Student groups as ‘adhocracies’ – challenging our understanding of PBL, collaboration and technology use

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In recent literature, socio-cultural scholars have argued that new forms of organising work within and across organisations are emerging. Engeström (2008) describes it in terms of ‘from teams to knots’ and in a recent book Spinuzzi (2015) explores how some forms of work are carried out, not in stable teams inside an organisation, but rather as temporary convenings or ‘adhocracies’ that are formed dynamically around projects, to quickly disband and take their skills to new projects when the project ends. The value of these adhocracies (or their ‘edge’) relies on their ability to form links both inside and outside an organisation. Both accounts analyse how teams are becoming more dynamic, multidisciplinary and need to work across organisational, as well as geographical boundaries in quickly changing configurations of people. Spinuzzi, further argues how these changes are associated with new and emerging digital technologies, and how these technologies change how we communicate, coordinate and collaborate. In this paper, we critically discuss these conceptualisations in relation to long-term group work within the frame of problem and project-based learning, as it is organised for example in Aalborg University. We explore what these changes might mean for the competences students should acquire in relation to collaboration and working in teams, and how this might impact on our understanding and design of problem and project based learning.
Titel7th International Research Symposium on PBL : Innovation, PBL and Competences in Engineering Education
RedaktørerSunyu Wang, Anette Kolmos, Aida Guerra, Weifeng Qiao
Antal sider10
ForlagAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publikationsdato4 nov. 2018
ISBN (Elektronisk)978 -87- 7210- 002 -9
StatusUdgivet - 4 nov. 2018
Begivenhed7th International Research Symposium on PBL: Innovation, PBL and Competences in Engineering Education - Beijing, Kina
Varighed: 19 okt. 201821 okt. 2018


Konference7th International Research Symposium on PBL
NavnInternational Research Symposium on PBL


  • adhocracies
  • Knotworking
  • PBL
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • collaboration


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