University of Thessaly (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 8631-8636
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.2234
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Computer Science and Computer Engineering are highly innovative sectors that drive economic development and job creation. The high growth of ICT is a result of the rapid growth of networks, which drives high demand for new services and enables supply through the design and implementation of innovative digital solutions in areas that range from education to government and financial management, allowing anytime, anywhere high accessibility to information, knowledge, and services at a continuously decreasing cost.

In educational contexts, the evolution of ICT allows the introduction of practical, workable, financially feasible, and sustainable solutions that allow students to be connected to the world. In the face of rapid evolution of digital technologies, universities have a responsibility to modernize their educational practices for harvesting the sector’s innovation potential by developing highly skilled young ICT professionals. Building the innovation capacity of ICT students is crucial for several reasons: it benefits young professionals by providing them the knowledge and skills they need for pursuing successful, long careers in a growing and highly evolving sector; it builds a highly skilled workforce that industry needs for pursuing emerging business opportunities addressing shortages in skilled professionals; it contributes to growth and wellbeing of communities by design solutions that address pressing industry and societal issues.

This work presents a learning intervention for promoting the development of innovation capacity among ICT students, implemented in the context of project ICT-INOV ( A digital collaboration service is under development that encourages students to engage in problem-solving in teams anywhere and anytime. The service integrates gamification and design thinking, which fosters the introduction of solutions to complex issues even when none appears to exist at first glance. Design thinking achieves this through a process of problem-discovery that allows designers to put themselves in the position of users either literally, by immersing themselves in the users’ environment, or through an engagement process that helps them better understand actual, as opposed to perceived, needs. The process allows for the definition of a more accurate problem statement, which in turn may allow the design more effective solutions. Design thinking encourages brainstorming for introducing a broad toolset of potential solutions, from which the design team selects the most viable for developing and evaluating prototypes by further engaging users.

Through the learning service under development students work in jointly owned digital workspaces in which they may share their work on problem discovery and understanding, analysis of user needs, problem definition, and solution design. The proposed service is flexible and encourages students to share and build on each other’s ideas through small notes posted on a common canvas. The educator has broad flexibility in designing the exercises for engaging students as well as in highlighting specific steps of the design thinking process.

The work is funded with the support of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education program. It is implemented in Greece, Portugal, Italy, Estonia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Nepal encouraging the exchange of know-how and experiences towards modernizing higher education practices.
Innovation, capacity building, design thinking, collaboration, higher education.