed by each of the groups using a system called peergrade.

The course was well planned and ran smoothly in its first year. The Queen’s students all had a positive experience and passed the module with encouraging comments from the coordinator. The experiment has shown the potential for digital learning across institutions and has provided both Queen’s and DTU with valuable experience.

Keywords

  • digital learning
  • distance learning
  • multi-university
  • cross-cultural

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