Be congruent and request the same from the professional field partners
Several cases have demonstrated that co-creation requires a different mindset on the part of teachers: if you wish to teach students to co-create, you must also be prepared yourself to enter into a co-creative process of exploration, in which you act as a fellow participant rather than as an expert. This may involve both participation at the micro level and participation at the meso level (cf. policy in place within the programme/higher education establishment/entity and student’s learning process) It is important in this respect to clearly explain the steps you are taking in the co-creation process, in order for the students to understand the reasons why. Adopting such a mindset can pose a challenge for teachers.
In addition to this mindset and the aforementioned competencies, /edit-systemwide_analyses_cocreation/3_1_visie_en_beleidthe participants to the system-wide analysis listed the following competencies as relevant to teachers aiming to teach students to co-create: being able to coach, encouraging informal learning, project management, being able to create a safe context (as an element of facilitating), being able to use alternative forms of evaluation (see below), networking, producing win-win situations. Higher education establishments that want to teach their students to co-create may address such competencies in their recruitment, staff, and professional development policies.
Embarking on a co-creative process of exploration with students may also require a mind switch on the part of the professional field partners. In many cases, they will need to adopt a more vulnerable attitude than they would in, e.g., traditional work placements. Checking in advance whether the professional field partners understand what co-creation involves, whether they appreciate its value, what scope of responsibility will be feasible for them, and whether they need support from the higher education establishment in learning how to co-create may help to achieve a co-creation process that is instructive for all the participants.
Odisee International Sustainable Management Summer School:
Multi-disciplinary teams of (international) company managers, NGO managers, and (international) students at various educational levels (including working students) formulate sustainable solutions and recommendations to actual wicked problems submitted by businesses. Each summer, some ten international teachers provide guest lectures and workshops. The companies and the teachers are coached by the organising core team. The teachers are encouraged, for example, to refrain from presenting themselves as experts and instead to seek solutions together with the students and the companies involved.
Odisee #fab4+1 project week:
Co-creative development of a project week, involving workshops that enable pupils in secondary year one to sample the four subject clusters and to discover their talents in relation to the clusters. The workshops were developed and presented at four schools by a mixed team of students and teachers from the schools. All the partners contributed to the process from an equal position. Rather than in a trainee capacity, the students collaborated as colleagues whilst teachers did not take on the role of experts responsible for setting the course. The project week involved a collective process of exploration, underpinned by the ambition of having the pupils choose an appropriate subject cluster.
In addition, the participants indicated that occasionally, some expectation management will be required among the professional field partners (for example, expect a prototype rather than a finished product; take into account that the students are still learning).
CASE 1: INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT ODISEE
CASE 2: #fab4+1 ODISEE
MODEL & SCAN
LEES MEER OVER FACTOREN VOOR INNOVATIE & SUCCESVOLLE COCREATIE
MEERWAARDE PER GROEP BELANGHEBBENDEN
#fab4+1 - Co-creation between Odisee University of Applied Sciences and four secondary schools, aimed at having pupils discover their talents
PARTNERS: ODISEE HOGESCHOOL, Technisch Instituut Don Bosco, Lutgardiscollege, Mater Dei-Instituut, Sint-Jozefscollege
A group of students enrolled in the Bachelor of Secondary Education programme in Brussels has organised, in a co-creation process with four Brussels secondary schools, the #fab4+1 project week for 300 pupils. Their aim was to collectively encourage pupils in secondary year one to choose a subject cluster that chimes with their talents. By developing the project week and carrying out the activities together, the teachers and students have become acquainted with each other’s educational approach and the various cultures in place at the participating schools. This close collaboration has opened up multiple opportunities for exchange and informal learning, which has made it an enriching experience for all the participants. Rather than in a trainee capacity, the students participated in the capacity of co-worker, which made a strong appeal to their sense of ownership. The project week has fully immersed them in the school procedures, which has afforded them more learning opportunities than they would have during work placement.
The reason for the development of this project week was the reform of secondary education in Flanders, requiring first-year pupils to make a broad choice regarding a particular subject cluster. By way of workshops, the project week enabled the pupils to sample the subject clusters of Economics & Organisation, Society & Welfare, Language & Culture, and STEM, thus discovering their talents in relation to those fields of study. For example, the schedule featured several creative labs to explore the concept of sustainability. Workshops focused on Greek, French or English enabled the pupils to sample different languages. Other workshops revolved around robotics and STEM. In other sessions, pupils explored their own body language and identity.
