ThinkTank - Ideal City of the 21st Century
In January 2013, Leuphana Digital School launched its prototype course "ThinkTank - Ideal City of the 21st Century", a cost-and-barrier-free academic platform that offered collaborative web-based learning led by distinguished scholars and experts. This new program, which ran from January to April 2013, introduced a fresh, unique approach to collaborative learning - a university project open to participants from all over the world, regardless of where they live and what they do.
This pilot course, led by world-renowned architect Prof. Daniel Libeskind, was a great success with people from more than 100 countries participating.
Understanding that more than 3 billion people will be moving into cities over the next 40 years, participants enrolled in ThinkTank worked in teams to design models for future living in urban centers. Participants worked to solve theoretical and practical assignments, critique the work of other groups through commentary and evaluation, and translate their ideas of an ideal city into a final visualization.
HOW IT WORKED
Students were matched in teams of five with members from all different backgrounds and geographic locations. These teams worked together to complete six assignments. Each assignment had two deadlines: the peer review, after which all participants were asked to give feedback on other teams' solutions, and the final deadline,after which the assignments were evaluated by the course mentors. Communication between participants took place on the online platform and forums (each with individual topics) as well as a messaging system, which enabled participants to communicate with their peers and teachers. In the peer review phase, ThinkTank's participants were able to explore the other teams' work as well as offer constructive feedback in order for each and every team's work to progress.
Participating in "ThinkTank - Ideal City of the 21st Century", students formulated their visions of an ideal city by completing six consecutive assignments in teams. For each assignment, our lecturers contributed specific academic input in the form of multi-disciplinary perspective video keynotes and other supporting materials. All involved - instructors and peers alike - provided feedback and advice on the main project categories such as architecture, economics, social science, cultural history, sustainability, infrastructure and public health. While working on their respective assignments, students engaged in virtual classroom discussions with their peers and instructors on the project platform.
The faculty members were supported by mentors who provided teaching input, lead classroom discussions and participated in evaluation of the final submissions of all six assignments. Tutors supervised related groups and their team pages, monitored the submitted reports and the performance of each group, supported the teams throughout the entire course, as well as assisted in evaluating the final submissions.
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