Challenges and opportunities of the adoption of collaborative, multidisciplinary, project-based approaches: The case of NMSPCam project
© 2019 University of Minho. All rights reserved.Many higher education institutions, namely engineering and applied sciences schools have been adopting innovative, active learning methodologies, not only to respond to contemporary world challenges, but to prepare students to be professionals capable of responding to the demands of the new society. One of methodologies that has gained acceptance over the last decade is project-based learning (PjBL), which is believed to empower the development of cognitive skills, important for the training of future engineers, such as knowledge transfer, critical thinking and metacognitive strategies, fundamental for a better response to the current labour market needs. PjBL approaches often require a collaborative, multidisciplinary context, because the focus is on real world problems, which need to be analysed at the light of, and to bring together, contributions from different knowledge fields. In this article we present the adoption of the PjBL methodology within NMSPCAM project, whose main aim is to develop new media solutions (e.g. digital games and videomapping projections) aiming at raising awareness and value cultural heritage in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. The project was conceived and developed as a multidisciplinary cooperative project-based learning program, and the outcomes comprise contributions from different degree levels (Technical Superior Courses, Bachelor's and Master's), and different programmes (Computer Graphics and Multimedia Engineering, Education, Tourism and Arts) offered by two Polytechnic Institutions in the North of Portugal (Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo and Instituto Politécnico de Bragança). Initial results show that a multidisciplinary, cooperative PjBL context can be a valuable experience, with both opportunities and challenges for students and teachers. On one hand it is highly demanding on integrating all participants involved, namely curricula and teaching methods, as they differ according to each HEI's framework. But, on the other hand, it represents a unique and enriching experience, offering students conditions to the development of problem-solving, teamwork and lifelong learning skills, as well as technical knowledge, beyond that of individual achievement.