Now it`s getting historical! Welcome to the University of Cambridge

Cambridge is not only a town with a University but also a University with a town. Whoever is walking through the many small lanes of this city will ingest the history with every step – the University is everywhere. Cambridge will be my home for the next three months to do research projects and to write articles together with colleagues Bill Nicholl, Marc Winterbottom and Ian Hosking in context of our CETE-network. Three months is really not a long time but long enough to figure out a good accomodation and to get familiar with the surrounding area.

Arrival in Cambridge is easy. The residents are used to be surrounded by tourists with their cameras and guides as well as thousands of university students from other countries or visiting professors from all over the world who are learning, teaching and doing research at one of the famous universities of the world. One of the famous? – The residents would say it is the most famous university of all. They are very proud of their heritage. Only the university with the O. is also accepted (Oxford). Although you have to keep in mind that the University of Cambridge´s primary colour is a lighter shade of blue, hence the residents of Cambridge refer to Oxford as, ‘‘the others come from the dark side…!“

The best way to get to know why the residents are so proud of their University is to book a guided tour offered by the tourist information office. I did not regret the two hours tour.  Guided by Sybilla (the wife of the master of the Corpus Christi College – quasi-insider) as Cambridge can only be understood by standing in the courtyard of a college or smelling the atmosphere of a buildings, such as the famous college dining halls that are literally hundreds of years old.

Already the strucure of the university is totaly different from German ones. To study or teach at the University you have to be a member of one of the 31 Colleges. The University is then a quasi umbrella, where all the Faculties and Insitutes are responsible for teaching and research.

As a quasi social backbone of the University, the Colleges are responsible for the accomodation and supply as well as student tutorials and general welfare. Thus, there is a certain amount of ‘kudos‘ associated with being a member of a particular college.

One day I walked trough Cambridge to get familiar with the University and was surprised by many male and female students walking around Cambridge with their parents. After my guided tour I do now know that this were the so-called ‘‘Volvo-Days“ where parents pick-up their children from their respective boarding schools at the end of term.

So, as you can see Cambridge has many traditions and standards and it will be a great privilege for me as a visiting professor to get to know more about the structure and administration of one of the most successfull universities in the world.

Ingelore Mammes

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Summer School at University of Duisburg-Essen

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The first CETE Summer School took place from 20th June until 22nd June 2016 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. 50 participants from seven different countries took part, professors, young academics as well as master students came together to exchange and expand their knowledge and experience about technology education.

The first day started about noon with a welcome and opening by Prof. Dr. Münk and Mrs. Günther (University of Duisburg-Essen), followed by the first keynote speech held by Prof. Dr. de Vries about the link between STEM education and technology education. He pointed out that STEM education may be the key to raise the status of technology education, which still struggles with a negative image.

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Afterwards Dr. Prüfer chaired the forum in which participants from universities, the Association of German Engineers, the Essen Chamber of Commerce and Industry and schools discussed the connection between science, industry and school against the background of technology education. The day finished with an informal meet & greet in the foyer, to give the participants the possibility to get to know each other.

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Tuesday started with the second keynote by Prof. Dr. Max (University of Luxembourg) that presented different inquiry-based learning processes via tablets before the participants could choose between several sessions with topics about e.g. technology education in different educational levels. The social event in the evening led the members to the “Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld”, which is an exhibition for experiencing science, especially physical phenomena. The exhibition is positioned at the Zeche Zollverein area, which has been an UNESCO world heritage since 2001.

During the Summer School the members repeatedly came together in the Networking Café to talk about their work or experiences they made in the workshops or sessions.

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The final day startet with a keynote speak from Prof. Dr. Marra. She talked about the importance of collaboration in STEM learning and presented two online environments to support meaningful collaboration. After that the participants could choose between several workshops e.g. Research of Technology Education in Primary School or Challenge and Responsibility of an Education Concept through the Social Challenge of Mobility. The participants dealt with subjects as HTML5 Animations, eye tracking methodology or problem solving learning with Fischer-Technik.

The Summer School ended with a conference dinner nearby the university, so the participants had the chance to compare notes about the workshops and experiences of the last three days.

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“Hinc lucem et pocula sacra” – Welcome to the University of Cambridge.

