Purpose of the case study
Today, ICT increasingly penetrates into the various sectors of human life. There are present voices from the students and practice that provided education is not adequately linked to the practice. In order to enable universities to prepare students for practice, it is necessary to involve practice into education actively. In our case, one nice example is presented by cooperation with T-Systems company. T-Systems operates information and communication technology (ICT) systems for multinational corporations and public sector institutions. On this basis, T-Systems offers corporate and business customers integrated solutions for the networked future of business and society. T-Systems provides support to companies in all industries. At T-Systems are guided by three core values – innovation, simplicity and competence. Its solutions for customers is built on efficient and innovative technologies and on a clear understanding of customer needs.
This company actively participates on the educational process at our faculty (Faculty of Economics, TUKE) through practical lectures, exercises and specialized subjects concerned on using specialized software and the company’s processes, via internships of our students directly in the company or via various student competitions and the labor supplies. Quite often form of cooperation is work on real projects, resp. participation on the different problems solution through bachelor’s and master’s thesis. Searching for students for such kind of work is not easy. At present, this process is carried out following: the company offers a problem/cooperation to faculty management. Then the teacher that is interested in such work is searched using faculty’s mailing list. Afterwards the teacher tries to find the students. This process takes long time (app. few weeks) when neither knows whether it will be a demand from the students’ side for such a project/cooperation. In many cases the result is, that companies stop propose such kind of cooperation to universities despite of interest from the side of universities. Despite the fact that on both sides of the process is interest in cooperation, collaboration often does not occur because, possible participants are not informed sufficiently and on time.
Implementation of SP4CE portal
SP4CE Portal (available at sp4ce.eu) presents interesting solutions of above described problem. The portal itself contain online information about the project SP4CE itself, guides for particular target groups (coaches, mentors, students), interesting learning materials, contributions to the various conferences and from the point of view of the above-described problem solution special part – challenge/call: “Send us your project proposal“. Via this challenge can anyone call for the help. It is tool for looking for people interested in solving different kind of problems or for searching the partners for future cooperation operating in same of different areas. In the case of match of the challenge participants, administrator creates a Learning Room, specialized place, where can all together cooperate after signing up to a system. This challenge process works on the principle developed within EACEA project “OpenInn2.0: A Knowledge Generating House and e-Assessment Model”, where the platform Knowledge Generating House was used to generate groups of investigators and innovative solutions to very specific problems.
Who are the users?
- Coach – HR manager working at the T-Systems who defines challenge. The challenge contains information like Project proposal, Description, Example resources, Language a Deadline for achieving the solution/results.
- Mentor – university teacher, replies on the challenge, adds comments, proposes time schedule and possible group of students.
- Students – university students with interest in challenge topic
How they can use portal?
- Read general information – all users have access to general information (about SP4CE project, different kind of guides, learning materials, conference papers, etc.).
- Search for partner among education institutes – via link: “Send us your project proposal” can anybody publish a challenge for searching new partners, problem solution.
There is no need to any special software for using portal sp4ce.eu. The portal is accessible via any web-browser (eg. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, IE, etc.).
The T-Systems company is global company with large clientele, what means a number of project documents, therefore it searches for potential employees every year. The management of the company decided to prepare their future employees during their study in the project management field. HR department has to find suitable candidates for such cooperation.
How it was realized?
Using portal sp4ce.eu HR department representative publishes challenge (Fig. 1).
HR Consultant 2016-04-15 at 06:51
Project proposal: How to write a good IT project.
Description: T-Systems looking for motivated young people interested in project management to participate on project proposal development at our company. All resources needed for project proposal development will be provided.
Language: English, Slovak
Fig. 1 Screenshot of sp4ce.eu portal and example of published challenge
- The university teacher replies on the challenge.
- Via discussion tool at the portal company describes the requirement in more details and discussed it with teacher.
- Since both sides of communication agree on fact, that there is need for materials that cannot be published public, HR manager asks portal administrator to open a new Learning Room (LR) for newly formatted group.
Findings, recommendations and variations
How it develops partnership cooperation
Through publishing challenge, portal SP4CE presents a gateway for establishing cooperation. Subsequently is this call transformed into LR where the where the cooperation really can take place at several levels using various features of the SP4CE platform. The advantage of this open SP4CE portal is that to one challenge can reply users from different institutions, which further can work together also on other projects in other areas.
- Most significant risk should be lack of interest form users, i.e. despite the publication of the call, no one will respond and the challenger will have to use other ways of establishing cooperation.
- Another risk may be presented by huge interest in cooperation and following hard decision with whom to establish co-work together.
- Time limitations – in case that the challenger specify the time limit for achieving the reply or solution, it can happen that nobody will manage to log on to the call during expected time.
What not to do / be aware of the following
It is important to define the call very precisely with useful details to avoid misunderstandings. Very general call could meet with disinterest of other users.