Real Projects is an immersive learning course that bridges the gap between academic theory and professional, real-life practice. By engaging with real-world projects through sponsor organizations, students can apply their academic knowledge to solve an actual challenge facing the organization while practicing the in-demand skills to think strategically, innovate systemically, and collaborate effectively. This course is open to all AUR students who are interested in being consultative contributors, innovators, and change agents.

What You鈥檒l Gain

  • Strategic Thinking: An improved professional skillset with a focus on strategic thinking and innovative problem-solving
  • Critical Thinking: A sharpened ability to analyze and solve complex problems
  • Collaborative Skills: Improved teamwork skills through team-based projects with peers of various academic backgrounds
  • Career Readiness and Experience: Learned skills necessary to thrive in a professional environment. Enhanced resume with hands-on- professional experience.

What You'll Do

  • Engage with Sponsors- Work with sponsor organizations to help them overcome challenges and seek innovative solutions
  • Apply Practical Tools Learn and use design thinking, journey mapping, stakeholder analysis, and survey design methods in mock and real projects
  • Develop Professional Skills Cultivate critical thinking, innovation, and leadership abilities
  • Collaborate with Peers from Diverse Backgrounds, work with students from various disciplines, and improve collaborative and communication skills.

What the Course Structure Looks Like.

The Groundwork. In the early sessions, your professor will introduce essential problem-solving tools and showcase the diverse selection of sponsor organizations available for collaboration during the semester. Before working with sponsors, you can practice your newly acquired skills through a problem identification assignment. This is done by selecting a problem you're passionate about and developing a solution to overcome it.

Engagement with Sponsors. Subsequent sessions involve detailed presentations by sponsor liaisons about their projects. You'll select your preferred sponsor organization and join a team of other students who have chosen the same sponsor. Together, you'll apply research-based methods and project-planning solutions to address the challenges your sponsor has described.

Presenting Your Solutions. The course concludes with your team delivering a detailed presentation and report to the sponsors proposing a solution to their challenge. For students and sponsors alike, this presentation will provide insights into solving problems the organizations face within their industries, geographies, and competitive positions.

Who is This Course For?

Real Projects is designed for a diverse range of students eager to blend theoretical knowledge with practical, real-world applications. This course is ideal for students who identify with any of the following characteristics.

  • Goal-oriented Individuals
  • Practical Learners
  • Communication Enthusiasts
  • Innovators and Problem Solvers
  • Entrepreneurial Individuals.

Indicative course schedule
WEEK TOPIC READING
Week 1

Innovator's DNA - Discovery skills

Assignment:
Fill Innovation Behaviors survey

Jeffrey H. Dyer, Innovator鈥檚 DNA, 2009 December, HBR
Week 2

Design thinking - Solving problems with design

Assignment: Problem identification
Identify a problem or a challenge in your environment that you aim to investigate and propose solutions for.

Liedtka J., King K., Bennett K. Solving Problems with Design, 2013, Columbia Business School.
Week 3

Introduction to mixed methods research

Assignment: Survey Design
Design a survey to investigate your selected challenge.

Yin K. Y., Case Study Research and Applications, Sage 2018.
Handout (1): How to design a survey?
Handout (2): Introduction from mixed methods research - John W. Creswell, 2015 - pages 26-33
and 68-69.
Week 4

Analytics and recommendations report

Assignment: Survey results and recommendations
Use survey results to develop a statistical analysis of responses and objective recommendations.

How to analyze data using pivot tables
How to analyze survey data
Using Excel to analyze Data
Transportation survey example

Week 5 Midterm
Identify a problem or a challenge in your environment that you aim to investigate and propose solutions for. Prepare to present the whole project in less than 10 minutes in the Auditorium.
Week 6

First step into the professional world

Assignment: Update your LinkedIn Profile
Read the Portfolio of Real Projects carefully, and fill out the form to choose the company to work with.

Career Development Guide
Week 7

Meet CEO - followed by Teamwork

Assignment: Framing the sponsor organization's challenge
Work with your team to present your sponsor organization's challenge that you aim to investigate and propose solutions for.

Week 2鈥檚 Reading.
Week 8

Team-building activity 1: Visit to the Company
Description Welcome to Rome Visit.

Week 9

Project revision followed by teamwork

Assignment: Project Presentation
Continue to work with your team to prepare 5-7 slides illustrating the challenge of your sponsor organizations and the proposed methodology to investigate it.

Week 3鈥檚 Reading
Week 10

Team-building activity 2: Visit the company
Description First Med Visit

Assignment: Lessons Learned From Real Projects Prepare individual presentation (one slide) of lessons learned from Real Projects experience integrating photos or video.

Week 11

Advancement review session

Assignment: Prepare to present your team鈥檚 Real Project results to the professor to receive preliminary feedback. Each team has 10 minutes and a 5-minute questions-and-answer (Q&A) session.

Final presentation template.
Week 12

Rehearsal of Final Project Presentation.

Assignment: Team presentation Rehearsal
Prepare the final project presentation slides with your team, including the challenge, analysis results, and recommended solutions. Each team has only 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes for feedback.

Final presentation template.
Week 13 Presentation Day - Final exam Final presentation template.
Week 14 Interviews - 360 Degree Assessment - Field Trip
Assignment: Submission of Group Projects to Sponsor.

If you would like further information about Real Projects, please reach out to the program director Professor Bisan Abdulkader at b.abdulkader@aur.edu