Reflections by the Lithuanian Team of VGTU on participating in the CSB project
Learning Mobilities experience
Innovation presented during the Training Week in Rome in March 2019 has underlined the importance of classical theories, especially the Marxist one, for contemporary Cultural Studies in Business. It is a very unusual attitude for the biggest part of the European academic world.
Example of innovative practices were tasks of urban architecture for students of Business and painting of houses as part of Cultural Studies, a very progressive and interesting task.
Intercultural communication is important in Business Studies in the today’s global word. During the International Project Meetings and Seminars, we gained a lot of knowledge and shared the experience of how to teach international teams of students as well as local audience.
Having participated in the Learning Mobility in Rome (training week at Sapienza Univerisity - Italy - March 2019) and in the Learning Mobility in Covilhã (UBI - Portugal - November 2019), we consider satisfactory our overall experience. The project brings together scholars and practitioners from different fields and this encourages us to learn from each other, as well as to get more familiar with the various subject matters, and more important, to get to know different teaching practices, methods and so on.
In addition, as continuity of the project is important, it was useful to participate more than once; we gained the better sense not only of the project as a whole but as well as we learnt more about personal goals of each participant. Undoubtedly, most of us had and still have a very different understanding of what are the Cultural Studies in Business and it is still ongoing the dialogue for a future meeting. The project would benefit meetings among professors from Business and Economics fields and would get familiar at least with the main fields of the Cultural Studies. Regarding to the syllabus, two main questions have been raised and discussed: 1) To which extend do we distinguish Business and Economics?
2) Do we consider Cultural Studies as a supplement to business (eg. How can it serve the business?) or do we consider it as an important and necessary component of the overall university education?
At Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), the addressees have been other professors and mostly postgraduate students. At UBI of Covilhã (Portugal), lectures have been given to Master students. As a result, the audience has been very different. In general, we think it is important for students to participate in international events, scientific conferences, to see professors from other countries and universities teaching, especially if it is in their field of study. This could be more encouraged but also, it should not interrupt the regular studies at university.
During the Learning Mobilities we noted down at least two items of good experience that could be implemented in studies and research activities in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) as studies and research innovations.
Firstly, events were open to the students, as the interdisciplinary Master Classes (in the case of UBI).
Secondly, although events took place in certain faculties, they were open for the students from all the faculties of the University. Therefore, the wide audience of students had an exceptional possibility to get acquainted with the most recent achievements in science and study methods as well as to become the equivalent partners of interdisciplinary scientific discussions. We think that such a practice could be applied to the similar events in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University; for example, students of VGTU could be encouraged to participate in scientific conferences; also the Learning Mobilities events (both in the frames of Erasmus + and in projects of that type) could be organized as a Master class for the VGTU students.
Thirdly, we enjoyed all the lectures and papers of participants of the event; for example, Vytis Valatka was impressed by the lecture of Prof. Enriko Ceko (from Wisdom University College, Albania). His lecture consisted of 2 parts: the first one was an interactive task involved volunteers (both students and professors); the second part was the analysis of the task’s solution process followed with the conclusions that we were comprehensively and elegantly applied to the topic of the lecture, namely, "the process of scientific research".
We think that such a format could be successfully applied to some lectures of Learning Mobilities events and even to some papers of scientific conferences of VGTU. The reason is that such a format is very interactive, interdisciplinary and comprehensible as well as bringing much joy and fun to the participants thanks to the element of gamification.
All professors and all students worked in close cooperation during the Learning Mobilities Events of CSB. For example, UBI were involved in highly professional Master Classes of best practice that could be implemented in educational and scientific activities in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) as educational and scientific innovations. We were extremely impressed with the open mind Skype Conference presentation by a very charming entrepreneur from Brazil, Dominique Magihaes, about her experience “to be who you want to be” and a self-sufficient analysis she gave to the audience. In our opinion this is the “must have” at any University, instead of giving all students some well-known information about all professional experience without regards to creative inspiration of finding themselves. We would like to mention also the lecture given by Prof. Ljubisha Petrusevski (from Eurocollege of Kumanovo – Republic of North Macedonia). His lecture was dedicated to the novel approach of “lost and find in the city” and this topic is very important nowadays for the very young and lifelong learners. We used to use this practice till pandemic outbreak; it was possible to get lost in space with students and find the way back to the university. We suppose to create some videos with creative industry about getting lost and finding in the city with future use for distance learning.
The Training Weeks at Partner Universities of the Cultural Studies in Business project gave a wider scope of the teaching subject and showed various interconnections. Seeing other professors teaching is one of the best ways to improve educational competences. This could be introduced in universities (instead of, or as a supplement to “learning” educational competences).
Teaching Humanities is a challenge in contemporary universities as they are trained to professional training rather than giving the wider scope of a ‘universal’ knowledge. Therefore, the project is important, especially if we stress the importance of Cultural Studies and Humanities overall. To find the right way how to teach students it has always been a challenge. This project brings together various teaching subjects and it helps to underline the goal of Cultural Studies and to present it to students.
In our classes we try not only to introduce students the main fields of Cultural Studies but to address contemporary issues, to encourage them to apply it to their experience and work. From CSB colleagues we learnt some useful approaches and how to do it.
In our classes we are practicing different teaching methods, some of which were applied in Covilhã and in Rome (class activities, media, games and theory together). Not to mention that what is out of classes activities, enabled by this project, were of the utmost importance (getting to know local problems, local views, learning about cultural and history etc.).
We updated our study modules and we tested them during the CSB project module to our students of Entertainment Business.
Because of the pandemic, teaching experience is rather different. As online teaching is much mediated and has less spontaneity, some teaching methods can be hardly applied or must be modified. This is the main challenge at the moment.
written by the Lithuanian Professors from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius, Lithuania), participants in the Learning Mobilities in Rome (Italy) and Covilhã (Portugal) on behalf of the Erasmus Plus K203 Project "Cultural Studies in Business".