The collaborative course “European Classroom” is part of the “International Virtual Academic Collaboration” (IVAC) program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Universidad del País Vasco (Basque Country), INSEEC Grande Ecole (France) and SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences (Germany) engaged in the European Classroom. The course was split into three phases:
- Icebreaker: Introductory activity with the main objective of bringing the groups together and bonding
- Main activity: Case evaluation of a real-life scenario
- Reflection activity: Students identified and explained the competences they developed within the European Classroom
By working on these activities in small groups (max. 5 people), students from the universities had the opportunity to practice subject-specific communication, finance-based negotiation and problem solving in an intercultural context. The technical platform for project work and submission of tasks was the tool Padlet. Information and course materials were shared with students via a Google site set up in-house.
Student from SRH Berlin
“I found it interesting to work with people from different countries and in a language that is not the native language of any of the members. This is something that I want to enhance in my professional profile.”
To evaluate the course, an online survey was conducted with students from the partner universities. Regarding future courses, the students' experience, acquisition of competencies and satisfaction were investigated in order to identify specific areas for improvement.
- Interdependencies: Particularly in group assignments, the tasks should promote interdependencies among group members so that individual group members are encouraged to share knowledge and support each other. This should be specifically guided by the instructors through the design of the assignments. It has also proven useful to have students develop a so-called team contract at the beginning of their group work, in which they record goals, roles, and norms for their collaboration.
- Synchronous sessions: Students should be motivated to meet regularly in synchronous meetings. Synchronous meetings form the basis for an intensive exchange in virtual teaching/learning environments.
- Sensitization: Especially in intercultural working environments there are various barriers, e.g. language barriers. Students should be sensitized to these at the beginning of the course. A good opportunity to address possible hurdles is the icebreaker session.