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M. Vervoort, W. Maes, L. Vancauwenbergh

Antwerp Maritime Academy (BELGIUM)
An educational project is currently under implementation in the Antwerp Maritime Academy (BELGIUM) to enable nautical sciences students to integrate technical knowledge encompassing social skills (teamwork, cooperation, planning, decision making, problem-solving abilities, communication skills…). This model is based on the deployment of a project-based cooperative learning approach across the curriculum (2nd and 3rd year).
The benefit of scientific research implemented with project-based learning for the education of nautical science students resulting in the graduate degree of ‘academic bachelor in nautical sciences’ will be discussed.
At Antwerp Maritime Academy (AMA) this can be illustrated by the benefit of scientific research on projects like ‘Sailing with open deck Happy-R-type ships’, ‘Frysian Solar Challenge 2008 and 2010’ and the ‘Dutch Open Solar Challenge 2011’ projects.
During their study the students deal with different teamwork-related issues as, leadership, team capabilities, common purpose, team norms, communication, conflicts, team operating procedures, member integration. These activities are distributed across the curricula, considering a long-term deployment.
The training in non-technical capabilities helps our students to set the pattern to become successful life-long learners. Student's main objections to the project-based cooperative learning approach were the excessive time devoted to the project and they demand more effort in supervising. We realize that, as students are not used to this kind of teaching, at the beginning of the project more continuous help and guidance is needed than in traditional teaching methodologies.

Preliminary results show that undergraduate students are involved, enhance understanding, improve retention, become proficient in problem solving, self-directed learning, build decision criteria and team participation (cooperate rather than compete).
The interrelationship between education and (practical) nautical research and its specific application are an interesting example for conference participants, especially for those who want to obtain a deeper understanding of how innovation can be nurtured by education that is in itself supported, cultivated and strengthened by (practically-based) scientific research