The workshops were developed and presented at four schools by a mixed team of students and teachers from the various schools. Third-stage pupils were also involved in teaching the robotics workshops. Each workshop was attended by the class teacher of the participating pupils.
The success of the project week can be attributed to the fact that it was prompted by an actual need in the professional field, boasted a strong bond of trust, and was developed in co-creation:
- The management teams of the four schools had already contacted one another prior to involving Odisee UAS and found one another in the joint ambition to provide pupils with a better perspective of their options. They chose to join forces with Odisee because of their bond of trust of many years’ standing with the programme involved, and because of their positive experience with work placements. The teacher has indicated Odisee’s openness and keen eye to the needs of (Brussels) schools as the entrance gate to this project. She has testified that the co-creation process has grown organically yet steadily, based on the bond of trust.
- From the very start of the project, all the parties pursued a win-win situation. All the partners contributed on an equal footing.
- The students participated in the capacity f co-worker rather than trainee; the teachers did not assume the role of expert responsible for setting the course. The project involved a cllective searching process based n the ambition of having the pupils make apprpriate choices regarding the subject clusters.
- The schols went to a great deal of trouble to receive the students as co-workers, for example, by giving them a tour to get to know the various schools and by setting up collective informal meetings. Rather than being delegated separate minor tasks, the students participated in the development team as fully-fledged members.
- The need t explore an innovative concept and the cross-school collaboration required both the students and the teachers to step out of their comfort zone.
- Virtually all the participants perated on a basis of intrinsic mtivation, cnvinced that the project would produce added value for the pupils and learning opportunities for all the participants. This has generated a positive energy in the collaboration.
After thorough preparations spanning a year and a half, the project week took place in February 2020. The students were involved from the start of the academic year 2019-2020.
video featuring overview of the schedule, participating students and teachers
- Jointly developing instructional materials and workshops, and jointly teaching, familiarised the teachers and the students with each other’s educational approaches, while concurrently becoming acquainted with different school cultures. This has broadened the horizon of all the participants.
- Furthermore, the students and the teachers learned to differentiate and deal with diverse circumstances and school cultures, as the workshops were taught at different schools and involved different participants (e.g., general secondary education versus technical secondary education, differences in school accommodations, differences in school culture).
- Teachers and students spent a great deal of time together (the project featured, e.g., an introductory tour of the four schools and a collective meal), which provided many opportunities for exchange and informal learning. The work placement coordinator has identified this as the pre-eminent strength of the project.
- The teachers passed on their experience to the students (e.g., what activity is feasible in what context), whilst the students gained more co-developing and co-teaching skills.
- The students collaborated closely in the schools’ day to day operations, which immersed them more fully in the routines. This created learning opportunities that work placements generally do not involve (e.g., participating in difficult meetings with parents, involving parents in the project week).
- The project week has motivated the students to assume ownership: the authentic situation and the challenge to make the project week a success ensured that they continually adapted in order for the project week to achieve its goal.
- Some of the students lived at a considerable distance from the schools. In order to enable such students to participate in the project week without mobility issues, the schools offered them a stay in a nearby youth hostel. The ability to “live together” enhanced the intensity of the collaboration among the students and provided an added incentive to participate.
- Several students were subsequently offered jobs by the schools involved.
Being able to offer students learning opportunities that do not arise during a standard work placement (cf. under “Added value for students”).
Reinforcing the network with the schools involved. The project has boosted their willingness to provide work placement positions.
The professional field
- Cf. the first three bullets under “Added value for students”.
- More manpower at the schools for the realisation of the workshops.
- The students came to know the Brussels schools as an attractive work environment. This boosts the probability of their wanting to work there.
- The teachers were provided with fresh, creative ideas from the students and their supervisors participating in the project week.
- The presence of class teachers during the workshops created a ripple effect. Several of them also became interested in participating in #fab4+1.
- The pupils become aware of their talents;
- It increases the probability of the pupils making more confident study choices later on;
- The pupils become acquainted with the curricula offered by the four schools; this perspective enables them to make more targeted study choices.
