Ad-hoc Education and Research method is based on the idea that for any new run of the course/program the curriculum is re-created each time and all the participants participated in this process as well as all the processes related to the program, even partly to an admission campaign. The course organizer (curator) describes in the brief notice which topics he wants to explore and learn. Those descriptions are used to attract other students (participants) and experts (advanced participants). For the participants the course is free as well as advanced participants are not paid – they must see other than money benefits of participation. As the participants are on board (in the admission process they also participate in interviewing each other) they start to be involved together with the curator in designing and operating the course. The outcomes are: – participant have experiences in co-creating educational environments/ecosystems (communities are also often created as a side-effect) – the knowledge is found/created and acquired / skills are trained.
In which context was the method developed?
School and university students are mostly still taught in the top-down model. Ad-hoc Education and Research is by design gives them practice where they are the main educators and researchers, they learn how to create their courses particularly for themselves and for the group they are in. It means they identify topics and find experts who can provide most actual and deep insights, if an expert is not professional in sharing his/her knowledge they also learn how to prepare and ask questions, to have the knowledge presented without bothering an expert to dedicate additional time to prepare a lecture/workshop. The practice also shows that even if there are top experts in a particular field they are easily reachable and open to sharing (pro bono) when the whole approach of Ad-hoc Education and Research method becomes clear to them. As most often we use this approach for areas where still no well-developed courses and trainings all the participants are co-creators and experts also can benefit by structuring their knowledge during the process.
The area and topics of the graduate project are extremely wide, the only key requirement is that the result has to be needed and use at least for 2-3 persons, but not for the sake of having a graduate thesis completed.
Settings and participants the method is best suited for
All the participants have not to be too tight/limited by surrounding context, systems, and time frames.
We didn’t try it remotely (online), but I suggest it could also work via Zoom and other collaborative tools.
Experiences with the method
This method I used to create and run for 4 years of the program ‘Game|Changers’.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameChangers It was aimed at highly motivated students and recent graduates of technical and non- technical universities who desire to investigate the IT industry and contribute with the best they can to the cause. It consisted of: classes with experts and key persons from the IT industry, Universities, marketing and management fields; intensive networking; project-based work; internships in leading IT companies, business incubators and venture funds. Lectures and master classes were important, but the emphasis was on learning through discussions, case studies and individual and group research projects as well as reading. The program was in St. Petersburg (Russia) for four semesters with a few visits to Moscow, Finland, and co-working abroad. Semester I was a theoretical one and consists of weekly classes, homework and research tasks. Semester II was devoted to special tracks, a minimum of two of which were chosen by a participant. Semesters III and IV were allocated for graduate projects. Participation for students required about 4–8 study hours and 8– 16 homework hours weekly.
Photos are here https://www.facebook.com/GameChangersRussia/ first beta version of the program web-site https://sites.google.com/site/itindustryintro/