What an amazing opportunity to go to the University of Cambridge. Some of the brilliant minds in history have graduated from this university. But there is a misunderstanding – there is no “University of Cambridge”. There are 18,000 students studying in 31 Colleges and 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions. However, this confederation of Departments, School, Faculties and Colleges are organise by a central administration team. The University of Cambridge is rich in history. It is one of the world’s oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.

History of an extraordinary town

When you are staying in Cambridge it is impossible to not seeand hear from the rich history of this former small village. This considerable town exists since at least 875. The town took its name from the bridge across the river Cam – “CAM-BRIDGE”. The town was always an important trading centre with a number of other religious institutions, two hospitals and a castle on the north side of the bridge. In 1209, scholars taking refuge from hostile townsmen in Oxford migrated to Cambridge and settled there. By 1226 the scholars were numerous enough to have set up an organisation, represented by an official called a Chancellor, and seem to have arranged regular courses of study, taught by their own members. King Henry III took the scholars under his protection as early as 1231 and tried to ensure that they had a monopoly on teaching. The teaching took the form of reading and explaining texts; the examinations were oral disputations in which the candidates advanced a series of questions or theses which they disputed or argued with opponents a little senior to themselves, and finally with the masters who had taught them. Some of the masters, but by no means all, went on to advanced studies in divinity, canon and civil law, and, more rarely, medicine, which were taught and examined in the same way by those who had already passed through the course and become doctors. The doctors grouped themselves into specific faculties. The earliest College was St Peter’s or ‘Peterhouse’, founded in 1284. Michaelhouse, Clare, Pembroke, Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi, King’s, Queens’ and St Catharine’s followed during the next 100 years. Three late foundations, Jesus, Christ’s and St John’s, emerged from the dissolution of small religious houses before 1520 and, like the King’s Hall, provided for younger scholars as well as ‘post-graduates’. In 2009, after a long history, the University of Cambridge reached a special milestone – 800 years of people, ideas and achievements that continue to transform and benefit the world. Celebrating the best of Cambridge’s rich history and looking forward to the future, the University reflected on the myriad achievements and world-changing ideas born within its walls, from the establishment of the fundamentals of physics to the discovery of the structure of DNA; from the transformative thinking of great Cambridge philosophers, poets and artists; to the groundbreaking work of its many Nobel Prize winners.

Maybe you ask yourself – where does she know all these things from?  . . .  Well I took part at one of those many punting tours across the Cam. I enjoyed a fantastic view of the world famous Cambridge College ‘Backs’ from the comfort of a traditional Cambridge Punt. I had a special view of King’s College Chapel, the Wren Library at Trinity College and the Mathematical Bridge
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It was fun and I can recommend a punting tour warmly to everybody who will visit Cambridge!

 

Living and working in Cambridge

During my exchange I work at the Faculty of Education. The Faculty of Education from the University of Cambridge is located in the McIntyre Building next to Homerton College. The building was opened in 2005 and it was named the Donald McIntyre Building in 2009, after Donald McIntyre a Professor and former member of Faculty. The design of the new building is very modern, open and includes a wonderful new library – in which I work most of the time.

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My UK-CETE colleagues invited me to take part in some lectures for PGCE Students. PGCE courses prepare graduates to teach – especially in D&T (Design and Technology). The courses are taught in partnership with local schools with trainees spending 120 days of the course working with teachers and children across the East Anglia region and 60 days based at the Faculty. Prof. Dr. Greta Defeyer, a psychologist from the Northumbria University, was invited to one of those courses, too. Together with the students we talked about creativity and how it could be possible to measure it – especially in school-projects? How could criteria “capture” creativity? What kind of lessons / materials allow children to be creative? It was a unique lesson and I plan to include some of these exercises into my own lectures as well.

During the week I was also allowed to take part in one of the DOT-team meetings. DOT is a research project – Designing Our Tomorrows (DOT). Bill (our UK CETE-member) is co-investigator of this EPSRC Funded Research Project in collaboration with the Engineering Design Centre (Engineering Department in Cambridge), Royal College of Art (Henry Hamlyn Centre, London), and Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI) of Loughborough University. We talked about the material and how children have to be creative when they are working with it, about the social problems that children are confronted with and have to find solutions for.

