Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Digital Communication Leadership - DCLead approaches the vast and recent field of digital communication from an interdisciplinary and international point of view, bringing together advanced academic discussion with practical knowledge and skills. The Consortium is composed by Paris Lodron University of Salzburg,Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Aalborg University Copenhagen and Wageningen University & Research.
Author: Jessica Zier, EMJMD DCLead student. See contributors page
The DCLead Erasmus Mundus programme focuses on the key components of digital communication through recursive learning strategies and curriculum design. Students of the programme, therefore, gain the skills to become agents of change, rather than passive recipients of knowledge. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, classes have shifted from in-person to online to hybrid, and they continue to change modalities. Despite these constant changes, the programme and participants have utilized digital learning strategies that have been particularly successful and aligned with the overall mission of the programme.
Self-organization & student motivation
First, the students took charge to self-organize video chats before we arrived in Salzburg for our first semester. We scheduled three calls over the months leading to the start of the semester and successfully coordinated logistics across 10 time zones. Students have continued to self-organize as they navigate a marathon of group projects and collaborative presentations - this requires the successful navigation of both physical and virtual classroom environments.
By the time we arrived in Salzburg, our digital selves were well-known by our peers, and we had the chance to supplement those digital interactions with a week-long in-person summer school.
Hybrid classroom environment - a new perspective
However, many of the speakers and partners of the programme were unable to attend the summer school due to covid restrictions. But this was not a barrier for the DCLead programme - the speakers were live-streamed into the hall of students, and I witnessed some innovative classroom strategies to engage students from the other side of the world. One example that stood out was a renowned lecturer based in Los Angeles - she utilized a flipped classroom model whereby students read the preparatory text before class, ready to engage and delve deeper into the topic. Even from a screen, she managed the breakouts with ease and the focus on active learning was impactful. Rather than merely presenting information, students were responsible for discussing, compiling, and then co-teaching their thoughts and ideas to the rest of the class.
The combination of self-organization, collaborative group work, motivated students who understand the value of digital communication, and ongoing flexibility have all led to the successful employment of digital learning within the programme - both in practice and in theory.