PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING in East Africa brings together multidisciplinary student teams from four universities to develop sustainable solutions to community challenges in 2017–2020.

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PBL East Africa is a joint initiative between University of Dar es Salaam, University of Nairobi, Makerere University and Aalto University. Taking place in 2017–2020, the project engages faculty, students and external partners in the four countries to work on sustainable innovation challenges in East Africa. As a whole, the project operates as a piloting platform for the universities to test, share and refine best practices in problem-based education – while also building regional and global networks in an effort to share knowledge and deepen innovation capabilities in East Africa and beyond.

Read more about the project from this news article.



Examples of PBL challenges at Aalto University


Team Ahlström

IDBM | 2015



Team UNICEF

IDBM | 2015



Courses

CREATIVE SUSTAINABILITY CAPSTONE COURSE

CS Capstone Course is part of Aalto University’s multidisciplinary Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme. The course brings together student teams to find creative solutions to client organisations’ real-life social and environmental challenges. The team members are expected to work intensively together during the course and they regularly meet the representatives of the client organisations. There will also be tutorial sessions to guide the groups during the projects. In the end, the class will come together for presenting the project plans and outcomes.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • Utilising the problem-solving and teamwok skills of the whole CS Master’s Programme
  • Analysing and creating solutions for real-world sustainability challenges in business
  • Understanding different views of business stakeholders
TEACHING METHODS
  • Individual project work, supported by the client representative and a faculty tutor
  • Evaluation of the business case and relevant sustainability aspects
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams
FINAL OUTCOME
  • Depends on the case, e.g. an idea bank, concept, prototype or business model innovation
  • Oral presentation both for the class and the client organisation
  • Written report depending on the needs of the client
Contact

Prof. Armi Temmes
School of Business
armi.temmes@aalto.fi

Prof. Mikko Jalas
School of Arts, Design and Architecture
mikko.jalas@aalto.fi

Dr. Jarkko Levänen
School of Business
(especially projects related to global development) jarkko.levanen@aalto.fi



INTERNATIONAL DESIGN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY PROJECT

The IDBM Industry Project is a context-based learning platform for students in Aalto University’s multidisciplinary IDBM Master’s Programme. The project is assigned by an industrial/business partner and runs through most of the academic year. In the project, student teams solve real-life problems related to the development activities of partners’ business. The project teams are multicultural and represent all three IDBM fields: business, design and technology.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • Mastering key frameworks and tools in managing the design thinking process and technology-intensive business initiatives
  • Using design approach in product, service and business development
  • Applying creative problem-solving and design research in the project context
TEACHING METHODS
  • Co-creation
  • Multicultural and multidisciplinary teamwork
  • Hands-on, practice-based learning
  • Academic mentoring
  • Supporting lectures, seminars and workshops
FINAL OUTCOME
  • Concept proposal of a new product, service or business model
  • Reports, presentations and other project related documentation
Contact

Programme Manager
M.Sc. Anna-Mari Saari
anna-mari.saari@aalto.fi

Professor in Charge
Prof. Niina Nurmi
niina.nurmi@aalto.fi



SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO COURSE

SGT is a co-learning studio course for Master’s and PhD students at Aalto University. During the course students form multidisciplinary teams to carry out projects linked to global development challenges. Assignments are implemented with partners from academia, industries, governmental and civil society organisations and communities in developing countries.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • Understanding the role of sustainability and technology in development
  • Integrating different disciplines and diverse skills (technology, science, design, architecture & business)
  • Implementing challenge-based projects
TEACHING METHODS
  • Multidisciplinary and multicultural teamwork
  • Human-centered design and design thinking
  • Project management and planning with partners
  • Field work, expert meetings, workshops & mentoring
FINAL OUTCOME
  • Students design a solution based on the needs of the case partner
  • Short-term outputs can take many forms (a manual, technical report, evaluation, game, mobile app or other)
  • Long-term collaborations can lead to project partnerships or product implementation
Contact

Programme Coordinator
M.Sc. Matleena Muhonen
matleena.muhonen@aalto.fi

Professor in Charge
Prof. Olli Varis
olli.varis@aalto.fi



DIGITAL SERVICES FOR SUSTAINABILITY
- Special course on software and service engineering

Digital Services for Sustainability is a special course designed to be completed in cooperation with other student projects in the PBL East Africa programme. During the course, students will work as experts, helping other students to consider the effects of digitalisation and address the design of digital services for different audiences including informal and underserved communities. The students learn to work with different kinds of organisations and understand the possibilities and restrictions different contexts pose for digital service design.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • Understanding the role of digital products in sustainable development
  • Defining and specifying user requirements
  • Modelling and prototyping interactive digital services
  • Communicating in multidisciplinary teams
TEACHING METHODS
  • Multidisciplinary and multicultural teamwork
  • Individual project work
  • Seminar discussions supported by academic tutoring
  • Hands-on prototype development
  • Interacting with stakeholders
FINAL OUTCOME
  • Students design a solution based on the needs of the case partner
  • Short-term outputs can take many forms (a manual, technical report, evaluation, game, mobile app or other)
  • Long-term collaborations can lead to project partnerships or product implementation
Contact

M.Sc. (Tech.) Pietari Keskinen
pietari.keskinen@aalto.fi

Prof. Marko Nieminen
marko.nieminen@aalto.fi



The project is funded by the HEI ICI Programme by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and facilitated by Aalto Global Impact, a home to Aalto University’s societal impact initiatives.


Riina Subra
Senior Manager, Aalto Global Impact
riina.subra@aalto.fi

Vilma Hämäläinen
Project Specialist, Aalto Global Impact
vilma.hamalainen@aalto.fi