Author(s): Leon Janicke; Felix Schmid; James Shucksmith; Rita F. Carvalho; Saugata Datta; Jorge Leandro
Keywords: Hydro-environmental; Sharing academic knowledge; Awarness; Didactics
Abstract: The objective of CoDiLe - Collaborative Digital Learning – is to create a new international course termed "Water Challenges in a Changing World" in the form of independent modules. It uses the advantages of digitized teaching and offers a unique opportunity for higher education professionals to take up these modules and design the course, as they deem appropriate. For this purpose, the "Fellowships for Innovation in Digital University Teaching (digiFellows)" of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia enabled the creation of a cooperation network with several high-ranking national and international partners from seven different countries. These are: RWTH Aachen, city authorities of Bochum, UCI California, University of Coimbra, University of Exeter, TU Hamburg, TU Kaiserslautern, Kwame Nkrumah University, University of Messina, TU Munich, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield, KTH Stockholm, and UTSA Texas. Depending on the modules selected, the contents can be suitable for both master (hydro-environmental) and bachelor (engineering) programs. Each of the 15 project partners is responsible for one module, with all modules being self-contained and modular. Each module contains a) a video presentation on the topic of the partner’s expertise, b) online tests and challenges (forums) to the students, c) a live discussion with the corresponding lecturer with selected questions prepared by the students. Didactically, the focus is on “blended learning” with the use of “flipped classrooms” and a combination of asynchronous and synchronous sessions with the respective lecturers. The range of available topics is more extensive than the required semester performance, which enables students to participate in the design of the module themselves, making each year a unique learning experience. A high professional level is guaranteed by the internationally recognized lecturers, while at the same time a wide range of subjects can be addressed by a large number of students. The topics range from urban flood forecasting and coping with extreme events to microplastic in marine ecosystems as well as public health, water resources, and water quality. All content, including tests, will be freely available digitally on the new platform ORCA.NRW to all interested higher education professionals. Our results show that: I) this modular course has the potential to increase the awareness of students towards hydro-environmental engineering., and II) the spirit of sharing academic knowledge has the potential to leap the quality of lectures in higher education by encouraging the reuse/improvement of lecturing material and didactics thought for the new challenges ahead.