Challenges & opportunities
- Fitting the project into the Bachelor of Secondary Education curriculum required some effort. In 2019-2020, the project replaced part of the regular work placement; in 2021-2022, it will be accommodated in the alternative work placement track.
- The slight misalignment between the academic year calendar and the school year calendar posed something of a challenge in terms of scheduling time for collaboration.
- In a subsequent edition, Odisee would like to involve some subject teachers. These teachers will need to be aware of the fact that they are not participating as steering experts but rather as co-creators.
Bachelor of Secondary Education
Katrin De Bisschop, Work Placement Coordinator, email@example.com
Bart De Nul, Programme Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable Management International Summer School: International and multi-disciplinary teams of students, business manager, and NGO managers formulating sustainable solutions to current business cases.
PARTNERS: ODISEE HOGESCHOOL, HoGent University of Applied Sciences and Arts, KULeuven University, Rosto Solidári, Supported by VLIR-UOS
The Sustainable Management International Summer School rallies the business community, NGO managers, and students to raise their awareness of the added value of sustainable management and enable them to acquire competencies aimed at converting sustainable ideas into relevant and viable business initiatives.
In this Summer School, multi-disciplinary teams of business managers, NGO managers, and students from Flanders and other countries all over the world formulate sustainable solutions and recommendations regarding current business cases for which the companies and organisations concerned are unable to find a solution (wicked problems). The collaboration involves formal, non-formal, and informal learning processes. By reference to a range of methodologies and tools, the students systematically map out a sustainability case; they review and test realistic future scenarios, on which they reflect in concert with the companies at several moments in time. At the end of the Summer School, they not only present solutions and recommendations regarding their case, but also provide a self-reflection report regarding their growth in five sustainability competencies.
The first edition of the Sustainable Management International Summer School ensued from the HECOS FOR ETHICS (Higher Education and CompanieS Fostering ETHICal Skills) Erasmus+ project. The ninth edition is scheduled for 2021. Two editions have been set up abroad (Ecuador and Colombia). The founding core team of three teachers from Flanders (Odisee), Sweden, and Portugal is responsible for the organisation of the Summer School.
In this Summer School (3 ECTS credits), multi-disciplinary teams of (international) business managers, NGO managers, and (international) students formulate sustainable solutions and recommendations regarding current business cases for which the companies and organisations concerned are unable to find a solution (wicked problems).
The goal is for the participants, and in particular the students, to learn to understand the impact of sustainable management and to raise their awareness of its added value. They will discover opportunities and challenges within sustainable management, as well as new instruments and approaches. They will acquire five sustainability competencies, viz. systems thinking, strategic thinking, anticipating, normative competencies, and inter-personal competencies (selected on the basis of Wiek et al., 2011), in order to be able to formulate solutions and recommendations that bear application in actual companies and NGOs. The inter-personal competencies also include gaining co-creation skills. After all, solutions to wicked problems call for harnessing collective intelligence, combining a range of perspectives and forms of expertise.
Every year, the Summer School targets a different theme. Initially, these themes involved aspects of sustainable management (e.g., sustainable use of raw materials, encouraging customers to purchase sustainable products). With effect from 2019, the focus is on a specific product (such as coffee, chocolate, bananas et cetera).
The group of participants is highly diverse. In addition to Odisee, the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students come from various other universities and colleges across the world. Some of the students have already embarked on a professional career. The managers come from both commercial companies and NGOs (e.g., commercial coffee growers, coffee distributing NGOs, chocolate manufacturers…) from various countries and various stages in the chain.
The curriculum comprises a well-balanced mix of non-formal, formal, and informal learning, in a blended format. The students have two days to prepare via assignments forwarded by the teachers (literature study, MOOC on sustainable management, self-evaluation of their sustainability competencies). Subsequently, they physically meet for five days (see schedule below). The students familiarise themselves with the cases through a visit to the companies concerned. They attend several guest lectures in which they become acquainted with methodologies and tools that enable them to systematically map their case and to formulate and test realistic future scenarios. They apply these instruments to their case and review their progress with the companies and organisations at several moments in time, via email and by telephone. They also learn by participating in social activities relating to sustainability. At the end of the five days, they present their solution to the companies and organisations concerned and engage in a pertinent dialogue. The final days are spent on the written elaboration of their recommendations to the companies and on a self-reflection based on self-assessment and peer assessment tools. The students are assessed on the basis of permanent evaluation, their recommendations, and their self-reflection. The companies are also involved in the evaluation of the students.