After Bill and all the others worked so long on the DOT-boxes, they wanted a feedback from teachers, who have to work with the material in the future. For this reason they invited 5 teachers from local schools to test the material and give a feedback. All those teachers are teaching D&T in their schools but have different backgrounds: one of them studies industrial design, one engineering and another design & art.

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Bill and his team (including Dr. Ian Hosking – an Advisory Board member of CETE) listened very carefully. We discussed more or less important details of the DOT-boxes, like: size of the worksheets, color or no color for the worksheets, should the material and worksheets are collected in a book or not . . . As you can see my first weeks were full of interesting courses, meetings and new experiences. I hope I can remember all the ideas I have for my own lectures.

Since I started my exchange in Cambridge I recognised that this town and its students are very international. At my first dinner-party I talked to people from France, Belgium, Netherland, Switzerland as well as Spain and of course England too. It was a wonderful evening: listing to and speaking with all these languages and hearing from their experiences. It is unbelievable for me that the first two weeks of my exchange are already over. So many things happened and I did not recognise that time has gone by so fast.

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CETE stepping up – EAPRIL Conference 2015

EAPRIl

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The 10th EAPRIL Conference took place at the University of Luxembourg from 24.-27. November 2015. EAPRIL stands for European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (in education and professional practice). It is a non-profit organisation under Belgian law, governed by an Executive Board in cooperation with the EAPRIL office.
Our CETE-Partner Prof. Dr. Charles Max was the Conference Chair of the local organising committee at the University of Luxembourg.

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The EAPRIL wants to connect theory and practice as well as education and professional learning by encompassing different disciplines such as engineering, business and teacher education in different stages of life.

The conference offers different options to examine these topics such as Poster Sessions, Present & Discuss Sessions, Workshops and Symposia.

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The conference provided an opportunity for promoting the CETE network in Luxembourg, scientific exchange about the CETE projects and discussions about their realisation. To do just that, the CETE members Prof. Dr. Ingelore Mammes, Prof. Dr. Stefan Fletcher, Tatiana Esau, Kristin Schäffer, and Stefan Kruse attended the conference.

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They contributed to the conference in the Roundtable Session “Educating 21st century skills” on the topic “Empowering Technology Education”.

The CETE members explained the aims of the CETE network, introduced the partners and reflected some impressions of the measures which have already taken place. They exemplarily presented and discussed four projects within the Roundtable Session: “Self-Efficacy of (Primary-) school teachers to teach Technology”, “Eye-Tracking and Technology”, “Empathy and Design Engineering” and “STEM-/Design-based learning”. The scientific discussions about the expectations and realisation of CETE projects were very revealing and the other sessions of the conference delivered an interesting insight into other fields of research.

We hope to be back at the EAPRIL Conference 2016.

The CETE-Network

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NOISES OF MIZZOU – Goodbye University of Missouri

In the week before Thanksgiving the campus of Mizzou was nearly empty. Thousands of students and employees are gone. It was a little bit scary but quiet enough to work.

In my last week I had several meetings with colleagues from Mizzou. One of them was Neeley Current the IE Lab Manager from the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies. Neely and some other parents founded an elementary school which works together with the University of Missouri. The MU Child Development Laboratory (CDL) is an educational setting for community children and a teaching and research laboratory for University students, faculty and staff. The CDL operates a full-day, full-year teacher-training lab school affiliated with the Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) within the College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES). The mission of the CDL parallels the service, teaching and research missions of the University of Missouri. They strive to facilitate the teaching and research missions of the University, to promote the professional growth of undergraduate and graduate students, and to secure strong foundations for children and their families. The intent of their program is to encourage and support the development of each child and to provide opportunities for self-exploration and discovery. An assumption of the program is that children are active and curious; it is their goal to provide learning experiences designed to stimulate the child’s creative learning abilities. The overall development (cognitive, social-emotional, physical and creative) of the child is considered and planned for through a variety of activities.

After getting to know the MU Child Development Laboratory (CDL) I had the opportunity to go to Fulton High School – a local High School in Fulton nearby Columbia. This special High School has a fablab – a laboratory with 3-D printers.

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Students got the opportunity to work in this fablab, get in contact with 3-D printing, Tinkercad a design tool for 3D Cad and laser cutting.

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When we visited the fablab the students were already producing some Christmas decorations for the town. They used wood as well as metal and a laser cutter to design snowflakes and a snowman.

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The Fulton fablab owns a few Maker-Bot Replicator 2X, a type of 3-D printer which the colleagues of the G-Lab from the University of Duisburg-Essen want to buy, too. I took the chance to talk to the leader of the lab and to some students about the advantages and disadvantages of the Maker-Bot Replicator. This little enquiry helped me to recommend this type of 3-D printer for our G-Lab (at my first day back at work in Germany a new Maker-Bot was waiting for me at my office). 

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Time goes by and I have to make plans to go home: booking a ticket and a transport to the airport. It is time for my last walk across the campus – listing to the sounds of Mizzou.

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I will miss the noises of the campus: students chatting at Student Center, listen to discussion at Speakers Circle or hearing other Ph.Ds. saying “Hello” when I come to my workplace and of course sitting in the lobby of the Faculty of School Music and listen to students who are practicing some classic music – this was the best place to have a coffee break.

As I write these words, I’m finally back in Germany but I will never forget the time at the University of Missouri. Thanks to my American colleague Prof. Dr. Johannes Strobel and his colleagues from the College of Education. It was amazing to meet you and to have this inspiring scientific exchange. I hope we will meet again at one of our CETE-Network meetings or conferences.

This was the last “roar” from a (short term scholar) TIGER of MIZZOU.  

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Exploring the ZNTD – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

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In the last days I explored the ZNTD in different ways…

First, you can use a „Mittagspicknick“ – the lunch – not only for a good cup of coffee (good coffee is obviously very valued in Switzerland) and very delicious Swiss chocolate, but also for deep scientific discussions. It works very well! I had some exciting discussions and overviews about interesting findings, designs and different open questions also related to my work. In addition, members of the working group gave me very helpful references from prior publication which I analyze at the moment. I even got the contact and will meet the author and discuss some questions for my analysis.

Second, I got an overview of the main part of the working group. The Centre for Science and Technology Education (Zentrum Naturwissenschafts- und Technikdidaktik (ZNTD)) hosts a colloquium every second week. Here, the members of the centre and master students have a possibility to take part when scientists of the centre as well as researchers from other institutions present their findings and the current state of their work. This week, the coordinator and the leader of the programme “EduNat”, one of four strategic projects of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Pädagogische Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)), presented their current achievements. The aims of the strategic initiative are to combine the expertise and to address it to the current society problems in an integrative way (interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary) as well as to generate scientific and practical impact. The presentation revealed projects and measures for the implementation of the consolidated cooperation in the strategic fields of the university departments and faculties of FHNW.  The programme “EduNat” that has started since some months contains about 18 projects in five fields: Technology Education, Teachers’ Scientific and Technology Competencies, University Didactic in Science and Technology Education, Gender Appropriate Science and Technology Education, MINT in Society and Culture. The colloquium was a good place for some feedback for the first programme period from the involved members of EduNat as well as from the students.

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Third, I learned further individual projects and their leaders, e. g. a member of ZNTD, who is the contact person for methodological questions at the ZNTD. This member is also mainly responsible for several evaluations in different projects. In addition, I got the possibility to discuss one evaluation plan that aims to find out if a new study course is gender appropriate.

Besides, I had some discussions about several interesting reasons for the unsatisfactory instruction in science and technology and the demand for education and training for primary teachers in Switzerland.

After several talks I still wonder about the Swiss German and sometimes I am really searching for the commonalities and hope to explore more of them ;-)…

 

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Welcome and “Grüezi” from Basel – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

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A bit unusual for November but Basel welcomes me with sunny and very warm weather. Similar was my beginning at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Pädagogische Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)). Dr. Stefan Kruse, the head of the section for Technology Education and my mentor at FHNW, welcomed me, showed me my new workplace and presented me a program for my stay with some interesting offers for the coming 4 weeks. We fixed some appointments and I booked several events, e. g. the conference of Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) in Zürich and the Day for Research (Forschungstag Basel) next week with special workshops in Technology Education. I also obtained a first overview of the colleagues with their research topics and their projects. I got several opportunities for first exchanges about some differences and specialities in Technology Education in Germany and Switzerland.

