“All the skills come together here, we share case studies from our own countries and we bring different perspectives to the table.” Speaking is Tim Marshall, a master's student in Literacy studies at Stavanger University. Because of Brexit, he moved from his home country England to Norway last year. As a Student Assistant at the University of Stavanger, he is helping to implement challenge-based learning in ECIU University and other related projects. He already has experience.
Tim worked on the challenge “Intimate Cityscapes”, initiated by his university.
“The big idea was to make a positive impact on the city “, Tim says. “We worked together with students from University of Twente, the Netherlands, and from Trento University, Italy. Study backgrounds were quite diverse, varying from urban planning to architecture and from computer science to arts. “
Although Tim is now back in college for his second master's, he already has work experience as a policy adviser. “Everyone brings their own perspective and skills to the table which is a brilliant way to come up with great and creative ideas. The tasks were also divided according to each person's skills or learning goals. “
In cooperation with citizens, authorities and partners, the students and lifelong learners defined their own part of the challenge on which they wanted to work on.
“The city Stavanger lacks meeting places where people can go freely. There are plenty of commercial and business places like shopping malls, however there are not a lot of places to meet and greet for free. Bearing this in mind, it was our challenge was to make a positive impact on the city and its community. “
To get an idea of the city, the students were given a comprehensive tour of the city center. “We passed a youth center, which will soon be replaced by a media center. Unfortunately, no thought was given to the youth and children where they could go. We also walked by a busy traffic tunnel. Benches had been placed next to it. Nobody sits down to relax near such a busy traffic point. “
With these examples in mind, the team set to work. “At the harbour in Stavanger, there are large, empty silos. As a team, we felt that as the perfect place to set up something like a café, restaurant, bookshop or lunchroom inside and make room for terraces outside. Besides these commercial parts, we got the idea to make meeting spots or community gardens where people can meet, relax or have a picnic. “
For Tim, challenge-based learning at the ECIU University is a great way to still be involved at a European level after Brexit. “I am happy to join as British, and it is really sad that the UK cannot cooperate, we have such good universities. It is really a shame. “
To his fellow students, Tim would say: participate. “The flexibility is cool. ECIU University offers challenges lasting six months, one day, four weeks or even weekend hackathons. Take part and experience it and learn from other students from other countries. “
Explore ECIU challenges and micro-modules: https://challenges.eciu.org/
Text: Sandra Pool, University of Twente