Aalborg University is characterised by project work which significantly contributes to our students’ learning. We call this problem based project work– Problem based learning (PBL) or the Aalborg model; this is generally conducted in groups.
In all study programmes in Communication and Digital Media project work forms an integrated part of each semester. This means that, at the beginning of each semester, you will join a group of fellow students in completing a semester project based on an issue or a topic you wish to explore and which falls within your theme framework.
The form of study of problem oriented project work is highly beneficial. For one thing, two heads are better than one – you will notice how you may come up with even more ideas in a group setting and engage in insightful discussions.
Secondly, choosing which topic to focus on in your project helps strengthen your learning and working process. You and your group are responsible for raising a question, an issue or a contradiction which you wish to explore. This means that you will have a natural curiosity towards the topic you will be exploring throughout the semester which will keep you motivated and trigger your desire to dig deeper into the topic. In other words, you are sowing the seeds yourself and to many students this is more motivating than simply completing a project based on a fictitious case or a predefined task.
Thirdly, problem oriented project work often calls for including various theories, methods and academic disciplines. Working on a project then becomes the perfect opportunity for you to try to grapple with the theories and methods introduced in your courses. And since you have chosen the topic of your project yourself, you and your group will be responsible for uniting different theories, methods and analytical tools to make these fit with your problem formulation. This will help develop and improve your level of reflection and abstraction.
Moreover, working on the projects will encourage creative thinking and teach you to combine theory and practice. You will learn that this is where you get to explore theories in detail and learn to practically address issues – a skill which will greatly increase your employability upon graduation.
And finally, when working in groups you will be able to get much more work done. You can write a longer project and distribute the tasks between you. For example, a few of you might study various theories while others are responsible for transcribing your empirical data, etc. You may also divide the responsibility of completing the different sections of your project.
Further information on writing projects and working in groups.
You can also download the SLP book (in Danish only) which may be used as a toolbox for how you and your group can work on completing your project.
If you need inspiration for your project, you may find it by browsing the Project Library. In the Digital Project Library you will find a vast amount of projects from all semesters.
What are the characteristics of a successful project group? We posed this question to Per Michael Johansen, the Rector of AAU, and PBL expert Bettina Dahl Søndergaard (in Danish). Watch the video on YouTube.