At the next meeting with Dr. Stefan Kruse and Prof. Dr. Peter Labudde, the head of the Centre for Science and Technology Education (Zentrum Naturwissenschafts- und Technikdidaktik (ZNTD)), again, I was very cordially welcomed and got some information about the young and ambitious FHNW as well as about the Centre (ZNTD), which coordinates the research and development in Science and Technology Education in Northwestern Switzerland. We discussed some organizational questions for my stay and I got the offer of any possible assistance I need for my work on my dissertation. I know I can feel absolutely free to ask any team member to support me in my work. I already got several helpful references. In additional, we also fixed some aims for my visit. I’m going to get acquainted with different projects at ZNTD and to learn more about Switzerland.

One swiss tradition I learned quite soon: The “Znüni”! It is a breaktime in the morning generally at 10:15 AM. Actually “Znüni” means time at nine (in allemanic “nüün”) where you can take a little snack. Here you can also meet the whole team in the morning and talk a bit, for example about the crazy good weather at the moment and enjoy it together on the roof-deck. I like this tradition already!

I also participated in a team meeting, where I was introduced to all the team members. The working group of ZNTD consists of 23 researches. In this team meeting, we discussed various actual questions and issues, e. g. coming appointments, participation in conferences and congresses, personnel questions. I also got a small homework to write an article about my stay and visit at ZNTD in the next issue of the Campus Journal “PH Notizen”.

Meanwhile, I had a short introduction in several research activities of some colleagues. For example, the project that contributes to the famous TV science program “Quarks & Co” with developed materials for the school about energy, which will be offered in a mobile bus. An exciting and very practical approach! I also got an insight in a part of a big EU-Project that investigates and evaluates formative assessment. It was a very interesting discussion for me because I was also engaged in this topic and know about the chances and challenges of this approach as well.

All in all, I’m glad to be here and participate in the team! I’m looking forward for the next weeks and hope that by and by I understand the Swiss German better :-)!

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GIVING THANKS A LITTLE BIT EARLIER – welcome to University of Missouri

Last week a lot of international events took place at Mizzou and I visited some of them to give thanks.

But first of all: it is half time (unbelievable)! It is hard to believe that half of my time at Mizzou is over – Time goes by so fast. It feels like I just arrived at Columbia but now I have to keep in mind that I have to make a reservation for a shuttle service back to St. Louis Airport.

After only two short weeks I finally got my ID card (administration takes its time) – Thank God! This ID card is essential e.g. to identify myself and to open the doors to my workplace at London Hall – Allen Institute for Research on Learning.

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Now, with an official ID card that proves that I am a (short term scholar) TIGER of Mizzou, I tried to look like one. I have to admit that the garment selection at the Mizzou store is limited but you got a lot of colour options to express your personality.

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But much more important than cloths are shoes. I have written earlier that I neither have a car nor a bike here at Columbia that is why I have to walk, but unfortunately I forgot to take my hiking boots with me :-( When I only add the miles which I have been walking during the last few weeks I get to approximately 43 miles / 70 km. Here is an advice for the next time: take your hiking boots with you when you are walking like Lewis and Clark!

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After so many miles of running I needed some calories :-) At the middle of last week I had an invitation to a “Global Mingle”. The Office of International and Intercultural Initiatives invited us to celebrate International Education Week by joining the Mizzou Ed family for Global Mingle. This was an opportunity to visit and share culinary appetizers from the United States and around the world. International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education, exchange worldwide and exchange experiences in the United States.

Furthermore there was a Thanksgiving lunch organised by the MU International Office for all new scholars, exchange students etc. at Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union. We were invited to taste the foods of the season, learn more about the tradition behind that holiday and get in contact with other exchangers. Thanksgiving calls us to acknowledge the visible and invisible blessings in our lives. The holiday leads us to remember what is important and to say thanks for it. It was a really nice and tasteful lunch – and now I know that I do not like yam (sweet potato). I met so many interesting Ph.D. students from all over the world. We talked about our research projects, experiences at Mizzou and cultures. I hope to see some of them again – maybe for a coffee :-)

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Nevertheless, we also had some difficulties last week. After getting a positive response from the Research Office of Mizzou, relating to our survey about teachers perceptions on engineering and really good feedbacks from colleagues of the College of Education, we found out that the Department of Educations has its own administration-process before they approve a research with pre-service teachers. According to this new information we had to fill out another application and answer some questions about our research. And again: cross your fingers for our survey.

