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B³ - Bildung Beyond Boundaries 2021

Radical Ideas in Higher Education Challenge




Devoted to the development of the research and development of evidence-based, innovative and technological applications of student-centred pedagogies in higher education


Selected out of a pull of 37 proposals submitted during the first and second application rounds


Partnering with the B³ Research Projects based at Jacobs University


Taking place in the course of the year 2021 oriented to the development of awareness and dissemination of new pedagogical methods involving digital tools


Based at Jacobs University, who, reached by these events, have learned and developed motivation to teach using transformative digital tools

It has been more than two years since the “Bildung Beyond Boundaries”- B³ Framework committed to the development of “groundbreaking and radical ideas for the innovation of higher education”. In doing so, the collaborative B³ Framework between the Jacobs Foundation and Jacobs University sponsored two rounds of research projects that support evidence-based teaching and learning, grounded on digital technologies, in the unique context of a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural university environment, such as Jacobs University. Out of the first round of applications, three projects were chosen. These Projects officially started their work in the fall of 2019. In the year 2020, the B³ Framework sponsored a second round, out of which, six research project proposals were selected and began their work during the fall of the same year. All these projects continued to develop experimental advancements in the field of innovations in education, in spite of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their contributions could not be more relevant at this point in time, when higher education faces a unique crossroads characterized by the lingering effects of a pandemic that has catapulted digitalization, coinciding with the current moment, where the advances in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual realities and the use of algorithms in the development of highly specialized educational tools is becoming more prominent and accessible. These developments, paired with the unique needs of our “digital native” students, are no longer served by educational approaches that rely on the conventional classroom model. Responding to this unique juncture, our B³ research projects introduce tools and innovations such as: the algorithmic partnering of students in group work; individualized hands-on education 4.0 including gamification; 3-D platforms that enable needs-based student support; the virtual access of historical sites and devices through a hybrid museum and the development of the laboratory experience from student´s homes, among other fascinating ideas.  

This website features the research projects and activities of the “Bildung Beyond Boundaries” Framework, considering their innovative educational solutions, as well as technological contributions to the ever-evolving field of student learning and academic success. We invite interested audience to review this website and stay tuned to learn more about the process and evaluation of our cutting-edge research projects. Welcome to the world of !



The B³ Project AMIGO (Algorithmic Method for Intelligent Group formation) explores the question of how to maximize cooperative learning among student groups.
Click here and learn about the algorithmic method for intelligent group formation that will be integrated in online learning platforms at Jacobs University this coming Fall 2021.
This is the future of optimized cooperative learning!


The “Developmental Adaptive Learning Support for Physics Students” Project, also known as "DeALS-Phys", addresses the challenge to personalize learning at universities by developing platforms adaptive to student´s individual needs. Such a platform, e.g. for homework problems in physics, will help professors teach a wide range of different problem-solving strategies to students with different academic backgrounds.
To characterize and investigate students' needs, the platform in development is based on an innovative ‘3D’ model of cognitive, metacognitive, and motivational dimensions of students’ problem solution strategies.


Uncertainties, doubts and contradictions in dealing with sources are not uncommon in the humanities. However, these pitfalls are not properly represented in digital formats, as documented digital methods suggest a false sense of security, creating an impression of precision which may not be supported by the underlying data.
This project explores this false sense of accuracy, by focusing on the development and evaluation of educational methods dealing with these inaccuracies (contingencies) in the context of the field of digital humanities.


“Hands-On 4.0” is seen as the next iteration in experiential learning. At Jacobs University, the development of hands-on 4.0 has taken place with the introduction of three courses that feature: Gamification; Open Source Lab Components; Collaborative Problem-Solving and Individualization.


During these pandemic times, museums transcended the boundaries of physical location like never before. Visitors from all over the world were able to see their favorite exhibits virtually.
Here in Bremen, the B³ project “The Hybrid Neighbourhood Museum- Portal to the World”, will show material and digital exhibits within its location on the Jacobs University Campus, as Augmented Reality (AR), beyond physical boundaries. It is designed to become a place of reflection, openness and inclusion, just like our campus, a true “Portal to the World”.


