After six weeks of intensive collaboration on a virtual learning platform, the winner of the pitch competition “Albania’s next Unicorn” has been announced. The students from six Albanian, one Slovenian and one German university worked together in mixed groups of six to eight people on a start-up idea to present it in front of a jury of professors from the eight institutions.

The association of the partners has been established through the VALEU-X project; the joint virtual module is the culmination of the Erasmus+ funded capacity-building activity under leadership of Prof. Dr. Eric Schoop an project manager Mattis Altmann. In addition to the international and interdisciplinary learning experience in Virtual Mobility, the students have also received study credits at their respective home institutions.

The case was divided into three phases. Prior to Phase 1 the kickoff took place the students were divided into their small groups and detailed information on the case study, the roles and the project process was presented. In addition, the tutoring support was explained, as well as evaluation standards and module goals.

Phase 1 dealt with the onboarding process and team building activities. Following Phase 1,  students participated in a workshop to brainstorm on potential business ideas.

After that in Phase 2, teams had to deal with market and business analysis to ensure the feasibilityof the business idea. The results were then introduced to the board members during the interim presentation. Thereupon in the final Phase 3 students covered revenue model & budget planning along with marketing and branding strategy. The pitch deck and business plan were presented during the final meeting.

For the first time in the history of VCL, the course was accompanied by e-tutor tandems who offered professional-pedagogical support for team members. Composed of 2 or 3 e-tutors and guided by the head of e-tutors, e-tutor tandems monitored the groups within the whole project and provided a formative assessment. Before the VCL started, all of the e-tutor tandems had accomplished an e-tutor tandem contract to ensure effective collaboration and set ground rules for communication. The e-tutors supervised the team development processes, gave feedback on the teamwork and highlighted areas for improvement.

The e-tutor tandems turned out to be very beneficial for both groups and e-tutors. The team of e-tutors was able to deliver assessments with high quality and precise recommendations for improvement since the original workload was distributed between 2 or 3 e-tutors. The e-tutor tandems also offered an intercultural exchange and allowed participants to learn new working techniques from each other. Despite the success of e-tutor tandems, a few organizational improvements should be implemented next semester. These include, for example, the possibility for e-tutor tandems to organize the teamwork within the tandem and accomplish the e-tutor tandem contract a week prior to the start of the case study.

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We are delighted to announce Group 5 with the idea: of” Green’UP Albania” as the winner. The platform business model aims to summarize the highlights of eco-tourism offers in Albania and benefits consumers and suppliers alike. In addition to the pitch, you can also follow the young team on Instagram:

The team gets the opportunity to attend the Staff Observation Visit in Rome and present your pitch to the VALEU-X project consortium and other guests while getting to know your previously only virtually known team members in the analog world.

Teaching and learning together has been an extraordinary experience for students and faculty, but it has also meant extraordinary effort. On behalf of the Chair of Information Management, we would like to thank everyone involved for your motivation, commitment, and continued interest. The commitment of all partners involved has made the success of the module possible. Thank you!

Reposted from TUD WIIM Chair

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EPOKA students excel in the International VCL-based case design and Pitching Contest in the framework of VALEU-X Project