Youth on the move – enhancing the performance of education systems and reinforcing the international attractiveness of Europe's higher education – is one of the flagship initiatives of the Euro 2020 strategy addressing one of its main targets focused on raising the employment rate. The Multinational Undergraduate Team Work project (MUTW), focused on improving students' employability, one of the main priorities of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for the current decade (2010 to 2020), matches these concerns. The MUTW paradigm creates a setting that is a unique cradle to forge students' soft skills, such as, team work and communication in an international setting.
The concept behind MUTW is focused on the design of innovative instruction paradigms that might improve students' soft skills without the need to incur in expensive and extensive curricula changes.
The plan to setup this concept was devised in two distinct and complementary phases. The Multilateral Erasmus project supporting MUTW, funded by the EU between September 2009 and December 2011, was just the required kick-off to bring this concept alive and constituted the first phase. The second phase, starting in September 2011, builds on top of the outcomes of the first phase. The ambitious goal of MUTW is not limited to the first phase described in this book. We are proceeding from the current standing point towards a dynamic target aiming to provide our undergraduate students with the most adequate tools to improve their employability.
MUTW is also the name of the capstone project course unit deployed during the multilateral Erasmus project with the same designation. During the first phase we have ran two editions of the MUTW course unit, involving 44 students from 11 institutions Europe-wide, 30 teachers, two educational psychologists, two external evaluators and many more staff. One of the most rewarding outcomes of these pilot editions was the comments from former MUTW students, one year after attending the course, when they were already working or doing their master course. Those comments showed us that it was worth it and gave us the strength to continue improving over previous results in a permanent search for better and better ways to teach our students.
This white book describes our experience with the first phase of the MUTW project for the last two and a half years. Its goal is to provide a comprehensive view on the MUTW paradigm and its surroundings to all institutions wishing to setup a MUTW-like course unit or to improve over it. The exploitation of the MUTW outcomes that have been achieved during the last years will certainly strengthen MUTW in itself.
In Chapter 1, Motivation, we present the main forces moving us towards MUTW general goals. Chapter 2, State of the art, reviews similar approaches in the field of project/internship instruction. The MUTW methodology together with a set of guidelines and a description of the main lessons we have learnt so far is provided in Chapter 3, Multinational Undergraduate Team Work. Chapters 4, Principles of Communication and Negotiation, 5, Principles of Report Writing and Oral Presentations, and 6, Principles of Open Source Software, address a couple of base competences that should be mastered by students. Chapter 7, Team communication, describes the technological framework required for students to communicate and manage their team during the semester, including groupware and other online tools. In Chapter 8, Pilot Experience, we give a comprehensive description of the students' project specification that we have used during the first two editions of MUTW. The main purpose of this chapter is to provide anyone interested in setting a MUTW-like course with a benchmark that might support in designing a new project specification. Chapter 9, Outcomes, challenges and benefits, focuses on quality issues and brings about the main pedagogical results that have been evaluated during the first phase of MUTW. Chapter 10, Students' breakdown, authored by the students, is, from our point of view, a fundamental part any book describing an instructional paradigm. This chapter brings us the feedback from our students, the main beneficiaries of MUTW. Finally, in Chapter 11, Concluding remarks, we resume our findings.
We hope you can enjoy the book and benefit from our previous experience.
MUTW is team work for team work. None of our achievements would have been possible without the support and hard work from all partners in the consortium, from all the staff in the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency and from our external evaluators: Ahmet Egesoy, Alexandra Costa, Alexandra Madureira, Alexandra Trincão, Ana Barata, Ana Costa, António Castro, Arno Formella, Carla Carneiro, Christof Hille, Cristina Costa Lobo, David Olivieri, Davy the Winne, Dimiter Dimitrov, Dimitris Kalles, Edwin Gray, Geert De Lepeleer, George Papadourakis, Georgi Todorov, Gilles Gervais, Helgi Thorbergsson, Helmut Dispert, Hubert Roth, Joana Rocha, José Rodrigues, José Silva, Juan Carlos Moreno, Julieta Araújo, Kafai Cheng, Kristien Van Assche, Luk Schoofs, Margarita Todorova, Maria da Conceição Viterbo, Maria do Céu Taveira, Marina Duarte, Onder Gurcan, Óscar Andrade, Paula Escudeiro, Ricardo Almeida, Rosa Reis, Stephanie Sahm, Vladimir Jotov, Yana Topalova, YaseminTopaloglu.
Many thanks to our students that have truly committed to their assignments and to MUTW making ourselves feeling that, despite all the obstacles, in the end it was worth it: Aggeliki Katsiampouri, Andre Sondermann, Andreas Jacke, Arne Lipfert, Arne Reimer, Atanas Dimitrov, Colin McCormick, Daniel Lopes, Diego García Galego, Durmus Cetin Akman, Emre Kurt, Gert-Jan Muys, Göktug Keskin, Gudmundur Freyr Hallgrimsson, Gustavo Fernandes, Haukur Ingi Heidarsson, Huda Alarishi, Ina Ivanova, Jens Ficher, Juan Francisco Corral, Juan García Losada, Laura Ryan, Lennart Van Vaerenbergh, Maria Kougioumoutzi, Matthias Hoffmann, Mountrakis Stefanos, Nathan Van Assche, Nikola Ralev, Ozgu Celen, Pedro Ferreira, Pelin Alpagut, Plamen Asenov, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Sandra Alvarez, Sérgio Batista, Sinem Takmaz, Sophie Chapman, Stefan Todorov, Stephan Polet, Thordur Bjornsson, Vicktoria Antonova, Zvezdomir Tsvyatkov.
Many more people have contributed significantly to the results of MUTW, often anonymously, but always so selfless and altruistic. To all, once again, our thanks!
One more word to Eddie Gray for his inspiration that originated our moto: MUTW – Me and U Together Win!
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Politécnico do Porto (ISEP/IPP), Porto, Portugal