Phew what a day!
I got a brisk shower at 5:30am and my homestay host drove me and Jim to the airport to arrive at 6:40am. We hurried through check in and off we went for a whirlwind field trip to DIS Stockholm to visit the new program opened in August and the view the learning environment for the first cohort of 60 students.
We arrived on time and armed with rail tickets surged on the 200kmh train to the center of Stockholm and then on
the metro to the school campus inside the Royal College of Music. The campus was spectacularly contemporary and uplifted the spirits when we walked in. Next we had an orientation and explanation of the new program and the detailing and development of a new program in a new country complete with an inside view of the requirements of setting up a program on time meeting the academic rigor and expected student success experience DIS strives for. This led to a tour of the facility. As expected, all the modern learning facilities faculty and students are accustomed to in the 21st Century were present.
Following the orientation we spent an hour in small groups over lunch discussing the academics and experience with two students (one from UIC) almost all expectations were met. Students can complete their degrees in Stockholm as they can in Copenhagen with credits transferring as they normally do to the student’s home institution.
Once this session wrapped up we were split into 3 groups for special lectures to taste the teaching methods of faculty in Stockholm. I attended the health policy and immigrants in Sweden. The
tutor facilitated a lively discussion between attendees with samples of data and lucid insights and facts from their experience in Sweden. One of the strengths of the DIS faculty is their multicultural insights and teaching experience, as most of have studied and / or taught in two or more countries themselves. Their session used big open questions to elicit insight and progressed the session anticipating e responses from the room. It was a captivating session that we discussed in the hours that followed.
From here we left the campus and traveled 15 minutes by metro to see student accommodation and get a sense of the ease of travel and quality of accommodation. Like the campus we saw that students comfortable and connected and surrounded by academic and social opportunities. Next we returned to the heart of the old city for an hour’s interstellar speed historical and cultural tour on foot before heading back to the airport for a snack, sit down and rapid nap before boarding for Copenhagen.
Wow! A full and fun day with loads of insights and learning.
Tomorrow is equally demanding with sessions beginning at 10am and going until 10pm.
What did I learn today?
I experienced another quality teacher who used limited data to good affect and big open provocative questions to prompt discussion. The pacing and design worked nicely and I got an idea of my classes for next semester.
Academic standards can be held across multiple campuses if the desire by the academic leadership to ensure cross checking and support for each other’s programming is done. Working as an instructional team matters to assuring quality undergraduate education. The team is stronger than the individual. It shows ease folks work as a team.
Not all study abroad programs are the same and a one size fits all approach might not be the best option for all students. Care should be taken to identify the best design for the student profile you intend to educate. The benefit of faculty led programs like mine is that students know what they are getting and who is delivering it, and they explicitly hear the value and benefits before arriving in the country they will be studying in. The value and benefits are not discovered they are experienced.
Off to bed.