Collaborative Learning with Sustainability-driven Projects: A Summary of the EPS@ISEP Programme

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Manuel Santos Silva
Benedita Malheiro
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<jats:p>This paper describes the collaborative learning environment, aligned with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, provided by the European Project Semester (EPS). EPS is a one semester capstone project programme offered by eighteen European engineering schools as part of their student ex-change programme portfolio. In this international programme, students are organized in teams, grouping individuals from diverse academic backgrounds and nationalities. The teams, after choosing a project proposal, become fully responsible for the conduction of their projects. By default, project proposals refer to open multidisciplinary real problems. The purpose of the project is to expose students to problems of a greater dimension and complexity than those faced throughout the degree programme as well as to put them in con-tact with the so-called real world, in opposition to the academic world. EPS provides an integrated framework for undertaking capstone projects, which is focused on multicultural and multidisciplinary teamwork, communication, problem-solving, creativity, leadership, entrepreneurship, ethical reasoning and global contextual analysis. Specifically, the design and development of sustainable systems for growing food allow students not only to reach the described objectives, but to foster sustainable development practices. As a re-sult, we recommend the adoption of this category of projects within EPS for the benefit of engineering students and of the society as a whole.</jats:p>