Why a problem based course portfolio?


We conceived problem-centered approach as a creative-innovative method of teaching and learning, which is best suited to equip students not only with theoretical and empirical knowledge, but also with the ability to design research strategies, to use methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation. We considered that in a fast changing social environment problem-centered learning can be regarded  as a  very appropriate way to  effectively link theory, research and social practice .The basic transferable skills to be developed during the course included the ability to analyze and interpret complex, contradictory and quickly changing social contexts; as well as the capability of students to effectively link theory, research and social practice. In this way, in our course design, the problem-solving method appears organically linked to two other fundamental concepts of innovative learning, namely, learning by discovery and participative learning

In order to achieve the desired outcome, we decided to abandon the formal demarcation lines between lectures and seminars. In fact our classes were designed as a kind of workshops, based on a permanent interaction between students and lecturers. During classroom-discussions we focused on basic - seemingly contradictory - contemporary developments such as localization-globalization; regionalism-integration; homogenization-diversification etc. The lecturers raised problems such as how to overcome differences in the level of economic development, how to deal with the lack of legal harmonization, or with cultural differences. Students have been asked to offer solutions.

The problem solving method was designed with a focus on the discussion and evaluation of particular legal frameworks and institution building policies in the field of regional and cross-border cooperation in the post-communist region. in view of the requirements of the European integration process. In order to link as much as possible theoretical and factual knowledge to research and social practice, students have been asked to develop models of regional cooperation in various fields in the Hungary-Romania border region.

In view of the same objective, the course activities included other innovative components as well: