A highly practical approach
Students of digital design at AU learn all about theory by carrying out practical assignments. Associate professor Lone Koefoed Hansen has been presented with the Aarhus University Anniversary Fund’s Pedagogical Award of Honour for 2012.
Lone Koefoed Hansen, an associate professor in digital design at AU, gave her new students a two-week assignment on their very first day at the university. She asked them to imagine a brand-new type of smartphone – and to produce a video showing how the new phone should be used. The assignment was inspired by a patent ruling in the US in which Samsung were convicted of having broken some of Apple’s smartphone patents.
“It was a huge success. The students produced some outstanding videos, helping us to discuss how to design smartphones in the future. The assignment taught them a lot about their subject, because they had to find out what the patents involved. It also taught them a lot about method, because they had to find out how people actually use their smartphones,” she explains.
Lone Koefoed Hansen motivates her students by asking them to carry out practical assignments. She underlines that lectures can be useful in many ways, but that other teaching methods are more suitable if you want to get your students more involved.
“In many cases – at least in my field – practical assignments are a great way to help students understand complex issues,” she says.
University isn’t like school
Practical assignments don’t just help to make complicated issues more comprehensible – they can also help the students to find out what they’re really enthusiastic about.
“There are lots of university students who haven’t discovered their dreams yet. I see it as my mission to help as many of them as possible to identify their personal ambitions. One way of doing this is to put them in situations which force them to think for themselves instead of listening passively to lectures,” she says.
Aarhus University was officially opened on 11 September 1928 and holds an annual celebration to commemorate its founding.