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Monday, July 10 • 16:30 - 17:00
3108 University for Business and Technology Knowledge Center: Making Local Knowledge Visible

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In setting the aspirational vision for University for Business and Technology, founder Dr. Edmond Harjrizi sought to educate Kosovo students to become active contributors to the society and at the workplace, within the country, the Baltic region, and beyond. For historical reasons, success initially depended on inviting lecturers and scholars from abroad, as reflected in the university’s brand statement, ‘American European Education’. Now, after more than a decade of successfully educating Kosovo graduates and developing Kosovo instructors, the University plans to further awareness and promote usage of university produced knowledge, within the institution and throughout the country, in a Knowledge Center.
This UBT Knowledge Center initiative extends the founding vision of national development through higher education. Reflective of its institutional maturity, the University now produces considerable local knowledge, including but not limited to faculty publications and presentations, student paper and reports, and commissioned studies and reports. In the first stage of this initiative to enhance visibility and accessibility of local knowledge, computer science students developed the code for a repository of UBT faculty publication and presentation references, which now serves as the platform for the Kosovo national faculty bibliography.
In this second phase of making local knowledge visible, the University will create a repository system and associated workflows for acquisition, organization, and dissemination of student research projects, faculty research papers, and community research reports. This initiative acknowledges a university’s responsibility to foster democratic civil society and regional economic growth, as well as further smart business practices and higher education efficiencies. Since local knowledge, identity, and learning are necessarily situated, Kosovo students, faculty, staff, and administrators serve as domain experts and international educators from Sweden and the United States serve as design facilitators.
After two years of planning activities, initiation of human-centered design for the UBT Knowledge Center commenced in April 2017 in a graduate level Information Systems Analysis, Design, and Modeling course at the Pristina campus. Soft systems design tools guided exploration of essential questions related to the why, what, and how of this national innovation generator. Since this initiative acknowledges the social context of learning – that knowledge is acquired and understood through action, interaction, and sharing with others, soft systems models and processes explored social relationships necessary for information exchange and knowledge creation enabled by technology.

In this paper, a pedagogical model is presented for initiating student learning about systems thinking ideas and tools, such as the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) Rich Picture and PQR technique. Student projects illustrate application of these tools to advance local knowledge visibility within prototype UBT Knowledge Center environments. Course evaluations reveal students’ success in advancing knowledge ecosystem design through soft systems. One student expressed this as now “my life will have two eras, before SSM and after SSM”.

Concluding reflections explore implications for the University’s knowledge vision, including consideration of interrelationships between university and society which develop new and more complex ways for working with people, information, and technology. This necessarily includes educating graduates to curate, interpret, and use information to create knowledge, which preserves intellectual, cultural, national, and regional resources for future generations.

Monday July 10, 2017 16:30 - 17:00
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

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