About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3455-3463
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1748

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

AMERICAN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO RUSSIA FOR PROJECT-BASED LEARNING AND RESEARCH

O. Pavlov1, S. Nikitina1, A. Ilyinsky2

1Worcester Polytechnic Institute (UNITED STATES)
2Financial University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is a mid-sized private technological university in central Massachusetts, USA. In collaboration with the Financial University in Moscow, WPI has been organizing and sending groups of its students for 7-week projects in Russia. Students work on projects in teams of 3-5 students under the supervision of academic advisors, who travel with them to Russia from WPI. Each project answers a practice-inspired question that is formulated jointly with a Russian partner-organization. Partner-organizations included a major hotel in Moscow, universities in Moscow and Astrakhan, the Big Four consulting firms and a rail car leasing company.

The projects in Russia are part of a university-wide curriculum that uses the project-based learning (PBL) approach. About 60 percent of the undergraduate student population at WPI travels to nearly 40 project centers located around the globe. The Moscow project center is one of such global centers. WPI has been following the project-based educational model since the mid-1970s. Every undergraduate student at WPI is required to complete three large projects before graduating. Each global project center hosts 3 to 8 teams at a time. All projects involve local partner-organizations.

Our experience shows that a successful global PBL program requires three major components:
(i) champions among the faculty;
(ii) support of university administrators; and
(iii) a considerable infrastructure of professional staff who support on a daily basis the multitude of activities involved in PBL.

WPI maintains an entire academic division that prepares students and arranges their trips. Student teams get ready for seven weeks prior to their departure to Russia. They learn research methods, culture and language, and they start working on projects. The need for significant resource commitments from the sending and hosting universities might be a major challenge capable of derailing such a program.

While PBL programs at WPI are self-sustaining, an infusion of funds from a benefactor or a foundation, especially in early stages, can boost administration’s commitment to the PBL program and to a particular geographic project center, such as in Russia. The WPI project center in Moscow started with a generous financial contribution to the university by a donor. The donor wanted to create opportunities for students to travel to Russia as part of their regular academic work. The first student teams traveled to Russia in 2013; more WPI students have gone to Russia every year. In 2016, six teams consisting of American and Russian students work on projects in Moscow, Astrakhan and Tuapse.

As an example of an educational project completed in Russia, we will present a student study on career trends among Russian students. The Financial University in Moscow and Deloitte CIS were partner-organizations. The project identified the career preferences of students at several elite universities in Moscow. Through interviews and a survey, the study determined how Russian students choose their academic majors, career paths and places of employment. The report found that work environment, advancement opportunities, salary and benefits, travel opportunities, and company reputation were the most important factors for Moscow-based students in making decisions about the choice of the employer.
@InProceedings{PAVLOV2017AME,
author = {Pavlov, O. and Nikitina, S. and Ilyinsky, A.},
title = {AMERICAN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO RUSSIA FOR PROJECT-BASED LEARNING AND RESEARCH},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1748},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1748},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3455-3463}}
TY - CONF
AU - O. Pavlov AU - S. Nikitina AU - A. Ilyinsky
TI - AMERICAN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO RUSSIA FOR PROJECT-BASED LEARNING AND RESEARCH
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1748
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 3455
EP - 3463
ER -
O. Pavlov, S. Nikitina, A. Ilyinsky (2017) AMERICAN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO RUSSIA FOR PROJECT-BASED LEARNING AND RESEARCH, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 3455-3463.
User:
Pass: