Research Explores Students in Italy Learning Engineering, Nursing Connection

By Dane S. Claussen, Ph.D., MBA, Manager of University Relations, Athena Study Abroad

“An Interprofessional, Intercultural, Immersive Short-Term Study Abroad Program: Public Health and Service Systems in Rome” by Sara A. McComb, Lorenzo Fedele, Patrick A. Brunese and Vicki L. Simpson, was published in the Spring 2019 issue of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. The article describes in extensive detail a short-term study abroad program in Rome for upper-division nursing and industrial engineering students from Purdue University who worked with mechanical and aerospace engineering students from Sapienza Università di Roma. Students “collaborated to design a technical program that demonstrates the complementary nature of engineering and public health in the service sector.”

Specific issues included systems, reliability, process flow, maintenance management, and public health. Twelve learning outcomes, linked with four program outcomes, ranged from learning about maintaining historic structures to comparing US and Italian healthcare systems. All students completed team projects, Purdue students also wrote reflections and a written report, and Sapienza students had oral examinations. Sapienza students, accustomed to theory-driven lectures, learned about (by experiencing) US-style active learning approaches. The article presents samples of comments written by both US and Italian students that show how faculty judged when student comments reflected meeting program goals. The article’s conclusion indicates satisfaction with learning outcomes. But the article does not present all data about team projects, reflections, reports, and examinations, nor does it even say exactly how many students participated (apparently about 30 Purdue students).

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