M. Gaisch, A. De Arruda Camara - Massidea-A Cross-cultural Student Project - Cross-Cultural Conference 2013, Steyr, Österreich, 2013, pp. 169-179
The higher education landscape has been significantly affected by the process of transformation from industrial societies to knowledge societies where social realities are being shaped by knowledge-based processes and reflective enlightenment (Pasternack, 2005). As a consequence, emphasis of higher education has been gradually shifted, highlighting transmission and acquisition of key competencies and multi-functional skills as major elements of an academic education. What is more, higher education is no longer framed by local environments alone, but is becoming increasingly interconnected which means that knowledge of foreign languages, intercultural competence and multi-functional skills will soon become integral parts of university education.
This paper sets out to provide insight into a student project carried out between Laurea University (Finland) and University of Upper Austria to provide an open innovation community for sharing challenges, ideas and visions within the context of Higher Education. A student group of nine Austrian software engineering students was asked to implement a second version of the open innovation platform Massidea. Two Finnish lecturers took the role of the client, however, providing only abstract ideas and no clear guidelines for the student, leaving them to take the lead. The team was complemented by three Finnish students who contributed to the project in terms of technical assistance.
Given that this challenging project placed multiple demands on the students on either side in terms of linguistic and intercultural skills, technical expertise and most importantly project-based teaching methods, this study explored how the students coped with this unusual and unfamiliar setting.
The paper concludes with a brief summary of the main findings which should serve as an impulse for further and more detailed exploration into this research field.