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Collaboration of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly with Universities in Europe and Asia in Problem-Based Learning Planning

Collaboration of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly with Universities in Europe and Asia in Problem-Based Learning Planning

From the funded ALIEN research project
According to the Modernization Agenda for Higher Education, the sector faces certain challenges, including the effective development of the students' skills and knowledge so that they can act as efficient professionals with a positive impact on their social environment, the economic crisis, youth unemployment, the need to incorporate new methodologies into learning, the need to adapt learning to the rapid development of technology and industrial processes.
Traditional learning methodologies based on passive dissemination of information fail to effectively develop the broad skills required today in industry. Emerging learning methodologies, such as Project and Problem-Based Learning (PBL), offer significant benefits by contributing to the development of sophisticated skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Problem-based learning is an active methodology focusing on the learner. Within this framework, students develop knowledge and skills following a process of synthesis of solutions to problems that are usually based on real situations. The method offers significant benefits including the development of critical thinking, creativity, the capacity for collaboration, communication skills, inherent motivation to engage in learning, and business thinking.
The ALIEN research project (http://projectalien.eu) aims to design, implement, and validate an active learning-based learning methodology based on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The methodology will be supported by a virtual learning environment that includes a set of digital tools and will allow students to experiment, collaborate, and communicate with an extensive and multinational learning community that includes other stakeholders such as teachers and researchers.
The project is coordinated by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly. Scientific responsible for the project is Mr. Elias Houstis. Mrs. Charikleia Tsalapata is the responsible person for the organization of the project. Seventeen universities from Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Pakistan take part in the realization of the program.   
The research project will transfer the technical know-how on designing, installing, and full support of problem-based learning laboratories, which will consist of equipment, digital learning environment that will be developed in the context of the project, technical support and human resources support, from the European universities to the universities in Asia.
The expected impact of ALIEN is the institutional strategic adoption of active learning as the main pedagogical approach to education. The ALIEN research project is funded by the ERASMUS + Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) project, which aims to strengthen cooperation between European and developing universities.
From June 20 to June 22, the first project consortium meeting is being held at the Tsalapatas Multiplex with the participation of 40 representatives of the universities participating in the research project. The president of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mr Lefteris Tsoukalas and Professor Ioanna Laliotou will give a brief welcome during the consortium.
Invited speaker to the consortium is Professor Dimitra Evangelou from the Democritus University of Thrace.