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CSB Project in its core phase: pilot courses almost finished and students feedback

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

It's June and in the last few months something really unexpected has happened all over the world but our project has gone ahead thanks to the will, commitment and great availability of a great international team composed of 6 universities and a civil society association.

Below is an update on how the implementation of the CSB Pilot Courses is going and the monitoring of feedback from students.

Here below an update of how is going the CSB Pilot Courses implementation by CSB blog editorial staff/JUMP.

COVID 19 outbreak affected everybody's life, nobody was excluded and the CSB (Cultural Studies in Business) project was ongoing when the emergency started.

Like all educational institutions in the world, our partners, consulted through a Google Meet, continued their teaching and online work. The Education and Training sector continued to teach: homeschooling, online lessons, seminars, or rather webinars, platforms of all kinds and completely new work and learning rhythms.

In February 2020 the partners started the most important phase of the project: the development of the Pilot Course entitled "Cultural Studies in Business". According to the initial design of the project each university planned a structured pilot course with a set number of hours, between 40 and 48, in order to assign 6 or 5 ECTS to the participating students.

The original objective of the consortium was to propose a single Pilot Curriculum, therefore a longer learning process, in practice a new university career but, after the first consultations and verification of the different educational missions of each partner, it was decided to start a deep and long term comparison by developing 6 different experimental courses.

La Sapienza University, as leader, decided to divide the course into 2 phases, one between October and December 2019 with 24 hours of lectures in attendance and the second, in the first semester of the following year, innovating, also thanks to the interaction and collaboration with the partners. The 2020 edition had to be more intense and condensed in one month, May 2020 with the title "CSB Pilot Course Covid edition" and the #stayhome message clearly written by the La Sapienza team.

The COVID19 epidemic has also forced students to "live" online lessons and a complete upheaval of their university routine. There have obviously been delays, a re-programming of all activities but also a "new innovation", if we can dare to use a poetic license.

Every university and every single teacher decided to use a platform for online lessons, Google Meet or Zoom were definitely the most used, also giving the possibility of streaming on facebook. Lessons have become the "common good" of the web, with the possibility of participation of teachers from different universities in the pilot courses of colleagues (a very appreciated initiative). The online dimension allowed to overcome geographical and linguistic barriers, more than half of the lessons were in English, which normally would not have happened in presence, or on the basis of "contaminated" documents and presentations prepared by teachers from 6 universities (La Sapienza in Rome, Italy, Euro College in Kumanovo, Northern Republic of Macedonia, VGTU in Vilnius, Lithuania, University of Split, Croatia, Wisdom University College in Tirana, Albania, Universidad de Beira Interior, Portugal).

The concrete level of internationalization of the project contents is experiencing a moment of strong growth as well as the human and professional training of colleagues who today are part of an international team.

The students in isolation, like the teachers, shared a life situation a bit more on par; through computer screens the web entered people's homes overcoming the "privacy settings" in no uncertain terms so we saw kitchen walls, bookcases, balconies, sofas, families moving around inside the house and pets happy to have their owners all to themselves. The teachers were committed to adapting to the new tools and lecturing while reaching and maintaining the relationship with their students.

The pilot courses are almost at the end, like the university year. We are objectively tired.

Teachers have also adopted other methods to evaluate and assign training credits (ECTS). In the case of La Sapienza, students were organized in small groups and carried out a "project work", the same for UBI University; other lecturers gave investigative tasks and gave freedom to deepen topics of interest by developing online presentations for everyone.

At the moment students are filling in a "feedback questionnaire" created by the JUMP association, the only non-university partner, in coordination with the general coordinator, Prof. Maria Cristina Marchetti.

Students are asked to express their opinion and evaluation, but also to give concrete suggestions and feedback for the continuation of the pilot course in a more structured "curriculum" for the future.

At the same time, JUMP is collecting quantitative data to measure how far the project is achieving its objectives also in terms of communication, dissemination and exploitation of results.

Soon online also new pages of the official website of the project which is getting richer every day with new blog articles, almost 100!, with pages on learning mobility, transnational meetings, the team of teachers working together in different countries and in different university systems and the results achieved.

Like the Erasmus Agency, we too have constantly coined and promoted our hashtags #Csberasmusproject and #CulturalStudiesInBusiness which allow us to be tracked on socials and our facebook page is getting stronger and stronger!

Stay tuned then! CULTURAL STUDIES IN BUSINESS moving on! This was our motto before COVID 19, stronger than ever now, after this incredible and unexpected period of our lives.

Article written by Erika Gerardini, in coordination with Prof. Maria Cristina Marchetti, General Coordinator of the project for La Sapienza University of Rome.

Web-designer and responsible for JUMP of the editorial staff, support for management, reporting, dissemination and exploitation of project results

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