Project management - an environment for increased personal and interpersonal skills

Project management - an environment for increased personal and interpersonal skills

S. Mejtoft, S. Berglund (2015).  Project management - an environment for increased personal and interpersonal skills. 11.

At Umeå University, several technological study programs seek to follow the CDIO approach. One of these programs educates future production managers in the media industry and to be qualified in their future professional role, it is essential for these students to get enhanced knowledge and skills in project management. With the right implementation, large parts of the personal and interpersonal skills listed in the CDIO Syllabus (CDIO 2010) can be met.

In the fall of 2010, Umeå Institute of Technology initiated a project to enhance the skills regarding project management for the teachers (Byström & Berglund, 2013). During this project, some of the study program's pedagogical and subject-qualified teachers received the skills they lacked in order to be able to successfully develop and provide project-based courses.

This case study illustrates how changes in the structure of courses and study programs increase students' personal and interpersonal skills. The didactic methods used are based on CDIO and project management. To verify the results of the implemented changes, student surveys, course evaluations and interviews with both students and lecturers has been conducted in spring 2014.

To follow the CDIO approach (CDIO 2010) by integrating project management as a recurring element throughout the program gives students the opportunity to, as Crawley, Malmqvist, Östlund and Brodeur (2010) points out, practice generic skills on several occasions and in different contexts. To provide this to the students, the program was restricted in 2011. Students now take a project management course in the first semester of their education. During this course, the students receive professional knowledge and skills that is meant to be further used in the following project-based courses. To ensure progression, two strategic courses: Web and Multimedia Production and News Production for Television were revised in the autumn of 2013. Teachers participating in the enhancement skill project (Byström & Berglund, 2013) has subsequently been trusted to develop these courses so that students now may apply different project models and methods, and practicing various project roles common in the industry. A professional project manager from the Swedish public service television company (SVT) has participated in the course News Production for Television as a lecturer which has resulted in a more realistic project design.

The result shows that the well-implemented changes to the program and courses have led to an environment of increased personal and interpersonal skills for the students. Lecturers within the program highlight that students at a higher degree work more independently, execute projects more successfully and deliver better presentations in subsequent project-based subject-related courses. Moreover, it is also shown that the student group has taken more responsibility in projects and for their own role in the learning process. Analyzing the results, it is clear that the students have grown as individuals since they obtained a clearer identity as production manager and feel more confident before the final degree project and future career.

Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

Authors (New): 
Sara Mejtoft
Stefan Berglund
Umeå University, Sweden
Project management
Generic skills
personal and interpersonal skills
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO standard 4
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 9
CDIO Standard 11
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