The students work on the cases in teams that are composed by the core team. In addition to complementary forms of expertise among the students, the core team takes account of students’ values. Prior to admission, the students take a value test (moral DNA). They are paired with participants whose values are complementary. As a result, the co-creation process in the teams is challenging, yet also highly informative.
The team of teachers is international (Colombia, Finland, Spain, …). In each edition of the Summer School, ten teachers are involved to provide guest lectures and workshops. To this end, they are coached by the core team.
The teachers provide the students with group coaching whilst mapping out their sustainability case and elaborating a solution. Some of the teachers are present for the entire duration of the Summer School, for the purpose of providing such coaching. The teachers providing a guest lecture, e.g., on a methodology or tool, will also remain present to coach the students in its application. It is important in this respect that rather than assuming the role of expert, the teachers will join the students and the companies concerned in a co-participant capacity to collectively explore solutions. The companies are also encouraged to refrain from adopting an excessively steering attitude.
The students broaden their perspective and learn to deal with (cultural) differences by working in multi-disciplinary, international, multi-cultural teams comprising participants from various educational levels and various companies and organisations. They learn from each other’s expertise.
The actual cases that provide opportunities to foster sustainability have a highly motivating effect.
The teachers also step out of their comfort zone, in particular because they are challenged to assume the roles of coaches and co-participants (letting go of hierarchy, operating on the basis of equality, joining students and companies in an exploratory process whose outcome is uncertain).
Bart Henssen, representing Odisee in the organising core team, also heads the research department of the Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CenSe).
He and the CenSe staff have compiled a master class on the basis of the Summer School, which they are also offering to companies. The master classes have profited from the Summer School’s strong emphasis on optimisation of the methodologies.
Furthermore, the Summer School has prompted CenSe to join forces with a postdoc researcher, who will elaborate a test aimed at gauging sustainability competencies and attitudes in a scientifically substantiated manner.
The Summer School has given impetus to the further integration of sustainability into the curricula of the Odisee Business Administration programmes (e.g., the project week focused on sustainable marketing in business management, the week of sustainability in office management).
The professional field
The companies gain a broader perspective of the issue they are facing and thus expand their knowledge of sustainable management. In many cases, the answers that the students come up with are more diverse and less obvious than the companies expect.
Furthermore, the companies appreciate the opportunity to exchange views with peers, also because since 2019, the cases have pertained to the same product. Commercial companies and NGOs acknowledge that they are facing similar issues and can challenge each other in this respect.
Challenges & opportunities
- The Summer School teaches students to systematically map out cases and review the issues from various perspectives, before formulating recommendations. First distancing oneself requires adjustment, not only on the part of the participating students, but also on the part of the companies and teachers participating for the first time. Occasionally, students who have already embarked on a professional career are slightly reluctant in this respect, as their professional environment has already moulded them to quickly look for solutions. At times, more coaching is required to encourage them to take a different view of the cases.
- Participation by students from various educational levels renders the Summer School interesting, yet also calls for differentiation, in order to ensure sufficient learning opportunities for all.
- Considerable adjustment is required from teachers, who are not used to assuming the role of coach and co-participant. Skills and attitudes that the teachers need to command include: ability to coach, promoting informal learning, permanent evaluation, adopting a humble attitude. This calls for a particular mindset. Some support was needed in this respect, inter alia with respect to the Latin American teachers who usually entertain a different, more hierarchical relation with their students.
- In a Summer School focused on sustainability, every detail must tally. One cannot preach sustainability without practising the same (e.g., meals, transfers to other locations during the Summer School).
- It is important to provide companies with an indication of what they can expect.
- At the start of the Summer School, the proper tools to support the students in strategic thinking, future thinking, systems thinking, et cetera were not yet available. The organising team has worked hard on collecting and optimising such tools. Every edition, this work is continued.
In addition to attending the Sustainable Management International Summer School as an independent programme (3 ECTS credits), students can also enrol in this School as an elective subject within the Bachelor of Business Management programme (in Dutch) or the Bachelor of Business Management programme with a major in Marketing (in English) provided by Odisee. KULeuven and HoGent students thus qualify for a partial exemption of 3 ECTS credits.
Bart Henssen, email@example.com