ERCIS - Headquarters
Virtual Seminar
Leonardo-Campus 3
48149 Münster
Tel.: +49 (0) 251 83 38100
Fax: +49 (0) 251 83 38109


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Seminar Goals

ERCIS Virtual Seminars are intended to enrich education in the Information Systems field by supporting students from the participating institutions in development of such soft skills as internationalization, virtualization, and collaboration. It is believed that these skills are crucial for future career. The idea of the Seminar stems from discussions of ERCIS members during several conferences and workshops, which have revealed the demand for a broader perspective on BPM (Business Process Management) education. Although it is still a common practice to teach modelling languages like EPC or BPMN or concepts like workflow management under the umbrella of BPM, recent literature calls for a more holistic view on BPM and consideration of such aspects as strategy, governance, culture, and people. In the ERCIS Seminars we include this perspective into curricula and offer students to participate in real life international projects. The Seminar’s tasks include ad-hoc group building and its outcomes might lead to scientific publications.

Students’ Tasks

StudentThe Seminar participants are divided into groups, where, in the best case, each student comes from a different university. None of the team members should know each other in advance. The students’ tasks are to set means of virtual collaboration with each other and to jointly work on an announced topic. The students have to write a seminar paper or a report and to present the results during mid-term and final presentations. Moreover, students have to regularly report on their virtual collaboration experiences by filling the provided Agility Portfolios.

Supervisors’ Tasks

Before the Seminar starts, usually at the end of September, decentralized kick-off meetings at each home institution take place. After the Seminar starts, usually from the beginning of October, the students from one home institution should be supervised on-site through weekly meetings. Therefore, each participating institution should provide at least one supervisor. At the same time, each supervisor is responsible for one or more topics and acts as a contact person for respective team(s). Students can ask for regular or on-demand virtual meetings with an assigned supervisor. All supervisors should also regularly communicate with each other (via virtual conferencing or email) to discuss any occurring issues.

Benefits and Learning Goals for the Students

  • Self-organization in an international team
  • First experiences in “true” virtual collaboration
  • First experiences in applying theoretical knowledge and creativity to a real-world scenario
  • First experiences in presenting, discussing and reporting on a self-developed solution
  • Self-reflection, as well as reflection on collaborative work
  • Opportunity to publish a first scientific paper

Benefits for Participating Universities

  • Exciting experience for your students
  • Contact to promising future PhD students
  • Inspiration for future research
  • Contact to other participating universities, which might lead to future collaboration

Further Details

  1. During the local kick-off meetings the Seminar topic should not be revealed yet, as it will be done centrally. Students can be informed about the general course idea, expected deliverables and deadlines, not more!
  2. Students will be informed about the other group partners via email. They will be asked to a) get in contact with each other, and b) clarify their means of communication. We don’t give any advice on this, it is their decision.
  3. Not all students have to participate in the virtual kick-off meeting, but it is highly recommended to do it. Throughout the whole process it is the students' responsibility to organize themselves and to guarantee a high quality of deliverables. There will be no 1-n-communication controlled by a supervisor, but peer-to-peer-communication initiated by the students.
  4. All collective online meetings (kick-off, mid-term and final presentations) will be held via online tools like Google Hangout.
  5. Each student should update on a weekly basis the so-called Agility Portfolios - a blog on collaborative experience, which should be then handed in to the supervisors for further analysis. The supervisors need to guarantee that the Agility Portfolios will be kept completely confidential. Agility Portfolios may contain questions on e.g. expectations prior to each virtual meeting, as well as experiences and opinions after it. The blog acts as a basis for students’ individual lessons learned.
  6. During the mid-term presentation, where all Seminar supervisors and participants are involved, the students have to report on their progress. Each presentation should last about ten minutes followed by a short discussion.
  7. The final presentation takes place in Liechtenstein. The students are welcome to come to Liechtenstein, but are not obliged to do it and can also present virtually. Each group has about 20-25 minutes time for presentation and 5-10 minutes of discussion. During the discussion each group will get a detailed feedback on their Seminar paper.
  8. The students should submit Seminar papers to the respective supervisors or to a shared Dropbox folder. Furthermore, the students should provide the supervisors with an access to all Seminar documentation created.
  9. At the end of the Seminar each participating university may hold on-site individual debriefings (interviews) with the students and ask about their individual contribution to a team’s result etc. Individual debriefings may or may not influence a student’s final grade for the Seminar.
  10. The final grade for the Seminar (at least at the University of Münster) will be based on the mid-term and final presentations, the Seminar paper, the Agility Portfolios, and individual debriefings.
  11. Grades of the students from one team should be comparable.

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