Rethinking higher education
Our new and intensive programs require a new educational concept.
Or as we at CODE would say: This is how higher education always should be.
With CODE, our founders wanted to create a completely new educational concept. They wanted to move away from teacher-centered classrooms, from exams that demand rote knowledge that will be immediately forgotten, and from grades that only reflect a small part of your actual knowledge spectrum. Instead, they have developed a new learning concept: Curiosity-Driven Education (which is also evident in our name “C<>DE”).
We decided that in order to learn how to be a productive member of an international and interdisciplinary team, your learning environment should provide you with lots of opportunities to work in teams. As for the development of problem-solving skills, you would be presented with real-life problems to solve over and over again. Finally, to help you develop (or better rediscover) your eagerness to learn, we created a learning environment where students’ main driver for learning would be their own curiosity.
The knowledge transfer always takes place in the context of interdisciplinary projects, which are among other things, developed with our partners and are intended to ensure a practical learning experience. Our professors do not wish to solely impart their knowledge to you, but rather try to support and strengthen you on your individual learning path.
What does that actually mean? Our president Manuel gave a TED Talk about the need to transform education and explains the learning concept behind CODE. Check it out:
What strikes me about CODE is its approach to education. Here the professors sit by my side, guiding me through the roads and highways I’m unfamiliar with. I’m given the driver’s seat, where I can actively take charge of my education and pick my own path. Here people study, not because they’re told to, but because they want to. Knowing I have the support to make my own informed choices reinforces the notion that in the end, only I get to decide who I can or cannot be.MALIK PIARA, Product Management student
Learning at CODE starts with the orientation semester, where all first-semester students get introduced to CODE’s learning concept, the three study programs, and our Science, Technology & Society Program. Below you find an overview about the basic learning principles at CODE.
CODE want students to follow their own interests and drive. CODE support and guide them in it. This makes the teacher role more reactive and centered around the question how to best support and enhance a student’s learning experience.
CODE doesn’t start with theory and apply it later. From day one students get challenged with practical problems that spark curiosity and ambition – and then look for the theory that they need to solve them.
This is what makes learning both practice-oriented and curiosity-driven. Projects emphasize self-determination and self-organisation not just individually, but also on group level. Projects also get students in touch with reality from day one.
Learning is not measured in grades or in attendance, but in competence levels. CODE monitors and assesses what students are actually capable of in terms of skills and competences acquired, not where they learn or how much time they spent learning.
CODE use existing first-class (online) learning resources for standard teaching content. This frees teaching time and resources for interactive teaching, intense mentoring on an individual and group level, and workshops and lectures focussed on students’ actual needs and demands.
Based oCODE thinks there is a high overlap between the three study programs and therefore encourage students to study in a way that covers more than the small core of their fields and to get to know the other disciplines’ perspectives.
CODE thinks there is a high overlap between the three study programs and therefore encourage students to study in a way that covers more than the small core of their fields and to get to know the other disciplines’ perspectives.
Personal development is an essential part of CODE’s educational approach. The mandatory Science, Technology and Society Program empowers students to develop scientific thinking and critical judgement skills, while a series of workshops on interpersonal skills supports our students’ teamwork, leadership and communication skills.
I like to say it’s an attitude of not just thinking outside the box, but not even seeing the box.SAFRA A. CATZ
Our projects are an integral part of CODE’s learning concept. You will work in a team that is interdisciplinary and comprises two to six team members. Projects allow you to gather professional skills during your study program. Project challenges can be centred on a customer-driven problem, a commercial opportunity, or simply as an open-ended exploratory question allowing you to research, experiment and prototype.
The individual projects are innovative and very diverse. They come from different fields and cover a broad thematic spectrum. Why? Partners, professors and students can submit proposals and sketches equally and thus create an exciting mix of projects.
The most important criteria? The quality of the idea. Twice a year, our project committee will evaluate every project description that has been submitted for the coming semester. Only projects that have been approved by the committee will be unlocked for students.
As soon as the committee approves and unlocks a project, you can apply for one of the roles in the project. An individual preparation phase before the start of the project ensures that everyone is well prepared and that the project team can get off to a flying start.
Once all students have been assigned to their projects for the coming semester, the challenge-based learning begins.
In the first step everyone starts preparing for their roles and responsibilities. Whether to rely on books,or different online resources for your preparation is a decision you have to make for yourself. Talk to your fellow students or get together with members from other teams with similar roles and responsibilities. Our teaching staff offers advice and any help you need.
About once a week the teams will meet with their team coach, who is part of our teaching staff. His or her responsibility is not to give you technical advice or assist you in managing your tasks. Instead he or she will discuss with you the quality of your collaboration and communication as an interdisciplinary team, conflicts between team members and how to resolve them and how you can improve as a team. This is the second part of the challenge-based learning.
During term time, students can attend weekly expert meetups, each one focussing on an important technology, framework, product-management topic or design aspect. Each guild, which represents the third part of our challenge-based learning approach, has a designated expert who organizes and moderates their meetup sessions. The meetups do not have a fixed agenda or curriculum. Instead, students can present a case, a question or a problem they are facing with their project.
I wanted to study at CODE because the learning concept is simply perfect for me. Through many practical projects, I am able to gain skills which will actually help me realize my own ideas.Louisa Weyerhäuser, student at CODE
When you enroll, we will assign you a mentor according to your individual profile. They will offer guidance and advice on how you can make your individual learning experience at CODE as valuable as possible.
At the very beginning of your study program and at the end of each semester you will have a long talk with your academic mentor. Talk to them about where you stand in terms of competence and experience, what projects and roles to choose for the next semester and what internships to apply for.
Each semester, our professors will offer different workshops that represents an important part of technology’s impact on society and organize a series of open lectures around it. The lectures are given by members of our teaching staff as well as external experts. As a student you are expected to attend, ask intelligent questions, and join the discussion with the lecturer and the audience following the lecture.
All sorts of things can happen when you’re open to new ideas and playing around with things.Stephanie Kwolek, American chemist who invented synthetic fibres
The program therefore takes an interdisciplinary perspective, encouraging approaches drawn from a variety of disciplines such as history, sociology, philosophy, economics, political science and international relations.
In the STS seminars and workshops, you will get a chance to study the works of writers, historians, and artists; to discuss fundamental philosophical, sociological and ethical concepts; and engage in theater, music and art performance. This will provide you with the opportunity to improve your critical thinking and creative abilities, to broaden your horizons, and to gain a deep understanding of the challenges our society faces today.
Each semester, you are expected to successfully participate in at least one seminar or workshop from our Science, Technology & Society Program.