,

New project develops problem-based learning in East African Universities

 

Aalto Global Impact led project enhances multidisciplinarity and regional networks.

Increasing collaboration across disciplines and enhancing structured multidisciplinarity are key to advancing problem-based learning (PBL) in East African Universities, according to partners of the PBL East Africa project steered by Aalto Global Impact.

The launch of the three-year PBL East Africa project brought partner universities together for a one week kick-off workshop held at Aalto University at the end of August. The project, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, is a joint initiative of University of Nairobi (Kenya), Makerere University (Uganda), Dar es Salaam University (Tanzania), and Aalto University.

‘Problem-based learning and multidisciplinarity are present in our institutions, but what we are lacking is structured multidisciplinarity. Implementing PBL in a multidisciplinary way during this project will help us cut a pathway from teaching university to innovation university’, explains Dr. Tonny K. Omwansa, Director of University of Nairobi’s Innovation and Incubation Hub C4DLab.

A key goal of the PBL East Africa project is to contribute to the development of sustainable innovation ecosystems by building the capacity of university students and faculty to respond to global challenges. Partners emphasize that in addition to developing multidisciplinary PBL courses and curricula in their universities, building regional networks to support PBL in innovation work is also crucial.

‘If we really want to make an impact at the country level, it is not enough to bring PBL to one institution. We need to reach a point where we become experts and we help others, in all levels of society, to integrate PBL,’ says Dr. Gladness Salema, Deputy Director of University of Dar es Salaam Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre.

Kick-off week included planning of joint courses

Delegations of about six people from each partner university took part in the kick-off week. The week included matching Aalto University courses with East African university partners. Course partners at Aalto include International Design Business Management, Creative Sustainability, Sustainable Global Technologies and Software and Service Engineering. The programme also encompassed expert presentations, team building and visits to Aalto University facilities.

‘Our visit to Design Factory was one of the week’s many highlights. The Design Factory has a very good working model and institutional structure that can prompt us to think how to organise our teaching and learning environment to match the PBL approach’, says Dr. Venny Nakazibwe, Deputy Principal of College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University.

Next Aalto University faculty will travel to the partnering universities to set up the joint courses. East African universities will select the challenges for some 20 Aalto students who will participate in the joint PBL courses to be held during the project.

‘The purpose of the kick-off week was to build a common understanding of the project, initiate the PBL East Africa network and set the planning of future activities on the right track’, says Riina Subra, Manager of PBL East Africa, Aalto Global Impact. ‘As a whole, the week exceeded these goals and the partners departed with clear next steps for launching the first PBL student challenges as early as November.’

More information:
Riina Subra, Senior Manager
Aalto Global Impact
+358 50 4066 251
riina.subra@aalto.fi

PBL website

This post was written by AGI

Recent News

New Aalto University Magazine: special issue on sustainable development

The new Aalto University Magazine is out now! The issue #22 examines solutions for sustainable development – read now online in English or Finnish. The search for food safety If you are interested in Aalto Global Impact’s PBL East Africa project, start directly from page 44 to read what happened when our students and University Read more >

,

Women rebuild villages after the earthquake in Nepal

Aalto’s SGT students joined forces with students from Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM) to study sustainable reconstruction solutions and communication practices in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Kathmandu valley in Nepal. In 2015, more than 8.1 million people were affected and over 605.200 houses destroyed by the earthquake in Nepal, leading Read more >

,

PBL East Africa kicked off in Nairobi Innovation Week

Aalto Global Impact and University of Nairobi hosted an open event with a focus on problem-based learning in East Africa. University of Nairobi’s campus is filled with buzz this week. The fourth Nairobi Innovation Week features dozens of events and 100 pitches of start-ups, among others. The official side-events were kicked off on March 5th. Read more >