Four strategy projects get the go-ahead to start
Henrik Andersson, Senior Lecturer in Caring Science, is one of the initiators of a project on digital learning environments. It is a collaborative project between the Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare and the Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT where they will focus on "gamification" in order to practice difficult conversations in the healthcare and school areas.
“The idea from the beginning came from within various places at the university to create a digital training centre based on digital simulation. What we now want to do is find and develop a digital environment for practicing difficult conversations, which can be difficult to simulate,” said Henrik Andersson.
First, the two Faculties each submitted applications for strategic funding. It turned out that there was a common denominator to build upon, that of difficult conversations, something that are elements in both the healthcare and school areas. This led to the Faculties’ joining forces in a shared project.
“In healthcare, for example, this can mean difficult conversations with patients who must be told that they have a serious illness and will die, or with a relative, and in school, it can mean conversations with a student who may not do what is expected, or with upset parents,” he explained.
Digital role-playing games
Within the project, different avatars will be created. An avatar can represent oneself or other roles and these are to interact with each other. Through digital simulation, students and teachers should be able to be anywhere physically, with one person leading a conversation and one or more other actors participating in the conversation. It is thus about digital role-playing games between different actors.
“It is exciting to collaborate with another Faculty; we have previously talked about getting the teacher education programme into our Clinical Training Centre to train students in different school situations, but at that time, analogue role plays were what we discussed, which requires students and teachers to be there physically. If we can manage this digitally, then you do not need to be on site in Borås,” he said.
He looks forward to the collaboration across Faculty boundaries.
“It’s great that we have different backgrounds and different roles. Not everyone has a doctorate; this type of project also gives lecturers the space to develop ideas. It is the interest in running such a project that is important. The collaboration between these two different Faculties also provides different ways of looking at how to develop things,” he says.
By extension, he can imagine that the police education programme can also have an interest in training around difficult conversations. It's just a matter of finding the forms of communication and interaction.
The four approved projects
Digital learning environments
The Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare and the Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT intend to build a digital learning environment in which students can practice communication and interactions in connection with, among other things, difficult conversations. A digital learning environment means that teaching can be conducted as a "flipped classroom," meaning that students first work at home with different study tasks and then participate in teacher-led reviews with the opportunity for in-depth study, analysis, and task application. The overall goal is to create a digital training centre at the university that can benefit several professional educations. The project is to run over three years.
The Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business wants to invest in giving students broad digital competence in order to increase their competitiveness in the labour market, this by investing in hardware and software as well as competencies in digital tools that benefit product development, production, and communication. By building a lab environment with a focus on digital tools, the idea is to encourage curiosity, problematisation, critical thinking, and personal responsibility. The digital lab environment also opens up possibilities for cross-border collaborations that are both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, with internal and with external stakeholders. The project is to run over three years.
Education has to be a risky business
The purpose of the project, which will be implemented at the Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT, is to develop an educational environment that in a reflective and problematising way challenges teacher educators' own view of knowledge, our approach to students' knowledge, and students' own views on knowledge. The project will offer opportunities to create a knowledgeable learning environment with great trust and respect between teachers and students, and students will to a greater extent be given the opportunity to take responsibility in a more challenging learning environment and where students do not stop at what is experienced as “the teacher know the right answer,” rather learning to think outside the box. The project will begin in the autumn of 2021 and is to run for three years.
Internationalisation at home
At present, it is mainly those who participate in various mobility activities that are reached by the university's internationalisation work, thus a mere fraction of the university’s students and employees. A systematic effort to deepen awareness of diversity and multicultural aspects and to take advantage of the international and intercultural competencies that already exist at the university is lacking today. Therefore, the Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business intends to develop a concept – internationalisation at home – which will build on and develop an international "mindset" among students and staff, as well as stimulating learning processes that equip us to operate in a globalised world. The goal is to create an organisation and guidelines for being able to integrate internationalisation into our everyday work by developing methods for systematically providing support to employees who want to work in an international setting. The project starts in 2022 and is to run for two years.
Each year, the Vice-Chancellor has strategic funding available, in accordance with a decision from the Governing Board of the University of Borås. The purpose of these funds is to be able to develop the university according to established goals and strategies.
Criteria for being awarded strategic funding, as stated in the call for projects within the university’s overall education and research strategies, are that the project must be:
- In line with at least one of the strategies and linked to the university's goals
- Able to be scaled up within the university
- Developmental (outside regular university operations)
A total of 14 applications were received in the spring of 2021.
Solveig Klug /Translation: Eva Medin