Tips & Hints on running your course

Think about the following three points when running a course that involves people from widely different backgrounds.

  • Collaboration: is a process we often consider automatic. We work together at home, with friends, or with colleagues every day. Our cards are aimed to help people from different disciplinary backgrounds, cultures, personality types, and personal and professional experiences to work together. Our courses have also brought together diverse groups of people to overcome challenges, such as educational systems and the wellbeing of cities. We have found that making arrangements at the beginning of a course helps, however, making appointments on how to learn together is more sustainable, requiring an emotional and cognitive effort. Trust comes with a price. The latter will not be clear from the start, but takes adaptability of all course participants to unveil the essence of a shared idea to turn it into an exciting collaboration. When you create your course, think about the interaction you foresee or need between participants and how this is supported by the course’s creative pedagogies, reflections, and so on.  

  • Conflict Management: The SciCulture course brings together participants from different backgrounds and different countries to work together for five intensive days on a common project. When developing your transdisciplinary course it is crucial you acquire the knowledge needed to support participants in learning how to work collaboratively and manage conflicts. At the heart of any conflict is a disagreement over values, beliefs, and ideas. These factors can trigger strong emotions. Guiding students in learning how to manage their emotional responses, how to recognise conflicting needs, and how to examine those needs with empathy and understanding, leads to effective collaboration and creative problem-solving. Conflict is not necessarily bad. Our experience has shown that the most substantial collaborations need some conflict and lead to richer outcomes. The most important value is for them to listen to each other in order to overcome these conflicts to lead to agreed resolutions.
  • Pedagogy of Interruption: Learning through relationships is a crucial element of the SciCulture course. The course used the relationships between disciplines, people and their bodies. It also used dialogue and artistic materials to help participants develop their ideas individually and as a team. This theoretical foundation for learning is derived from Biesta’s concept of a ‘Pedagogy of Interruption’, in which educators aim to open spaces as part of an educational relationship in order for learners to ‘come into being as unique subjects’, developing their own subjectivities in relation to/with others. Use Wild Cards when designing your own course to embed the notion of ‘interruption’. Course facilitators need to maintain an ongoing engaged relationship with the participants as the course unfolds so that they are able to ‘step in’ to interrupt the flow of ideas with questions, objects or approaches to allow space for creativity, or ‘step back’ and leave the space open for participants to respond.