Examples of good practice from Linnaeus University and beyond. Just click on each heading for more details.
Global Classroom in practice - Class Pal
Class Pal - a collaborative project between University of Missouri and Lnu teacher education in English
This project started in autumn 2015, initiated by Prof. Joyce Chung who was on an exchange visit to Lnu. The idea was to start a discussion between her American students studying sociology and Swedish students studying child development and education. The project started in cooperation with the Global Classroom project with student volunteers participating, since it was difficult to find teachers at Lnu who could integrate the project in their courses. Today Emil Tyberg is using the Class Pal concept with a group of Swedish students aiming to become high school teachers of English. The solution is simple: students meet in a closed Facebook group where they can introduce themselves. Then each week the teachers post new questions to be discussed by the group, eg perspectives on child development, parental insurance, traditions etc.
Feedback from teacher Kim Ewert:
"Class Pal was a highly interesting as well as fun project that enabled the students, as well as the teachers, to get to know other cultures and other ways of living and thinking. Not only has it helped them to see the world with different eyes, to realize for instance that spanking is sadly still legal in some states in the US, but it has further developed their confidence when it comes to writing and expressing themselves in English. The Class Pal project is a helpful tool to get the students to improve their knowledge about the English language while interacting in an informal yet structured surrounding."
Global classroom in practice - eTandem
Learn more than a language - e-Tandem with Leuphana University, Germany
By Corina Löwe
A language tandem builds on mutual exchange between the partner universities. Ideally both partners should teach their native languages to the other partner. This works very well in a face-to-face situation but when that is not possible you can also work effectively with an e-Tandem solution. This is how we at Lnu have worked with teachers and students at Leuphana University in Germany since 2011.
The idea is to let students improve their oral and written ability by working with native speaker students at the partner university via Skype. Another important aspect is to learn to work with students from another culture and background.
How we have organised e-Tandem:
- Students are informed about the aim, plan, connection to syllabus and examination
- Students meet three times via Skype or other e-meeting tool. To make the interaction as realistic as possible they should be able to see and hear each other.
- Students speak for about 30 minutes in German and then 30 minutes in Swedish so that both students can practice the target language in an everyday conversation
- Students are asked to contact their buddy by e-mail or other communication tool to fix a time for the first Skype meeting. The Skype calls take place outside class time to allow more flexibility and so that the conversations can be evaluated in class.
- The first meeting is used so that the students can get to know each other and start talking about simple subjects like students life, differences between their courses etc.
- Questions for the second meeting are formulated by the German students. These can deal with for example the refugee situation, the popularity of Swedish crime fiction, minority languages etc.
- Questions for the third meeting are formulated by the Swedish students. These are often follow-up questions to those raised by the German students.
- Being responsible for a questionnaire motivates the students to reflect about methodological problems: how to get the information you want, formulating questions in the target language etc.
Problems and how we solved them
- Uneven numbers of students. Sometimes they have worked 2 to 1 or in small groups (2-2) in case one student drops out of the course.
- If the Skype sessions are held in class time it leads to difficulties arranging meetings, technical difficulties (overloading the wireless network in the classroom) and a lot of noise when everyone is talking at the same time. The solution was to schedule the Skype meetings out of class and focus on preparation and evaluation in class.
- Different semester times mean it is sometimes hard to find mutually suitable times for the tandem.
- Difficulties in matching students of equal language levels and finding suitable engaging topics of conversation.
- Different personalities and collaboration abilities. This needs to be discussed and evaluated in class.
- Technical issues. Choose a stable and robust tool for e-meetings and stress the need for patience to learn how to use the tool effectively. Don't have lots of simultaneous Skype calls in the classroom - the wireless network will be overloaded causing delay and bad sound and video quality.
- Examination. Each university is responsible for how they examine this exchange.
- Students are motivated to speak with native speakers.
- Most students chose to continue discussing with their buddies after the official meetings were completed.
- Students learned more about the other country, eg about the school system or universities.