I do not like to admit it, but  . . .  I was unfaithful ;-)  I  . . .  went to  . . .  the Department of Geography. I will always love my work at the Department of Education but at Stewart Hall, home of the Department of Geography, they have a fascinating reptile exhibition. I found the exhibit at the first floor of the building, nearly walking past it, because there was NO warning sign. In a pretty normal looking room you will find the venomous snakes of Missouri – did I mention that they have living snakes! But do not be afraid it is more likely that you will see one of the hundreds of squirrels which are living on the campus.

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Finally, after blogging about what is currently going on at Mizzou, it is time to think about my loving ones at home in Germany . . . so excuse me I have to write some postcards.

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LEARN THE TIGER TANGO – welcome to the University of Missouri

Many different things happened on the campus last week and this time I will focusing more on the social events.

The main occurrence last week was: The University of Missouri president and chancellor step down. African-American students at Missouri have complained of inaction on the part of school leaders in dealing with racism on the campus. Black student leaders have conveyed their displeasure over students openly using racial slurs and other incidents. Several University of Missouri organizations, including the football team and the student association, had called the president and the chancellor to step down. It was very impressive to see all the students and the journalists waiting for a statement of the president and chancellor. Everywhere I went to I heared people talking about this and my personal opinion is, that it is a strong sign that students will not accept racism in any form.

If you like to start a talk with people e.g. about politics, history or whatever you want – there is a very special peaceful place to do this at the campus: Speaker’s Circle (Conley Avenue, University of Missouri). Since I arrived at the university I saw such discussions at Speaker’s Circle twice. The first talk I listened to was initialised by students who want to reunite North Dakota and South Dakota. The second talk was organised by some Christians who talked about the position of men and women in our society. You see some talks are funny and others are dealing with more serious topics. But you are always invited to talk with them.

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Last Thursday was my official “Orientations Session” at the MU International Office. It was a workshop for new scholarships at Mizzou and I met some nice Ph.D. students from China. We had a briefing about all documents we should always have with us (DS-2019; visa, passport, I-94) and we talked about the possibility to travel to another state or going e.g. to Mexico. If you plan to visit another state or fly to another country you should talk with your international student adviser, because it is not so easy to travel around with a J-1 Visa, maybe you have to change the visa. And if you plan to buy or rent a car for the time you are in Missouri you should ask the international student adviser for help, because to rent or buy a car you need an international driving licence, a social security card with your unique social security number and a car insurance for the state of Missouri – every state has its own insurance and people who are coming from outside the USA have to pay more.

Memorial Union  Memorial Union  A.P. Green Chapel  Hitt street

Before I forget, of course I have worked on my Ph.D. thesis too :-) Prof. Dr. Johannes Strobel and I worked on my questionnaire for my survey. The expert knowledge of Johannes was very helpful and let me see things in a different point of view (change something, cancel some questions and work on it). Until the end of the week I will work on my survey questions, because next week I will get the chance to meet Dr. Rose Mara and Dr. Isa Jahnke, Associate Professors of Learning Technologies from the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, and present them my survey – I am pretty excited. They are experts for:

  • Engineering education
  • Recruiting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in engineering, science, technology and mathematics
  • Evaluation research
  • Innovative use of technology (e.g., tablets, wearables, smart glasses, …)
  • Technology-enhanced Designs for Learning Expeditions
  • Exploring Designs for Learning through Reflective Making

Furthermore, we got a positive response from the Research Office of Mizzou relating to our study on teachers’ perceptions on engineering and teaching engineering. We will start contacting some colleagues from Prof. Dr. Strobel and ask them to tell their students about the survey, hang out some postings with information about our survey and how pre-service teachers can participate on it. Keep your fingers crossed that many students will take part in our study.

