PROMOTING GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN TIMES OF RESTRICTED MOBILITY THROUGH A DIGITAL QUADRUPLE-HELIX EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORK
In recent decades, expectations towards higher education institutions (HEIs) are increasingly to generate at the same time human, knowledge, and entrepreneurial capital; hence, incorporating the third mission and becoming an entrepreneurial university. Derived-models from the entrepreneurial university are the civic and the engaged university, which further account for societal aspects. In this context, many HEIs, particularly in Europe, explicitly engage in teaching global citizens as part of their curricula, besides benefiting from European funding schemes that promote international mobility for students and staff.
However, the ongoing world pandemic tests HEIs' ability to deliver on the three missions and to promote global citizenship values and actions, due to extensive restrictions on mobility and the abrupt changes in teaching pedagogy, as the result of virtualized classrooms. In this scenario, it is fundamental that HEIs’ educators and decision-makers engage in entrepreneurial practices to co-create and co-transform their educational formats timely and effectively.
This study presents the transformation case of an international mobility project aimed at internationalizing a German entrepreneurial university's third mission into a digital format. The novel education format was co-created through quadruple-helix interactions (i.e. those among university, industry, government, and civil society) to provide bachelor students with a unique action-learning experience that combines global citizenship attributes, outcomes, and pedagogies with those of digitalization and entrepreneurship education. Public and non-governmental organizations provide innovation challenges that are tackled by international interdisciplinary student teams in a virtual module that is part of their regular curriculum. The results of the multi-disciplinary student team are presented using storyboarding and digital prototyping. The teams were supported by a multi-disciplinary team of educators and external partners from industry.
The case’s data-collection consists of secondary-data and primary-data collected through self-reflection exercises and an evaluation survey. The analysis is segmented into two-stages (co-creation process and post-pilot evaluation) and includes the perspectives of four stakeholder groups (participating students, module educators, and two groups of external partners). The results demonstrate that global citizenship values were promoted through the novel digital action-learning format piloted, as educators placed emphasis on remote project teamwork, a key competence for the 21st-century workplace. Furthermore, the student cohort, formed by 41 students from 8 countries, improved their entrepreneurial mindset to a degree that is comparable to similar learning experiences in non-virtual classroom settings. At the same time, external partners perceived an added value to them through their engagement. Thus, this case illustrates how to combine effectively global citizenship, digitalization, entrepreneurship attributes, outcomes, and pedagogy into a sustainable digital education format.