JTH in Scandinavian collaboration on more effective learning methods
Students from four Scandinavian universities are gathering from 14-17 February for a workshop at the School of Engineering, Jönköping University to develop more effective learning methods through the InRoad project.
“The purpose of the project is to reduce the time we spend teaching software to students and to give them the opportunity to learn better by working with the software and discussing it with others. Students usually follow the teacher step by step through different menus without perhaps reflecting so much on what they are doing. They have also often forgotten how to do it the next time. In InRoad they have some basic knowledge about the software and after a review in the morning, they go into groups and solve tasks together. We believe this is a more effective learning method and in addition, students learn what it is like to work as an engineer with colleagues from other countries,” says Thomas Olsson, Senior Lecturer at JTH, and responsible for Jönköping University's part of the project.
Focus on the students' working methods
The InRoad project is a collaboration between Aalborg University in Denmark, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, the University of Oulu in Finland and the School of Engineering at Jönköping University.
As the name of the project suggests, the students have been given the task of designing a new road together. However, the road itself is not the main goal in the project, rather the focus is on the students' working methods and how they reach their results. The reason why it became a road project was that the students who are participating in the workshop are also studying this area in their engineering programs.
Thomas Olsson emphasizes the international aspect of the project, that JTH educates engineers for a worldwide market who can work with people from other countries where they, for example, build roads in different ways. The workshop is given in English in order to avoid linguistic misinterpretations and to give the students extra practice in English engineering terms.
"The end goal is to train better engineers"
Thomas Olsson thinks that the workshop has worked well and that the participants, in addition to testing the concept, are learning an incredible amount from collaborating across national borders.
"It's great fun to try new teaching methods that we do not have the time or resources to do in the regular teaching. It is also fun to meet all the happy students and see how hard they work. The end goal of the project is to train better engineers and to spend less time teaching software and more time on engineering science and collaboration models,” says Thomas Olsson.
Diego Espinosa, JTH, Santeri Siira, University of Oulu and Annette Lyngholm, Aalborg University are part of a group in the workshop at JTH. They find it interesting to work with students from other countries and with other educational platforms in the project.
“It is good to collaborate with people with different experiences because that is how it will be for us when we start working,” says Annette Lyngholm.
The students also appreciate that they can train their English vocabulary in the field of engineering because they might work in other countries in the future. There may be different standards in some areas, but otherwise, in terms of the task they have been given to solve, they do not think there are such big differences in how to build a road in the different countries in Scandinavia. Santeri Siira and Annette Lyngholm have not seen much of Jönköping University, but they like that each school has its own building and there are nice premises at JTH.
The workshop at JTH, which was carried out with the support of Jönköpings läns byggmästarförening, was the second of a total of four meetings that take place at each of the universities in the project. The next workshop is in Aalborg and in the beginning of 2023 the last part of the project will be held in Trondheim.
In the spring / summer of 2023, the different parts of the project will be compiled and completed. The developed curricula and other results in the project will be presented in other European countries and made available online and free of charge.
The InRoad project is funded by EU Erasmus and Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education programs.