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Friday 06 October 2023

Mülheim a.d.R., 06.10.2023 - In the last week of September, a group of 21 students and teachers from the University in Johannesburg visited the Hochschule Ruhr West. The aim of the visit was to establish a long-term cooperation between the two universities within the framework of a COIL project (Collaborative Online International Learning). In COIL projects, teachers from different countries organize a joint course in which students work together online.

The group from South Africa consisted of students and teachers in the Master's program in Business Administration. The hosts from the Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences were Prof. Dr. Isabel Lausberg, Prof. Dr. Michael Vogelsang and Prof. Dr. Michael Römmich from the Faculty of Business Administration and the team of the International Office. Together with the Vice Dean of the Faculty Prof. Dr. Sonja Schade the group from Johannesburg was welcomed. During the welcome speeches, other South African students, who could not participate in the trip, joined the group online.

In a subsequent project phase, German and South African students worked together in randomly drawn groups to develop business plans for companies. The students were asked to use ChatGPT as a support, which led to interesting perspectives. In addition to intercultural and language challenges, the groups were characterized by great diversity. The students from South Africa already had one or even two degrees as well as several years of professional experience - this is a requirement for the Master of Business Administration. The cooperation in the teams was nevertheless - or precisely because of this - very enriching. At the end of the group work, the business plans were presented and two winning teams were chosen.

In addition to the project work, there was also an extensive social program: The visitors were guided through the laboratories and workshops at the university, the headquarters of Supply and Trading of RWE were visited, there was a guided tour of the Zeche Zollverein and the student body of the economics department organized a barbecue.

COIL projects have been successfully taking place at the Hochschule Ruhr West since 2020. Through these projects, HRW students and faculty have the opportunity to gain intercultural experience. The collaboration with the University of Johannesburg would be the second cooperation with an African country after Nigeria.


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