Date added: 2023-10-05
Study visit of Gdańsk University of Technology lecturers to ETH Zurich
The purpose of the visit was to deepen knowledge of teaching and learning using the Project-Based Learning (PBL) method. With the support of the Rector of ETH Zurich, Prof. Günther Dissertori, the delegation had the opportunity to participate in ETH Week, an innovative PBL education program, and to exchange ideas with faculty members. The trip was attended by Dr. Małgorzata Kostrzewska and Dr. Roman Ruczyński from the Faculty of Architecture, Dr. Bartłomiej Cieślik from the Faculty of Chemistry, and Dr. Aneta Sobiechowska-Ziegert and Dr. Katarzyna Kubiszewska from the Faculty of Management and Economics. It was funded under the "Teaching Excellence of the University" grant POWR.03.04.00-00-P023/21.
The delegation of Gdańsk Tech took part as observers and experts in the annual project-based course 'ETH Week', during which students work in interdisciplinary teams to solve selected sustainability problems. The course has been running for many years and has always been popular with students. This year, almost 140 students in 16 teams worked on circular economy projects under the 'circular realities' theme. The delegation had the opportunity to observe the work of the student teams, their coaches and experts, as well as to talk to the organizers of ETH Week, particularly to Dr. Florian Rittiner and Fabio Bargardi. M. Kostrzewska and A. Sobiechowska-Ziegert also acted as experts during the stage when teams presented their ideas and prototype solutions.
In the education of students at ETH, team-based, real-world problem-solving methods are used frequently in different subjects and by many faculties. During the visit, the lecturers from Gdańsk Tech had the opportunity to exchange experiences with ETH faculty members, namely with Dr. Urs Brändle, Prof. Christian Pohl, Dr. Michele Magno, Dr. Lukas Fässler, Dr. Markus Dahinden, Prof. Torbjørn Netland, and Dr. Lorenzo De Pietro, who implement innovative PBL methods in their teaching. In addition, the lecturers visited the ETH Student Project House, where students can think outside the curriculum and prototype their own ideas. In a superbly converted heating plant, students find versatile space to work on their projects, get support through coaching and workshops, and even receive seed funding. In the Makerspace they can build their prototypes and learn how to use various machines.
In a seminar, the lecturers presented their innovative teaching methods used at Gdańsk Tech, such as gamification, webquest, tutoring, and active experiential learning, and explained the forms of support for academic teachers offered by the Centre for Innovative Education at Gdańsk Tech. Many members of the ETH community, including the Vice-Rector for Curriculum Development, Prof. Jan Vermant, attended the seminar, which resulted in a substantive discussion on academic didactics. As ETH Zurich and Gdańsk Tech will collaborate within the ENHANCE Alliance, the seminar was a great opportunity to establish closer relations and seed first ideas.
The final highlight of the study trip was the excursion to Zurich's Üetliberg mountain, during which Dr. Hansjürg Büchi gave insights into the history of the city of Zurich and ETH’s role in the development of modern Switzerland.
The study visit to ETH Zurich was an inspiring and motivating experience, thanks to which the Gdańsk Tech academic teachers learned new ways of organising their teaching and designing activities for students, which will enable them to improve the quality of education at Gdańsk University of Technology. We would like to thank the Rector of ETH Zurich, Prof. Günther Dissertori, for the great hospitality at ETH Zurich and Dr. Philipp Bieri, Member of the Rector’s Office and ENHANCE Core Officer, for the organisation of the visit. Our thanks also go to all our hosts at ETH, who shared their teaching experiences with us in great detail.