Solutions

Collaborasmus

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Collaborasmus: Painless Erasmus platform

The innovative platform providing you with all the information you need to know in order to ensure a safe and happy Erasmus experience

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Team
Collaborasmus
Contact details
tomi.kauppinen@aalto.fi

The future of learning - think like a human

How do we make sense of all information online? How can we support understanding of the world, and thus to make informed decisions? How can we improve thinking, like critical thinking, spatial thinking, system thinking, imagination or sustainable thinking with a blend of online and actual places?

Read more about The future of learning - think like a human

Solution description

  • The solution is a digital platform that allows Erasmus alumni to share information about how they solved the problems related to the Erasmus bureaucracy. This includes a list of courses taken/substituted (i.e. the Learning Agreement), comments on the host university’s international friendliness, suggestions about cultural and social possibilities (music, sports, local traditions...).
  • This would give potential “erasmusers” more security in the decision making and potentially increase the probability of them actually joining the programme.
  • The success of this solution could be measured by comparing the time/work necessary to come up with a functional Learning Agreement between people who did not use the platform and people who did. Furthermore, a comparison between the trend of Erasmus participants before and after the introduction of the platform will show significant information about the value of the platform itself.
  • The challenge owners (EIT Digital and European Universities) will improve their international visibility and their position as international/paneuropean organizations as the proposed solution arises directly from the product of their activities.

Solution context

The problem is the difficulties which arise when deciding to start a new international adventure with Erasmus programme and when working to comply to all the huge amount of paperwork and research necessary to do that. It might not be clear to everybody, but in order to start an Erasmus, each selected student has to provide a “Learning Agreement”, which is a document describing what the student will do in the host university and how that can balance what the student should have done in the home university. This process requires browsing through the websites of all the considered universities, finding all the possible similar courses and reading through their syllabi to make sure that they are similar to the ones in your home university. However, this process can become painful because it usually happens that your proposal is  rejected. This can be because the language course is not accepted, because the schedule does not match, or the source was outdated and, in the end, you have to do it all over again and find alternatives. This process usually takes weeks and it is well-known by the students that it is not comfortable and lacks security. It usually happens that you have to take less credits during your Erasmus, and so you end up losing one year of studies doing in your home university those courses that you were unable to take back then. In the economic context of a family this is risky and unaffordable to pay for this extra tuition, making this uncertainty a relevant factor that prevents people from doing an Erasmus. Knowing this (and other problems that are not directly targeted by this solution) people are discouraged in starting an Erasmus experience beforehand because they hear negative comments about it.

Solution target group

The main target group of the project is the students. The solution solves one of the problems they face when they want to go on Erasmus. However, there is a much larger picture that derives from solving this issue, involving the following stakeholders:

  • Students will benefit from higher security and easiness when designing their international experience. They do not waste as much time as they can have instant feedback on what worked in the past.
  • Universities benefit from a larger international exposure and recognition that is obtained from the reviews in the platform. This traduces into higher ranking recognition, as internationality is one of the metrics normally used. Additionally, the university community also benefits from getting to know new ideas or projects that happen in other universities and that the international students bring. From an economic perspective, those companies that seek for international talent may be more willing to invest and establish relationships with those universities that encourage such programmes. This is an important revenue stream for this stakeholder.
  • Companies benefit by having a place where they know they can find the international talent. An example of this can be the EIT Festival in Aalto University, chosen because of its international nature: the company gets to know a vast amount of candidates with a very low cost and risk. The university can easily become a custom academy for them in this sense.
  • Alumnis benefit being a group of interest for the companies that look for an Erasmus mindset.
  • The student/erasmus international associations are interested in this initiative because it potentially brings more people to their cause. This does not necessarily only mean more money from memberships, but also more political power to improve student’s life.

Solution impact

The impact is based on the simplification and improvement of the accessibility to the Erasmus programme. If the platform is successful, it will change the way students see Erasmus by giving them some certainties that are not really found at the moment. It will also change the way Universities see Erasmus by obtaining valuable feedback, metrics and international visibility from the user stories. The vision of the European society over Erasmus is improved by providing clear feedback about its added value in people who participated in it. This happens alongside the positive experience that may arise from living in a cosmopolitan environment.

Solution tweet text

The innovative platform providing you with all the information you need to know in order to ensure a safe and happy Erasmus experience.

Solution innovativeness

Our uniqueness comes from the lack of current ways to easily proceed with Erasmus bureaucracy and from the limitedness of other similar programmes (EIT Digital Master School) which already have a strong network of alumni to guide the new students.

Solution transferability

The solution could be applied to other mobility programmes, especially where slow and complicated bureaucracy is involved, and multiple parties are relevant in the process. However, in the beginning it is focused in covering the Erasmus programme to see how it works out.

Solution sustainability

To implement the solution we first want to see how it performs in a local environment(e.g. Aalto University). We will try to gather the courses selection for as many people as we can and make the data available about what choices the future students will have. This can be done with the help of the local international office, student guilds, international events or a combination of these possibilities. The next step would be for people who are accepted in a future Erasmus programme directed to Aalto to receive information about this platform, with the possibility to find an already validated combination of courses that match their profile and that will definitely be accepted by the home university (since it has already been accepted before). If this test is eventually successful, we will get access to many possible partnerships (EU, Education Organizations, International student networks, Universities…) to improve the effect as described in the Impact section. In the long-run the platform can become the standard in organization of Erasmus and similar education programmes in the EU context. A place to manage and standardize all the bureaucracy that is related to these for all the parties involved.

Solution team work

The team converged positively to a good solution since the beginning but always trying to diverge and converge to guarantee that there was no emotional attachment to any particular idea. This allowed a continuous pivoting that yield to narrowing down to an approachable problem from the wider issue that was described at the beginning of the hackathon. Thus, the team has shown to be an example in international collaboration and a qualified group for further working on this project in the future.

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