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Picking up momentum in transforming education – oikos In Your Residence in Retrospect

Necessity is the mother of invention. When the COVID19 pandemic broke out we had to make major changes and transform the second edition of oikos In Residence. Originally planned to take place in Turin, the situation didn’t allow us to bring participants to the northern-Italian city, so we went for the second-best thing – bringing oikos to their residences. Hence, we dubbed this edition ‘oikos In Your Residence’, subtly hinting at the fact the participants had the opportunity to join in from the comfort of their own rooms.

A few months into the pandemic, everyone’s familiar with Zoom as a tool for just such things, but we further enhanced the experience by bringing in Miro and created a huge collaborative whiteboard to boost participants’ interactions.

With sixteen amazing facilitators joining in across five sessions, supported by our six awesome team members, the dozens of participants joined forces in making a big step towards making curriculum change a reality.

Communication is important, but just how important it is to communicate effectively about curriculum change was answered in the first session, featuring presentations by Ali Norrish from Economy and  Marc Beckmann from Economists4Future and discussions about the best way to reach different audiences.

In the second session, facilitators from local oikos chapters, highlighted the steps which are already implemented at different universities or schools in an effort to change education. We also discussed concrete steps to be taken when implementing change in our respective schools while identifying the stakeholders and allies for such initiatives.

In order to change the curriculum, we need to be able to review it and get to know what needs to change. This was the goal of the third session which got participants to review their own universities’ curriculums. It equipped them with a roadmap for designing their own curriculum review research projects, and highlighted how different methodological decisions can help achieve different objectives with the project. The session further engaged them with the opportunity to analyse real data from a recent curriculum review.

The fourth session, “Curriculum of the future” encouraged participants to envision what the curriculum could look like.  Their ideas and expectations were gathered into a ‘bucket’ which reflected on what ideal curriculum should be and what are the roles of different stakeholders in making it a reality.

The final session was a workshop on “Designing your own course”. This session was also a part of the Rethinking Economics Festival 2020 where participants worked with building blocks of economics and business education to create unique new classes. The workshop was based on both the  forthcoming book “Economy Studies” and oikos’ ongoing “Design Your Own Curriculum” project.

This concluded the second edition of oikos In Residence. The series of workshops gave us a platform not only to analyse and brainstorm the methods and ways to implement curriculum change, but also to review it frequently and improvise on the feedback. With more residences on their way in the future, the next step is to focus on increasing the reach of curriculum changers across the globe by supporting students to run similar workshops at their universities.

We would like to thank everyone who took part and helped make oikos In Your Residence a reality – from participants to facilitators to the team behind the project!