Did you know that creativity is perceived as one of the most sought-after skills for future workforce, but is barely included in existing e-learning programs and courses?
Addressing this discrepancy is the main objective of the B³ cross-border project titled: “Imparting Creativity in Distance Learning”, which brings forward an e-learning solution to foster student’s soft skill “creativity” at three different universities, while enabling instructors to foster creativity in their courses and study programs.


Current university lab courses often cover concepts that students don’t have an immediate connection with, especially in classical subjects such as Physical-Chemistry, that can be rather abstract. The proposed solution, aimed at bringing the topic closer to students, is the newly coined “Concept Angleichung”. The German word “Angleichung” can be translated as adjustment, alignment, adaptation, harmonization. These are the ideas that underpin the ambitious B³ project “Lab@Home-Concept Angleichung.


Introductory Lab courses in the natural sciences tend to rely on the “pedagogy of repetition”, usually handing out students a lab manual containing pre-formulated methodology, experimental procedures and explanations that they are supposed to follow and replicate, oftentimes without the engagement of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The B³ project “Restructuring a Biochemistry Lab” wants to change this “status quo”, by proposing an overhaul of the structure of a second year Lab course on Biochemistry, drawing from a Problem-Based, Inverted approach to Experimental Design teaching, while incorporating digital interventions.




Background Information

The European University Association (EUA) observes a new momentum in the transition from teaching to learning, also referred to as student-centered learning.
This paradigm shift “stipulates that education provision and all its aspects are defined by the intended learning outcomes and most suitable learning process, instead of the student’s learning being determined by the education provided” (EUA Report 2019).
In this context, the students’ role in creating the learning process distinguishes between teacher-centered and student-centered learning approaches.

I.    Column: Project-based learning (PrBL)
The PrBL approach enables students to actively explore real-world problems. In a curriculum built around project work, faculty guides rather than directs students; ultimately, they take responsibility for their own learning by tackling tangible problems.
Jacobs University’s UG curriculum aims with its Community Impact Project (CIP) to actively engage with the University’s “Third Mission” or “Capacity Building. This mandatory module provides an ideal space for student-centered research projects, based on PrBL approaches.

II.    Column: Team-based learning (TBL)
TBL is a collaborative learning and teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, best described as a version of flipped classroom approaches. It is a structured form of small-group learning that emphasizes student preparation out of class and application of knowledge in class. Students are organized strategically into diverse teams of around 5-7 students that work together throughout the class.
Team-based learning was coined by Larry Michaelsen in the 1970s at the University of Oklahoma and is widely used, in particular in Anglo-Saxon medical education. The TBL pedagogy is mainly fostered by the organization: “Team-Based Learning Collaborative”.
Four principles of Team-Based Learning (Michaelsen & Richards 2005) are:

  1. Groups should be properly formed (e.g. intellectual talent should be equally distributed among the groups). These teams are fixed for the whole course.
  2. Students are accountable for their pre-learning and for working in teams.
  3. Team assignments must promote both learning and team development.
  4. Students must receive frequent and immediate feedback.

III.    Column: Problem-based learning (PBL)
PBL’s influence can be traced back to McMaster University’s Medical School in the 1960s.
Maastricht University has adopted PBL as the core of its teaching pedagogy ever since the university was founded. UM students team up with ten to fifteen fellows to tackle real-life challenges and actively engage with the subject matter, under the supervision of a tutor.
Cornell University describes PBL as an instructional method of hands-on, active learning centered on the investigation and resolution of messy, real-world problems. Rather than teaching relevant material and subsequently having students apply the knowledge to solve problems, the problem is presented first.

IV.    Column: Phenomenon-based learning (PhBL)
PhBL (or PhenoBL) was implemented in Finland’s education systems in 2016. It has its origins in constructivist learning theories.
Phenomenon-based learning is a multidisciplinary instructional pedagogy, where students study a topic or concept in a holistic instead of in a subject-based approach.
The challenge of PhBL is that no specific subject is taught, nor is there any preset learning objective. Learning goals are created during the learning process, learners investigate and solve their own questions by applying what subjects are relevant to the problem.


•    EUA Report 2019:
•    Wright, G. B. (2011). Student-centered learning in higher education. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Postsecondary Education, 23(1), 92-97
•    Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.