Here some advice after a loooooong day of work: you will find the best coffee on campus at Ellis Library! And it is true: in America is everything bigger – a 16 OZ (473ml) cup of coffee is heavenly :-)

Ellis Library  Entrance Ellis Library

Best coffee on campus at Ellis Library

But there is so much more going on at Mizzou campus. The University of Missouri has some really good museums and galleries (e.g. Museum of Anthropology; reptile exhibit at Stewart Hall; George Caleb Bingham Gallery; …). On the website “stufftodo” in Mizzou I found some interesting events (academic, arts, athletics, concerts, films . . .). And don’t be shy when you get an invitation – accept it! Saying yes to something small (like going to concert downtown after a day of work) can lead to doing something extraordinary. Things don’t just fall into our laps, we have to make them happen. So join that club or go on that trip because you never know what “yes” will open. There is more going on at the university than just studying and you will make more rememberable memories.

http://stufftodo.missouri.edu/

With that in mind: I am in a hurry, in a few minutes’ starts a Tiger-Tango-Course at Stotler Lounge Memorial Union. Bye

 

 

 

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GO TIGER FIGHT FOR OLD MIZZOU – welcome to the University of Missouri

In the week that I have been here, I have learned so many things.

First of all: “Mizzou” is the University of Missouri’s nickname and is pronounced muh-ZOO. It is not sure who first used the word Mizzou, but it was used in the Missouri Alumni as early as December 1905. Mizzou has a diverse enrollment with 35,448 students from every county in Missouri, every state in the nation and 120 countries. So you will hear different kind of languages, accents and meet people from different cultures.  

Don’t be afraid of asking for help. At my first day on campus I got lost, because the campus is huge and I only had a small printed map from google, which was not detailed enough. I asked a student for help and she brought me to the next guidepost, so that I could find the building of the International Center.

The first place you have to visit at Mizzou is the MU International Center. The staff helped me with my requested documents, visa form and insurance so that they could put my data into the system. After that you can apply for an email address and faculty ID. They also provide information about food stores near campus, housing, banking, transportation and day trips: things to do around Missouri.

Memorial Union

After the official registration Prof. Dr. Johannes Strobel (our USA partner) introduced me to his colleagues from the College of Education – School of Information Science & Learning Technologies. They are working at Townsend Hall, a very old building next to Jesse Hall, the main administration building for the University of Missouri.

Jesse Hall, University of Missouri Townsend Hall, University of Missouri

The original Academic Hall burned down, leaving only the famous six columns that now stand in the center of Francis Quadrangle. The “New Academic Hall” was completed in 1895 and in 1922, the hall was renamed in honor of retiring University president, Richard Henry Jesse. You can learn more about the university at one of the walking tours on campus.

Mizzou_Jesse

I have a workplace at London Hall, close to Townsend and Jesse Hall.

London Hall, University of Missouri  20151118_144434  Entrance to my workplace    20151119_101441  20151119_101416

In the next days I’ve got the opportunity to be part of a project-meeting sbout writing a research application for a STEM-Education project with a special focus on physical-education. I learned about how important it is to be specific about the concept and approach as well as to clarify achievable goals of your project.  

Furthermore, my colleague Prof. Dr. Strobel and I developed a small study on teachers’ perceptions on engineering and teaching engineering. Participants for the study are American pre-service as well as in-service teachers. To create an online survey my colleague introduced me to the Qualtrics Survey Software. I also got in touch with the Qualtrics Mobile Survey Software. This Qualtrics Mobile Survey delivers the features and benefits of Qualtrics Research Suite to smartphones and could increase response rates. But before we could start our study we had to write a research application and wait for a positive response of the Mizzou Office of Research. Research compliance is a complex administrative area and includes research integrity, human subject’s protection (the Institutional Review Boards or “IRBs”), research animal care and welfare, Export Controls, Classified and Sensitive Research, Lobbying Activities, and Conflict of Interest.

In addition I took part at a skype-conference of professors from the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies. They discussed the design and the questions of an annual survey. The college wants to find out how satisfying current and alumni students are with the offered study-programme at the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies and what they could possibly change.

Last but not least: let’s talk about clichés. A few days ago there was a football game Missouri vs. Mississippi, unfortunately Missouri lost. At those days the university goes crazy and sports become more important than the rest. Everywhere at the campus you can see students, university staff and inhabitants of Columbia wearing the colours of Mizzou. And right in front of the football stadium there are many BBQ’s you can go to and talk about the game. It is fun and part of the university lifestyle.

Mizzou Tiger

If I had to sum up my experience at my first week, it would be this: don’t take it too seriously. Made mistakes. A lot of them. Every day. Learn from them. Enjoy the new experience. American are friendly and helpful so you will find a way to make it work.

I feel honored and lucky to have the opportunity to study at Mizzou. Stay tuned for many more updates and pictures.

 

 

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