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Students Gain Global Experience through POLE Course and Conference

Christine MillerChristine Miller, Clinical Associate Professor of Innovation, and students from her M.B.A. special topics course Innovation through Project Oriented Learning: Telecommunications from Morse Code to the Cloud, attended the physical launch of the POLE (Project Oriented Learning Experience) program at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Windisch, Switzerland, February 8-15. IIT Stuart is the only business school of the nine universities in this term’s global collaboration.

The course is part of the POLE global study platform, which utilizes communication and information technologies to encourage cross- cultural and disciplinary collaboration among international university students. Miller and students Beth Schwindt (M.B.A./M.Des.), Shreeyeh Rajan (B.S.B.A.), and John Holden (B.S.B.A.) traveled to the University for the formation of global student teams and to Geneva for project launch meetings with industry sponsors.

IIT Stuart partnered with the University and other schools to collaborate with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations specialized agency, in Geneva, Switzerland on the Internet of Things (IoT). The work of the teams was incorporated into an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the ITU to visualize the history and future of telecommunications from Morse code to telephones to satellite communication and beyond.

Holden, who served as project manager for his team, said the most beneficial aspect of POLE is the collaboration with individuals from other countries. In addition, he found the conference experience to be an “amazing exercise in communication, mediation, and flexibility.”

“I am getting experience managing a team close to a real world, professional level,” he said. “I'm not just learning concepts and communication skills, I'm learning how to deal with conflict, how to mediate and transfer risk, and how to not only lead a team, but to be a part of it.”

Through virtual teaming and the face-to-face working session in Switzerland, IIT Stuart students experienced unique opportunities to apply their disciplinary knowledge in a real-world project while developing their ability to work on multicultural, cross-disciplinary teams.

This spring was the first time the course was offered at IIT Stuart, and Miller said her hope is for the course to be offered annually.