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Center for Teaching and Learning

Innovative teaching formats

Cross-Teaching, Peer Learning and expertise transfer in innovative seminar format

Students from Frankfurt and Wildau collaborate on a case study on intercultural marketing

Seminar Format
  • Mixed seminar groups (diversity factors: courses, university types, nationality, knowledge and experience in marketing)
  • English language seminar over 3 days in attendance as well as self-study units
  • Learning objectives: acquisition and consolidation of theoretical knowledge about international and intercultural marketing and ethno-marketing; acquiring methodical and applied know-how for resolving an actual case study


Peer Learning has been approved as a most effective form of learning in many areas in the last two decades. (e.g. Topping 2005, Girgensohn 2007).

The concept stands for learning and teaching at eye level, i.e. the teaching of competences and knowledge by „peers“ (Peer learning can be defined as the acquisition of knowledge and skill through active helping and supporting among status equals or matched companions. It involves people from similar social groupings who are not professional teachers helping each other to learn and learning themselves by so doing.)

Advantages: non-hierarchical learning processes, peers identify better with existing (learning) needs and emotions (Bruffee 1980); learning and teaching peers acquire team competences.

Cross-curricular teaching involves on the one hand a conscious effort to apply knowledge to more than one academic discipline simultaneously (Jacobs, 1989), and on the other hand that students from two different university types are brought together and tutors initially work with the new group.

Possibilities: dealing with often critisized phenomena of tertiary education such as "fragmentation and isolated skill instruction"; achievement of learning objectives such as "transfer of learning, teaching students to think and reason, and providing a curriculum more relevant to students" (Marzano, 1991; Perkins, 1991).

Service learning is a didactic method which encourages students to combine the scientific contents of academic teaching with charitable commitment. The aim is a reciprocal effect of theoretical knowledge and practical work which in turn generates a benefit for students, teachers and the society surrounding them.

Advantages: Acqusition of practice-oriented knowledge and practical experience; personality development especially of problem solving and key competences; civic and social awareness. (Jaeger/in der Smitten/Grützmacher 2009)

Students' reflections:
Viadrina: "The case study showed me how important cultural aspects are in the field of business. Thus I experienced the importance and the aim of my degree course from a different angle and realized how much we can achieve with our knowledge. I would like to stress this aspect in particular as the practical part is often neglected in a university course and we often don't realize in which fields and subject areas our knowledge might be applied. The seminar gave a good overview of the relationship between two disciplines, in which both of them play an important part. The combination of both courses gave both sides the chance to benefit and led to a successful result."

Wildau: “I liked this experience very much! The case study was very interesting and challenging.” “I don’t think that Wildau students were less competent because they study at TH and not at University.”


Students’ feedback:

  • All in all positive feedback about the seminar
  • Biggest learning effects achieved by Viadrina students
  • Intensive team work and peer learning, with the first group project happening mainly online; Focus on particular core competences because of time limitations; no conflicts within groups

 Practice partner: Was delighted with solution approaches by students

 Lecturers reflection: Positive result, but there is some room for improvement ( more precise assessment of existing state of knowledge; group forming; pro-active and open dealing with different assessment)