EXPERIMENT: DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS - IS IT POSSIBLE TO DESIGN A CURRICULUM, WHICH IS IN LINE WITH THE NEEDS OF A QUICKLY CHANGING IT SECTOR AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP NEEDS?
The changes in the economic environment are quick and different fields are more and more interconnected. The academic studies have important role how people are able to handle those changes. Current academic curricula’s and study methods are rather “classical”, “narrow in their approach” and “fixed”, producing often people that are not ready to start working after graduation.
To tackle those problems, the aim was to develop curricula, which has inter-disciplinary and practical approach, taught by practitioners on their field. In order to achieve that, the entrepreneurs, employers and visionaries in the ICT and entrepreneurship field were interviewed and involved into development process. After consultations the curriculum was developed taking for the basis product development process and startup needs.
DDVE (Design and Development of Virtual Environments) has unique inter-disciplinary approach combining Design, ICT and Business fields. The practical outcome defines the content of a study process, frameworks and main topics are in place, but the practitioners joining the teaching stuff are found on a running basis (except some key coaches and lecturers). The center of a study in each semester is a student project, which ultimately is a basis for the final thesis.
The graduates have practical experience in product development process, they have knowledge to combine the Design, ICT and business needs to create economically viable products or successful startups; they are able to make successful changes in their career between the fields.
Currently second patch of students is graduating the curricula. The experiment has approved that it is possible to create practical and high-level curricula’s in the conservative academic environment, even dough it takes a lot of effort. Employers and students are happy, but there are several lessons learned and suggestions for further development of such a curricula.
Creation of DDVE curricula was financed by European Social Fund with the partners from University of Tallinn, Tartu Art School, Estonian Institute of Design, Institute of Infographics and private companies Nortal, Regio and Artech Industrial.