The initiative connects professors and international students to develop activities that promote the school’s internationalization
Insper has increasingly sought to integrate initiatives that provide gains for its students, faculty, and partner educational institutions worldwide as part of its internationalization processes. In line with that purpose, Professor André Filipe Moraes Batista had an innovative attitude: Together with the Chilean educational institution Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD), he had developed a complementary activity with the theme “Topics on data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and ethics.” The non-mandatory activity was the first to take place in this format.
In all, there were six meetings, two of which took place with students from Chile in attendance. André met previously with Sergio Mancinelli, a Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) professor, to organize the learning objectives. The classes were taught in English and covered topics from the conceptualization of artificial intelligence to the ethical complexity that encompasses the relationship between data, business, and society. That theme scope aroused the curiosity of Lucas Tarraf, who is currently studying the last semester of Computer Engineering at Insper: “It was an interesting experience; the classes showed me how universal the topic of artificial intelligence is,” the student said.
For Matheus Maciel, a sixth-semester student in the Insper Business Administration program, this subject matter’s topicality is one of the most striking aspects. “I signed up for the activity because, since the beginning of the program, I have seen that the use of these technologies will be massively adopted by companies that intend to maintain or gain competitive advantage in the long term. It was a very enriching experience. Professor André used a very accessible language, and the classes were dynamic, with content focused on exploring the technologies’ most applied aspects,” said Matheus.
During the class sessions, the students used virtual technologies to resolve the proposals and created a bulletin board to showcase their work. As a result, besides being immersed in the topic of data science, students had the opportunity to develop global relations skills, which constitute one cornerstone of the education offered by Insper.
André considers that one of the activity’s benefits is the cultural summit provided to students: “The biggest gain was to carry out a joint course, having people from diverse backgrounds in a hybrid class. That allowed students to understand the extent to which what is produced at Insper can be extrapolated,” the professor stated.
Among this international conjunction’s challenges, Professor André highlights the interaction during classes. That happens because, besides the variations in the profile of each person, who can be more or less introverted, cultural issues of countries and institutions themselves also come into play — not to mention the linguistic factor, which is one of this teaching and learning model’s conditioning factors.
For Enzo Araújo, who is attending the first period of Business Administration at Insper, this challenge represented an opportunity to improve interpersonal skills and immerse himself in the topics presented:
” Co-working with my colleagues from Chile was a unique experience. I felt impelled to interact with the group in another language to discuss technical matters, which added a lot to the development of some soft skills. The class sessions also provided me with insights to question the algorithms’ assertiveness and reflect on the power that people behind the curtains have to influence the final results,” said the student.
The complementary activity happened at a time of our school’s consolidation as a reference point in the field of data science. For the Insper professor, who also coordinates the school’s Center for Data Science, the prospect for 2022 is that more activities in the COIL [Collaborative Online International Learning] format will take place not only in the data science field but also in Insper as a whole:
“It is essential to consider the lessons learned from this experience when planning the next ones. For the time being, we have conducted a complementary activity. However, it is possible to make this happen in other formats, like a semester curricular course,” pointed out André Filipe, who led the action independently.
Students agree that the activity was fruitful and showed interest in continuing the international format of knowledge construction:
“It’s a pity that there were only two meetings with colleagues from Chile to discuss and work on the potentials, precautions, and applicability of artificial intelligence and data science,” said Matheus.
“During the complementary activity, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in discussions about AI, its functioning, dilemmas, and how to avoid erratic decision-making. My only criticism is that it could have lasted longer,” Enzo added.
That collaboration was the first of many initiatives the school intends to build to enable internationalization activities in the various Insper programs.
“The activity Prof. André had developed was instrumental in understanding how the COIL process happens and how we can implement it in a more structured way, aiming to benefit our faculty and students with different knowledge perspectives and international partners,” concluded Ana Carolina Oliveira de Souza, Head of International Affairs.
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