- One limitation is that the teachers cannot ensure that the meetings were all of the required length and whether the students really spoke both languages for an equal amount of time. There is always a risk that they simply speak English.
- Some students have established real friendships from this scheme and as a result several students from Leuphana University have chosen Lnu for their exchange studies and have therefore had the advantage of having an established friend on site, helping them to get quickly acclimatised.
Virtual mobility in practice - Vytautas Magnus University
One of the leading universities in Europe in terms of virtual mobility is Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas, Lithuania. For example they have lead a European project where a number of online masters' courses (3-6 ECTS) were developed together with partner universities in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Students could then chose to study at another university in international online study groups as part of their degree programme.
We decided to visit VMU 22-23 March 2017 and you can read our report here.
Global Classroom in practice - Emergency care
1. International collaboration between students in emergency care from Linnaeus University and Griffith University, Brisbane.
During spring 2017 we have started a common project to raise students' awareness of emergency care in an international context. Using the web-based tool Padlet the students have been able to present and share their experience and knowledge. As part of this the Centre for Interprofessional Cooperation in Emergency Care (CISE) has been introduced as part of a future common research project.
2. Exchange between Linnaeus University's specialist programme in ambulance care and Bradford University (January 2017)
Two course leaders from Linnaeus University's specialist programme in ambulance care and two supervisors from the regional authority (Region Kronoberg) visited Bradford in England on an Erasmus exchange in January 2017. The main aim of the visit was to establish a cooperation between the universities for our degree programmes in emergency care and ambulance nursing.
We met representatives from the University of Bradford as well as representatives from the local ambulance service and the hospital A & E. We visited the key elements in the whole care chain, from emergency call centre to hospital. We also examined opportunities for student exchange and work placement. The result was that we sent our first ambulance care student for two weeks' field study a few weeks later. The plan is that during spring 2017 we will plan a collaboration between all programme students in ambulance care and their counterparts in England in autumn 2017. They will use online tools to meet and discuss similarities and differences between our educational and health care systems as an integrated part of their studies. Then in spring 2018 we hope to send students on physical exchanges.
We have even initiated discussions about research collaboration between our departments and where CISA, Linnaeus University's Centre for Interprofessional Cooperation in Emergency Care, will take a central role.
Our colleagues in Bradford have also shown interest in how we run ambulance care in Sweden. In England the ambulance crew get vocational training rather than a university degree and they are interested in the fact that we have qualified nurses on ambulances. They have now started masters courses for paramedics and are interested in visiting us in Sweden later in 2017.
Kim Wallin, Department of Health and Life Sciences
Badges - Linnaeus University Summer Academy
Badges for Summer Academy Volunteers 2017
It has always been difficult to recognize and reward students for work that is not covered by the official curriculum. How can the university reward so-called soft skills in a credible manner? How do we recognize students who have helped fellow students of worked in the community? Many studies indicate that employers today look specifically for evidence of students' soft skills like collaborative competence, information skills, critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship. Such skills are not usually evident on formal degree certificates. Today many students receive paper certificates for these soft skills but they are easily lost and are not visible digitally. One answer can be Open Badges.
What are Open Badges?
Badges are often described as micro-credentials and can be awarded after a test or as evidence of competence. Today there is a growing interest among universities and colleges to recognise skills and experience that are seldom included specifically in formal examination certificates. These soft skills such as leadership, initiative, administration of ability to work in international teams are highly valued by employers and should therefore be documented in a credible form. Badges can be one way of doing just this. Attitudes and behaviour that are important to the organisation can be encouraged and rewarded and many organisations already use badges in this way.
The main advantage of badges is that they are saved as digital certificates on assigned websites and can easily be imported to social media and made visible in career sites like LinkedIn.
A badge can show the following:
- Name and information about the awarding institution
- Description of the knowledge, skills and tasks required for receiving the badge
- Information of the context in which the badge has been awarded eg certificate for attending a training activity
- Period for which the badge is valid
Some examples of badges in use: