Practice Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


The Athens network of technological institutions and universities offers students international exchange experiences through intensive specialization courses during a brief period. Yet, it is challenging to effectively explain complex research topics to students in only one week, while offering at the same time self-paced learning perspectives instead of absorbing expert lectures as a passive student. Furthermore, students often experience a knowledge gap with the 'international experts' they are consulting, which hinders vivant exchange of ideas during discussions. In this context, we report our experiences of a newly designed crash course within the field of soft robotics that was offered to a group of international students. Our approach is a concept of combining flipped teaching, peer learning and student empowerment within engineering sciences. A scenario is elaborated and finetuned in which students experience a set of (semi-)self-paced activities and achieve the learning goals in a (semi-)independent way. This includes a preparatory activity and, on the spot, (re- )active learning through peer-discussion on emerging topics in the field of soft robotics and collaborative creation of a simple, functional, soft robot. The daily progress of the research topic and design challenge is checked, and the progression of the associated expertise is mapped. Students especially appreciate the positive atmosphere with a focus on a growth-mindset, the teamwork experience, and the opportunity to discuss on an expert level. The message we wish to pass is that our transferrable educational setup generates strong learning dynamics that radiates out to the students and the supporting didactic team.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.