15th Dec 2009 | 02:51 pm | Filed under Uncategorized

This is a test – it follows the interviewer Jo’s guidelines:

Tell me a little about you as a partner? (country, organisation etc) I am Bernd Hofmaier from the University College Halmstad, Sweden. As partner in the project Euronet-PBL I am responsible for the internal evaluation of the project. Since the idea of the evaluation is to support and stimulate the project as a whole and to support the different partners in their learning efforts, I am trying to organize a kind of formative evaluation with different moments of reflection and self-evaluation. This is expected to be done in local workshops including the three important partners in a Praktikum – teacher/faculty, students and company or organisational representatives.

What do you think makes Praktikum so important?
Apart from the usual complaints about to be too theoretical, students should be competent in their field when they are leaving the university, at least they should be on their way to show competence in their future work. This can be achieved by practical elements in their education, e.g. practical assignments, examination exercises or study visits but will be done much better by a formal Praktikum. Such a component of the education should be part of the curriculum and be organized as a joint venture of the university, students and companies or organisations where the Praktikum is accomplished. Hopefully all partners can expect benefits.

What do you think makes the Euronet PBL project so important?
Until now, every country, university, curricula is organising their own form of practical education. For some disciplines it is an established part like in the medical sciences, engineering, some technical education and others. But in many parts of higher education a common frame work is missing. Euronet-PBL will give an overview over different forms of Praktikum and will be able to propose guidelines for the main issues when organising various Praktika.

What factors do you think are important to make a praktikum work?
To be very short, following factors should be thought about:
– Praktikum should be planned and organised together with all three partners, teachers/faculty, students and companies/organisations.
– Praktikum should be part of the education curriculum.
– Time and places for reflection in which all parties are participating should be organized.
– Praktikum should show a certain degree of structure with specific assignments.
– Those assignments (written reports and presentations) should be discussed by all partners.

What are you currently working on for the project and how do you feel it is going?
As I said, is my main task to be a kind of support in the internal learning process. Even if the main idea of the project was simple and well-proven in other projects, my impression is that there is a need for clarification how to work with the proposed evaluation tool. Here are still some steps to go. Perhaps it is the use of the term “evaluation” which is confusing. In other projects we were talking about self-evaluation, which we also mentioned in Euronet-PBL, but perhaps we should avoid this word with its annoying connotation. After all, it is not an evaluation and more the possibility to organize opportunities for discussions, clarifications, reflections. In other words, for promoting learning, and therefore being the ground for action.

What have you already completed for the project and what particularly interesting things did you discover from this work?
The workshops organised until now and the interviews and discussion with the various partners in the project, indicated some interesting features:
– The great variety of praktikum in different educations and countries.
– Some very good examples of how to integrate Praktikum in educational programmes.
– Praktikum as a contested field where actors with interest (authorities, universities) are trying to gain financial benefits. After all, why should teachers be paid, when the students are in a company? Since the authorities are not seeing the need for continuous follow-up and for supporting the learning process, they think they can save some money here.

What do you hope to gain from the project?
In my specific role, I expect to develop this self-evaluation idea. In spite of Sweden is not participating in this project, I think we and our university can learn something from experiences in other educational programmes.

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