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Case description

Newcomer students face several difficulties in their first period at TUDelft. One of these is related to their first teamwork experience with Dutch students with a Bachelor degree achieved at TUDelft. Due to emotional factors, these students do not contribute to the team project as much as they could and want to, and this leads the other members to be stressed about the outcomes of the project and act impatiently towards the international students. This lack of contribution and the inpatient team members can have a big impact on the confidence of the international student. The challenge that has been proposed to the Inclusive Design team is to analyze the current situation and come up with a solution to emotionally empower international students to include themselves in the process.

We want to increase self-inclusion by empowering internationals to reduce the excessive self-pressure that is caused by different approaches, low confidence, confliction motivations and avoiding of confrontation

Design solution

After weeks of research, the team decided to focus on two main concepts.

The first concept is to use the same group composition at the first course as were formed during the Master Summer Days, a weekend where internationals and Dutch students have fun activities together starting from August 2018. In doing so, the team will work smoothly in their first course, since they already know each other. This is expected to improve the collaboration between the group members, on a professional level as well as social.

The second concept is more focused on people’s confidence. By showing personal skills, the person will be able to demonstrate which are his/her strengths. Subsequently, this could be taken into account during the project. This will also create acknowledgement between the group members.

It was decided to merge these two activities into a single intervention that will create a transition between the Master Summer Days and the start of the semester. The intervention is an engaging workshop where students can demonstrate their strengths and understand what their team members skills are. Knowing your team members before the real team-work starts is expected to reduce the perceived self-pressure.

Final concept: workshop

A toolkit to be used during the workshop. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate the transition between a fun, relaxing atmosphere (the Master Summer Days) and the environment in which international students experience excessive self-pressure (the start of the semester). The workshop should act as a confidence booster, address the feeling of underconfidence that students normally experience. 

  • The toolkit should support the student to pick a topic that empowers them and makes them feel proud to share their knowledge.
  • The toolkit should provide the student with a structure to deliver a feasible, fun and low- pressure activity.
  • The toolkit should be clear and understandable, without the need for further instructions.

To meet these principles, the toolkit was composed of three components: Skill cards to support picking a topic, a template to provide a structure and instructions to make the toolkit clear and understandable.