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Visit from Detroit to Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences

Monday 03 June 2024

From 11 to 18 May 2024, a successful COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project took place at Hochschule Ruhr West (HRW) in cooperation with Wayne State University. This marked the third project in this long-standing collaboration. The participants experienced an intensive week with joint project work in the lab, visits to renowned companies and leisure activities.

In the COIL project, students deal with the topic of automotive safety. This semester, the focus is on recognising a cyclist approaching a parked car in order to avoid so-called ‘dooring accidents’. In addition, systems for communication between road users (vehicle-to-everything communication) are being developed that generate warnings for both participants in hazardous situations. Participants are therefore required to have knowledge of high-frequency technology, communications engineering and microcontroller programming, as well as mechanics. The programme also focuses on communication and working in an international team, which poses particular challenges.

Bachelor students from the fields of vehicle electronics and electromobility, mechatronics/mechanical engineering and electrical and information technologies were involved in the project under the direction of Prof Dr Klaus Thelen. The group was supplemented by Master's students from the Systems Engineering programme. The students work together online throughout the entire semester. A group consisting of two Professors Dr. Mohammed Ismail, Dr. Lubna Alazzawi, and five students from Wayne State University traveled to HRW for the one-week attendance phase of the project. The direct exchange enabled the participants to expand their specialist knowledge and learn from each other. In August, the HRW participants will be travelling to Detroit to complete the project.

In addition to the intensive project work and company visits, there was no shortage of leisure activities. The university organised numerous activities to introduce the international guests to the culture and attractions of the region. Highlights included a joint barbecue evening, a trip to Amsterdam and exploratory tours in the surrounding area. These activities created opportunities for informal dialogue and strengthened the intercultural exchange.

Since 2020, Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences has been offering COIL projects that give both students and teachers the opportunity to gain intercultural experience. These projects promote international exchange, broaden participants' professional and cultural horizons and strengthen cooperation between universities worldwide. Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences is constantly expanding the COIL programme and regularly offers similar projects to promote internationalisation and intercultural exchange.