Halfway: student experiences of the Expedition

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How are things inside the Expedition? We are now in week 11 of the Expedition. 6 projects have started up. It’s been a rollercoaster rollicky ride, and we have now started work on 6 design projects, which will bring forth innovative solutions for Dutch asylum seekers, patients of a children’s outpatient clinic, young families and students wishing to improve their food habits, pupils looking for proper study and career advice. Last week we shared reflections on the educational sides of the Expedition. What is it you learn? What is the added value? How different is it from previous courses? These questions were discussed in posts and in an interview with newcomers to the Expedition (who will start in february).

AND we went to Berlin of course..

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Here’s what students talked about:

EVALUATION week 2.10 of the minor. (11 weeks into the course)

PART 1: STUDENT RESPONSES to the question from Simon Kavanagh, KAOS PILOTS – 20 november

• How have you experienced this minor so far?
• What is different about this minor?
• What added value does this minor bring to you?

The Expedition minor differs greatly from previous lessons in the first three years of my study. I have enjoyed it very much so far, because the cooperation among students, teachers and companies really comes across. ACT students can help HHO and FM students design and help them use tools such as Photoshop and INdesign. The different companies we visited every week, bring a great input so that we can develop new and creative ideas. I think it is positive that everyone gets the opportunity to give feedback, to each other and about the content of the lessons, so that the minor will further improve. I have noticed that the people contributing to this minor, really DO want to change things in society, and this passion is what they bring across. This makes participation in the Expedition fun and educational. (Roos, HHO student)

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What I enjoy most during this minor is the autonomy which we get. The teachers are not just there to tell us a story with a powerpoint, but to help us with our project when we have questions or get stuck. We are free to fill in the assignment as we think is best. Although we do need to stick to certain guidelines, but these guidelines do not stand in the way of our own creativity and ideas. Every student has his own ideas and way of working, but combining these is what makes the minor interesting. I am working with students from different courses within Saxion and because of that we get different outcomes to our assignments because we all have a different way of looking at things. (Maartje, HHO student)

I think it is innovative that we have the feeling we are in a group rather than in a class. This means that we are more open towards each other and we share a lot. We have many field trips so that we saw many different aspects of society. Without this minor, I would probably never have seen these. An example is our visit to refugees in Amsterdam.
To me as a future hospitality expert, the added value is that you dive deeply into hospitality. In my course I did the business side of hospitality but now I experience what there is behind hospitality and I have been able to see this in practice. Also, we now learn about various hospitality models which will be applicable in my future hospitality work field. I also think it is very good to discover your own attitude towards things (in particular hospitality) and that you think about how you feel about these and why. You really get to know yourself. (Nathalie, FM student)

….To me, what is new in the minor is that the relationship between teacher and student feels a lot freer. They steer towards your own initiative and responsibility. The old habit of the teacher to “cram things into your head” disappears in this minor. This is something we need to get used to because sometimes you miss certain guidelines to be able to start on something, but it also works challenging.
The minor has had a big influence on my development, especially in the first two weeks. My eyes were opened towards different fields, by the stories of (guest) lecturers) who had different views on problems. In particular the lecture of Omar Moufakkir allowed me to look at the so-called “Moroccan problem” in a radically different way. The visit we made to asylum seekers opened my eyes because the problem of these people came quite near to us. The experiences from these two weeks stayed with me for the rest of the minor. They gave me a number of fundamental basic thoughts that had an impact on the vision which I presented in week 1.9 [Koen, ACT student]
…To me what is different and new in the curriculum of this minor is that we as students are given the freedom to let our vision on hospitality be seen for what it is. The road towards the making of our vision was inspired by all the fieldtrips we did together and by the way the classes were scheduled. In the first 2 weeks the classes focused on global citizenship and the current issues that are related to globalization. This was like the survival training period where we acquired the tools, the knowledge and more importantly the right mindset. This period was hard on some of us because the idea behind the expedition is to find your own and to trust your instincts. We each had to write a short column in which we tried to share our views. Things like racism, inequality, discrimination, ethics, the origins and history of men all became inspiration for our columns.
Then in the second period we started learning about the different theories of hospitality and that it need not only be seen from the business point of view. This journey within the expedition was where we worked together in our own individual vision while drawing inspirations from our comrades, art, fieldtrips and the theories of the different ways hospitality can be used. I went to all presentations and I must say it was really great to see how many interpretations of hospitality were presented and how it can be applied to all sorts of fields. I think if professor Conrad Lashley was present he would have been moved to see how his presentation and his articles on theorizing hospitality inspired a group of students to embark on a journey to find their own definition for that complex word.
The third part of our journey took us into the wonderful world of human-centered service design. Now we are learning the complexity of this discipline but we go forward with our expedition knowing that we have the best guides on our shoulders and that we know how to survive new challenges.
The expedition gives the students the ability to think outside the box. Before designing something we must first understand the people we are designing for. The reasoning behind this is that sometimes the people we are designing for might not know what they need. By listening to them and getting to know them we can start seeing their unspoken needs, restriction, fear and their aspiration for the future. This intuitive view can then be translated into a persona that you can you use to guide you throughout the designing process. This tool in probably one of the most important ones to be able to use. [Kevin, HM student]

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PART 2: Students’ conversation with students who have signed up for the Expedition and want to know what they should expect.

What is it like to work together?

In the different courses we learn from each other. That is really positive, because it really helps you to see things differently.

Up till now I really like it. Every week we have gone to different businesses, and we have seen entrepreneurs with a passion for their jobs, which I really liked.

I am now working on a project for an outpatient clinic for children. They want to bridge the gap between professional concept of the client organisation and the expectations of the end users.

We can also develop projects ourselves. The Expedition offers projects, but we can also develop our own projects.
One of the students has taken up a project to integrate refugees into society a little more.

What do you do in lessons?

We worked on Global Citizenship in the first two weeks. We actually visited refugees. We wrote a column about it. In the weeks after this, we had lessons to develop a vision on hospitality. So you really need to read outside of class. There is more behind hospitality than you think. So we had lectures, and we also had a lot of reflection and we had to do things ourselves.
Now in this second period, it is also less work.

The lesson structure: there is a lot of talking going on. You need to remove the word “lesson” from your mind. This was a struggle for us. If you don’t get it and you don’t ask, you won’t get it. You get less of “this is what you must do”, but more “ This is the way I see it…” You are stimulated to talk about and think about what you think is best.

Don’t hesitate to talk. We hesitated a lot at the start, but now we talk a lot more. Don’t hesitate to do this.

Is it easy or difficult?

It is fun, especially. You need to develop a vision and to support this. Every week there is a new challenge and it’s something different. We always asked ourselves: what will we do on Thursdays, on the field trips? We learnt completely new things during those field trips. We never talked to refugees before and we now actually met them. We actually felt how it was to be blind– at the muZIEum. This helped us to get to know ourselves.

What is the purpose of the field trips?

Well, different things. We experienced what it was like to be blind…. And that is what we learned from, a lot! We have also seen the hospital and we heard how they worked. Automatically, you see what is going on. Many of the field trips are really interesting.
In the second quarter you have your client projects. We still have field research on those days. You can even go and visit your own businesses and do your own field trips.

Is this minor Expedition useful for your thesis?

Yes. To develop your vision, you need to read scientific articles. You need to read them and really understand what you read. For FM in particular, we were used to the word hospitality. But in this semester we got all the models for hospitality. You read scientific articles on hospitality. In the vision presentations we saw that there were completely different visions of hospitality.

As ACT students we learn how to do things differently.

The partners we visited were really enthusiastic and they wanted to work with us. You can grab the opportunity to talk about thesis projects with them, they are open to this.

In the Expedition it is important to take your own responsibility. There are tests, but the main thing is to discover what you like and to motivate yourself to do things for yourself.

It is also nice, and sociable, and there is so much freedom. It is not really school anymore.

What do you do in Enschede?

One day a week we have lectures in Enschede and there you work on creative technology…

Now we work mostly as teams and we do a lot of talking, reflecting and analyzing.

[The participants ask the new students]: Why did you choose for the expedition?

I am looking for hospitality…. I really want to know more about this and apply this in my work later.
I was looking for two courses….
In a management traineeship you work in one company. In one company, you only get one vision of that particular company. So you will take that on. I don’t want to get stuck…
I might want to do something completely different, so I want to keep things open.

Tips to new students:

Start thinking about your foreign trip..
You need to develop your own programme for this trip, and if you know beforehand, you can really find inspiration there. It was great fun.

For the first weeks: don’t wait for others to start, start yourself!

Bastienne asks students for their grades for the minor so far. Student’s grades on a scale of 10:

8-7-7-7,5-7,5-7-7-7,5-8-6-7,5

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Improvement:
• Vision Test should be earlier, in week 5.
• The Vision Test should not be linked to the Project Proposal.

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