UTECIU UniversityArchiveStudent experience: Marlen Braun

Student experience: Marlen Braun

Challenge-based learning is a cool concept

Marlen Braun studies psychology at the University of Twente. This academic year, she decided to do an extra-curricular activity; challenge-based learning at ECIU University. She and her team took part in the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Hamburg. “A fantastic finish to our challenge,” says Marlen.

The ITS is the world’s largest and most prominent event focused on smart mobility and the digitization of transportation. These congresses are a yearly celebration of smart mobility: they underline the importance of Intelligent Transport Systems, particularly in the cities and regions where they are hosted, and they provide an excellent platform for supporting the education, thought leadership, business development, and overall steady industrial growth of smart mobility.

Improve cycling

The challenge for Marlen and her team– how to improve cycling in Hamburg – meant they were completely in their element. At the Hamburg Messe three large halls were packed with companies, governments, and organisations showing their innovative products or solutions to a wide range of trade visitors.

“We had our own stand at the congress. People who passed by asked us questions and gave feedback on our solution proposals. They were interested because we were students; you don’t normally see students at the congress. So we could explain what ECIU University is, what we do, and how challenge-based education works.”


Marlen worked on her challenge in an international, multidisciplinary team. “With Philipp of TU Hamburg, Rewanth and Pinar from Trento in Italy and Aravind from Kaunas. As a professional, you can also participate, our group was joined by Marina from Brazil, who studied in Trento and now works in Hamburg.

Together they arrived at a clear definition of the problem. “To reduce the waiting time for bikers by making it as short and safe as possible at intersections, without interrupting the actual flow of traffic,” was ultimately the challenge they took on. “We came up with two avenues of thought that could be useful. One was a Green Wave – every cyclist has an app that communicates with the traffic light they’re approaching so that cyclists are given priority at crossroads.” The second solution they proposed involved intelligent infrastructure systems such as lane-lights, cycle pockets, and smart bollards.

Give it a go!

“I think that ECIU University’s challenge-based learning is a cool concept. The great thing about it is that you come into contact with students from other countries who have different study backgrounds and sometimes are already working in their graduate job. I would definitely recommend it to other students. Give it a go and see whether the concept suits you!”