Virtual mobility for students in the summer semester 2020
International Case Study “Mechatronic System Engineering”
Globalisation and the trend towards an international division of labour require university education to prepare students for an international career. In the course of the project ENGINE, funded by the City of Vienna, an international case study has been conducted for the first time in the summer semester 2020. With the help of virtual mobility, this case study conveyed skills in the field of international project management and interdisciplinary cooperation.
140 students from 26 nations
In addition to students of the 4th semester of the UAS Technikum Wien Bachelor's degree programme Mechatronics/Robotics, students from the partner universities Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia), National Formosa University (Taiwan), University of Vienna and University of Lodz (Poland) participated in the case study. Thanks to the participation of numerous students from the ERASMUS programme, participants from a total of 26 nations were able to work together, studying not only technical subjects but also management and business studies.
During the case study the international and interdisciplinary groups had two weeks to work together on technical and economic tasks. At the end, they presented their results in very interesting online presentations to the internationally distributed professors. The students were faced with numerous challenges that could not or only with great difficulty be reproduced in local classes. In addition to establishing communication channels with previously unknown people in a foreign language, the students had to work on interdisciplinary tasks and coordinate appointments across several time zones. Cultural differences as well as different views due to varying educational backgrounds showed the students typical problems in geographically distributed and interdisciplinary project teams.
Excellent ratings for the innovative case study concept
85% of participants said that this case study was a valuable experience for them and three out of four respondents stated that they liked the international teamwork. Nearly 80% of participants believe that the case study increased their international experience and feel better prepared for their working life. In the feedback the students were also asked what was most important that they had learned in the case study. The evaluation clearly shows that the participants have recognised the difficulties that can arise when working in international, interdisciplinary and geographically distributed teams and that this experience has better prepared them for their international careers.
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What students say about the case study
“I feel much more confident speaking in English now. We had many meetings in English, and at the beginning I was shy, but now I feel much better.”
“To coordinate 4 People from different countries is really hard. Communication is soooo important”
“Working with people from other countries is very enriching and you learn a lot from them and how they solve things.”
“Talking in English with strangers and learning to set meetings were the most valuable things I learned.”
“Communication was a lot of fun. Just talk - it is not a problem if you sometimes make mistakes”
“Working with other students that have different backgrounds is interesting. It helps us to develop delegation skills, listen to other opinions and come to the best solution in the end.”
What professors say about the case study
Natalia Kryvinska, Professor at University of Vienna, Bratislava und Lodz
“The project is very actual because of its virtualization of an international cooperation, which in turn makes it possible an inter-university learning platform for theoretical as well as practical classes. We planned ENGINE far before Corona started. And as a result, we were a few steps ahead of the situation. The Corona only confirmed that we have been moving into the right direction, which in turn motivate us to expand the ENGINE platform with further classes and usage models.”
Jeffrey Mao, Professor at National Formosa University Taiwan
“A Cross-disciplinary training on the technical side, a realistic practice on the management side, an inter-cultural collaboration over the world, plus a fluent process with the administrative team in UASTW - valuable, challenging and great experiences for both me as a lecturer and our students!”
Horst Orsolits, Professor at UAS Technikum Wien
„By the necessary collaboration between international students of different countries as well as technical and non-technical universities in order to solve more or less complex tasks as an online team our students experienced the challenges and necessities to succeed in an international project thanks to the ENGINE Case Study.”