Colibri: An International Blended Learning Experience based on Real-World Problems

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Pedersen J. M., KURAN M. Ş., Frick J., Mank L.

International Symposium on Project Approaches in Engineering Education (PAEE) – Active Learning in Engineering Education Workshop (ALE) ’16, Guiaraes, Portugal, 6 - 08 July 2016, pp.1-10

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Guiaraes
  • Country: Portugal
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


Colibri is a European project funded by Erasmus+, where seven universities, a governmental organisation and two enterprises work together and explore new and innovative approaches to teaching. As part of the project we offer a joint course during the spring semester which was followed by 30 students in 2015. It contains both course and project activities. In this paper we describe our experiences from the project work, from the initial formulation of the project problems by the companies, over the organisation of the seminars and virtual collaboration phase to the final exams.

The whole course was organised as follows: First there was a virtual kick-off meeting for all students and teachers. This was followed by a phase where students studied different modules mainly online. Each student choses an individual combination of modules that fits his/her background while also supporting the later project work. After having followed the online modules, the students and teachers all meet physically for a week in Istanbul to finalize the course modules and begin working on real life projects that were provided by the enterprises. Then there was a period of virtual collaboration in the groups. In a final seminar in Riga everyone met to finalize the projects, prepare for presentations/exams, and to conduct examinations.

Overall, the project was successful and received positive evaluations from the students, particularly regarding the international and interdisciplinary dimensions. On the other hand, we also learned how important it is to facilitate the collaboration, group work, and project planning during the first physical seminar. We found that it is both challenging and important to be very explicit about what exactly is expected from the students, as both students and supervisors have differing understandings of what a project is. Discussing the learning objectives with the students to obtain a common understanding can be a useful tool.