This September, the Abdullah Gül University introduced a new course to its recently re-designed Global Challenges Core Curriculum.
Undergraduate students at the Abdullah Gül University have been building a strong, multidisciplinary knowledge and skills foundation from their very first year of Faculty classes, via the AGU Core Curriculum.
The University’s unique new Core Curriculum is designed to give students the key understanding on the Global Challenges of tomorrow and how to tackle them, as well as to develop their personal, entrepreneurial and civic skills as students of a Third Generation University.
Students will also solidify their scientific knowledge and skills base, via program-specific Science, Language and/or Math courses, which are compulsory for all Undergraduate students.
This program was designed in answer to employers’ search for graduates who:
- Are aware of scientific and technological advances
- Have completed internships and other hands-on applications
- Developed Critical thinking and analytical questioning skills
- Have Communication skills
- Are aware of Global Issues
The new AGU Global Challenges Core Curriculum (GCCC) will feature a total of 6 different courses taught throughout the four Undergraduate academic years and focusing on topics such as:
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship
As part of the AGU GCCC course content, the newly inaugurated “AGU Ways” course serves as a platform for students to seek solutions to Global Challenges in an innovative and stimulating class environment.
“AGU Ways” was created with two main objectives in mind:
- Introducing new Undergraduate students to the AGU “Way” of teaching and learning, as well as the philosophy of our GCCC and its five other Global Challenges courses
- Establishing a culture of discussion, “Learning by Doing”, teamwork and participatory learning
During the weekly 3-hour sessions, students and professors forego the traditional classroom setting in favor of an open hall, encouraging group discussions and active participation of students. “AGU Ways” can be considered as an example of contemporary teaching, as, in effect, it consists in very little lecturing. Instead, the students are expected to read/watch the course course content in preparation of their sessions and come to the course prepared to discuss the material in groups.
Three types of discussion groups are implemented during an “AGU Ways” class:
- BA.T.s (Base Teams) are the core groups consisting of 6 students
- CA.T.s (Case Teams) bring together 5-6 B.A.T. groups
- The entire classroom joins together as the CO.W. group (Commons of the Whole)
The class is coordinated by four professors and four research assistants and taught to a group of around 150 first year undergraduate students.
Over the course of an “AGU Ways” session, a short introductory presentation is generally given by the week’s speaker (either an AGU Professor or a guest speaker), followed by BA.T. group discussions on the week’s topic.
BA.T.s then assemble into their CA.T. formations to consolidate their various BA.T. outputs, prepare a common presentation and elect their speakers to present their findings to the CO.W. assembly. The session then ends with a general discussion and concluding remarks.
The “AGU Ways” syllabus for the semester was planned in three sections:
- The first 5 weeks serve to give students the necessary infrastructure for the course and focus on Global Challenges, Ways of Changing (finding solutions to these challenges), Ways of Knowing (how to conduct research) and Ways of Learning
- For the following 2 weeks, students will study the concepts of Technological Impact (e.g. the invention of smartphones), a Global Challenge (Poverty) and a Local Impact (Sustainable Cities: Kayseri Case). They are then asked to design their own institution; a university structure combining the subjects from their first weeks of class.
- Finally, during their last two weeks of class, students reflect on what they have learned during the semester, give critical feedback on the course structure and content and re-design/improve the course for next year’s first year students.
“AGU Ways” and the new AGU Global Challenges Core Curriculum offer an innovative and unique learning experience to the University’s students. Currently, no other examples of such an education program exist in other higher education institutions in or outside of Turkey.
The singularity of the program lies not only in the course content itself, but also in the fact that it introduces active-learning classes as an integral part of the curriculum, starting immediately in the first weeks of AGU’s Undergraduate programs (whereas most institutions will apply such methods for Graduate courses only).
The AGU GCCC is without doubt set to challenge AGU students’ minds in a revolutionary (AGU) Way!