The essence of the intercultural competences micro-module
Our Intercultural Competences: Guiding Practical Insights through Citizen Science micro-module (or ICCS for short) is a novel collaboration between innovative universities from the ECIU network. Together with seven universities, we have gathered expertise and insights to provide you with a new form of education: one that is targeted to your needs!
Intercultural competences form a foundation of our social interactions and are a required skill in your professional career. That is why we want to already provide you with the opportunity to gather and improve your skills as a student and young professional. Find the development that you need in our new ICCS micro-module!
- You learn to assess and improve your intercultural competences skill level (self-reflection).
- You take part in engaging lectures that you can choose on foundational insights of intercultural competences.
- You are coached by our professional coaches to continuously improve your skills and reflect on how you grow.
- You can immediately implement your newfound knowledge and skills in a real-life Citizen Science project, together with students from the other ECIU universities.
- All course components can be followed online.
Please note that this course is held entirely in English.
In addition to the online components (outlined further below), students can apply within the ICCS course to join our mobility week taking place in person. This year, we are very excited to host our mobility week at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), taking place between 06 and 10 February 2023! This on-site week consists of engaging workshops and fun events in Barcelona that allow students to dive into the Spanish culture together and to meet students from the entire programme, as well as free time to explore the city and spend time with your peers from the ICCS course. The mobility week is not an obligatory aspect of the course; students participating in this mobility week will receive an additional ECTS for their time investment (i.e. a total of 3 ECTS from the programme). Please note: the travel and accommodation for students will be covered or partially compensated by the local university. It is up to the local university to decide how many students may receive this compensation and to select students from the programme to participate. After the start of the course, we will communicate details on the mobility week and how to apply per university. While we aim to offer the mobility week to as many students as possible, please note that your participation is not guaranteed at the start of the module.
The online, 2 ECTS part of the ICCS course (i.e. excluding the mobility week), has three main components: the Citizen Science project, the Expert Meetings and the Coaching & Reflection, which are all elaborated below.
The most important aspect of learning any skill is knowing how to put it into practice! That is why the ICCS micro-module is centred around a Citizen Science project. Within citizen science, research or scientific work is done by members of the general public, often in close collaboration with professional scientists who guide or direct the process. This means that citizens, alongside scientists, play a key role within the purpose, structure and execution of the scientific work. There are different degrees of participation for citizens in citizen science, from only helping in data gathering (crowdsourcing) to setting up the entire project with limited (initial) input of the scientists. Some examples of citizen science are the following:
- Distributing intelligence to let citizens help classify galaxies, which led to the discovery of Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel of Hanny's voorwerp (Dutch for "Hanny's object"), an enormous green gas cloud in the cosmos.
- Designing an artificial pancreas for diabetes patients by combining a glucose monitor and administrator system through an online community.
- Citizens measuring the groundwater level in their region for national/regional monitoring, such as is done with the SmartPhones 4 Water project in Nepal.
Within the Citizen Science project, you will be looking at how citizen science can be used within a specific community to enrich scientific research. The end result of the project is a well-motivated understanding of an issue taking place within a cultural context and a defended argumentation of how citizen science is suitable to address it. For this project, you receive insights from the Expert Meetings and support in the form of coaching (see both further below).
The project is structured within the Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) methodology. Within this course, you will complete the first phase of CBL (the 'Engage phase'), which consists of the following points. More information about CBL, the project process and all deliverables will be provided during the introduction meeting of the course.
- CBL step 1 - Within the ICCS course, the general topic (or 'Big Idea') is understanding the implications of intercultural competences within citizen science. For the first step of the project, teams determine their project topic (or 'Small Idea'). This could, for example, be focusing on low water levels in the Netherlands during the summers.
- CBL step 2 - Exploring the project topic through essential questions. Continuing the example in the previous step, this could be 'how have water levels been fluctuating in the Netherlands over the last 20 years?', 'what role does human behaviour play in this issue?'. Keep in mind that your project investigates the possible application of citizen science methods to the issue, so your essential questions should not only give you critical insights on whether your topic is indeed a relevant issue (e.g. through understanding fluctuating water levels) but also what the perception of citizens is to this issue, taking into account their cultural context (e.g. understanding how Dutch people view the water level issues; historically, the Dutch have a very interesting view of living with a lot of water, how is that affecting the current behaviour?). In this step, we encourage you to utilise the multicultural group of ICCS students in the course by sending out surveys and planning interviews with your peers.
- CBL step 3 - Formulate the actionable challenge that arises from your research. Given your investigation into the topic, how do citizens regard your project issue, and what would be important considerations to have for a citizen science project on this topic? What are important elements of citizen science that you see potential for in your project? For example, if it turns out from research that Dutch citizens are generally increasing their water consumption, but it seems that people living in cities are very water conscious, it is clear that there should be a groundwater measurement study to gather important data, just like the SmartPhones 4 Water project in Nepal described above.
We have gathered experts from all over Europe to help you gain fundamental insights into intercultural competences, how you can further develop them and what (scientific) issues underlie them. In addition, we support your Citizen Science project by giving you hands-on information and examples of how citizen science works and what its strengths and risks are. During the 3rd, 5th and 9th week of the course, we will host a large variety of Expert Meetings on the topics of intercultural competences and citizen science that you can follow. These will be scheduled throughout the week at various times to provide a flexible course. You have to follow at least one Expert Meeting within each Expert Meeting week (so one in week 3, week 5 and week 9; at least three meetings in total, but more are, of course, highly encouraged!). Since each week will give you important insights for your project as well as your own development, you will need to divide and conquer with your team and reflect on the sessions you attended with your peers. A great way to already strengthen your communication skills! After registration, you will see the complete overview of all possible Expert Meetings that you can attend. A selection of the topics that we offered in our first run of the ICCS course can be found below.
- International team management in an intercultural context (by INSA Groupe).
- Universal values at the core of cultures (by Kaunas University of Technology).
- Building blocks of citizen science (by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona).
- Use of digital devices and social media in Citizen Science project (by the University of Trento).
- Cultural differences and cultural orientations (by the University of Stavanger).
- The privilege of power (by the University of Twente).
In order for you to grow within your intercultural competences, you need to understand what your starting level is, how you can improve and check that your skills are improving. We provide the first two aspects to you by giving you a structured and guided insight into self-reflection (a highly valuable skill on its own) and support you as you assess your own intercultural competences level and points of improvements. We provide four Coaching Sessions for you and your team to assess your skills and form an understanding of how you can further improve with one of our talented coaches. These sessions will take place in the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th weeks of the course. During these weeks, you can plan a meeting with your coach alongside your team to discuss your collective efforts and plan your continued improvements. Short reflection moments throughout the course ask you to think about your improvement within a few sentences to see your progress over time. This will help you further improve and will guide your efforts to continue growing, using the methods you received in all aspects of the module!