Can international trip experiences at DMU (#DMUGlobal, UK) provide transversal and work competences?
De Montfort University (DMU, Leicester, UK) is highly committed to promote different strategies to facilitate the acquisition of the key transversal competences and skills recently defined by the European Union for future students in the European Higher Education Area (European Commission, May 2017), including skills to manage complex information and resolve complex global challenges, capabilities for creative and autonomous thinking, effective communication, engagement with local communities and promotion of social inclusion and mobility. To promote internationalisation, DMU developed a specific programme named #DMUglobal in September 2013 that includes the European mobility programmes (Erasmus+) and DMU academic-led trips. The #DMUglobal trips involve a short-term visit to another country that is offered to any DMU student. To the best of our knowledge, #DMUglobal provides one of the most comprehensive international experience programmes at any UK university. The DMU Faculty of Health & Life Sciences offered a novel #DMUglobal trip to visit New York (NYC, US) in the 2017/18 academic course to determine potential public health risks due to environmental contamination by carbon monoxide (CO). A total of 45 students from different programmes, specifically BSc Biomedical Science, BMedSci Medical Science and BSc Healthcare Science (Audiology), visited NYC in January 2018 for 5 days together with two academics that supervised the different activities. Briefly, students were divided into small groups to measure levels of CO from different locations in NYC using small CO detector devices. Once they returned to DMU, students analysed the collected data to determine any potential human risks and completed a poster by the end of January 2018. Posters were peer-reviewed by these students, which selected the best one to be presented at a DMU research conference in Summer 2018. We used qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse whether students that undertook this international experience gained some of the above competences and other such as the memo factors (curiosity, confidence, serenity, decisiveness and vigour). Thirty students completed a feedback-questionnaire, which showed high levels of enjoyment in participating in this novel global trip (43.3% agreed, 50% strongly agreed) and pointed to teamwork as the best part of the CO monitoring activity. Furthermore, 83.3% indicated that they gained or improved specific skills such as communication, engagement with local communities and broadened their cultural horizons (33.3% agreed, 50% strongly agreed). Also, 73.3% highlighted that they gained some presentation skills and 70% described that producing the poster helped them to understand the topic. Moreover, 73.3% of students that completed the questionnaire indicated that they will use the knowledge learnt in their studies. In the open answer questions, students suggested some improvements for future trips including the provision of more sensitive CO monitors and the creation of extra activities relevant for biomedical science. These results could indicate that the #DMUglobal trips could be an effective strategy to facilitate and promote many of the key competences described.
Citation : Peña-Fernández A., Lobo-Bedmar M.C. and Peña M.A. (2018) Can international trip experiences at DMU (#DMUGlobal, UK) provide transversal and work competences? EDULEARN18 Proceedings; pp. 7068-7073
ISBN : 9788409027095
Peer Reviewed : Yes