The key words: Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary
We have talked with Mrs. Aelita Skaržauskienė, professor of Mykolas Romeris University in the topic of international mobility, collective intelligence, and more. Check the brilliant answers!
The professor of the second largest university in Lithuania is involved in project management and tenders all through the way. As she’s leading several projects of the university, she has become the head of project management team.
If you think about international mobility which three words come to your mind first?
Diversity, integrated humanity, and bureaucracy.
Which are the main positive effects of the international mobility for an individual?
First of all, one of the most important advantages is networking; you can gain knowledge about your colleagues’ activities and discuss about possible areas of cooperation – because of this I’ve had the possibility to join several research projects with international colleagues of mine. Another advantage is promoting your own institution – many times I’ve been able to attract international students from other countries to visit our university while I’ve been holding lectures abroad. Lastly, international mobility is a perfect way to improve your language skills.
Is it a long-lasting impact? For example, do you maintain the contacts with people who you met during your mobility?
Yes, of course; but not with all of them unfortunately, because I travel a lot and I have a strict schedule, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time to stay in touch with everyone. Usually I maintain contacts with people with whom I’ve already worked, developed ideas and projects together. When you’re involved in project activities the contacts lasts for longer as it’s a longer process, because you have to do the project applications, implementation, dissemination, etc. On the other hand, it’s not always the case as there are many different characters and different cultural features.
In one of your publications* the context of smart and inclusive society cyber security is mentioned as an important issue. Europe 2020 also writes down a strategy as smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Why are these two words; smart and inclusive, are important?
First of all, in the publication we aren’t talking about sustainability, because we don’t think it would be possible to create something sustainable de facto in this complex world. In my opinion, because of the continuous changes it’s always going to be just a dream.
To follow this thought, complexity is the reason why we have to include all the citizens into the decision making process and into problem solving as well. There is always a small percent probability that not everyone – researchers, leaders – know all the answers for questions, not able to find right solutions how to manage and came up with solutions for the social issues. Thus there comes the need to include all the society to the decision making process.
And smart, of course – because smart is a label of technology. People and technology together can create wonderful things; not only people but also information communication technology creates value, because technology helps us with searching information, structuring it and communicating. Via using technologies we are smarter than we were 10-20 years ago.
*Aelita Skaržauskienė, Darius Štitilis, Monika Mačiulienė, Gintarė Paražinskaitė and Agnė Tvaronavičienė: Online Community Projects in Lithuania: Cybersecurity Perspective
Proceedings of the International Conference on Analytics Driven Solutions. IBM Centre for Business Analytics and Performance at the Telfer School of Management. University of Ottawa, Canada. 29-30 September 2014. P. 93-101.
Your present project title is ‘Social technologies for Developing Collective Intelligence in Networked Society.’* Could you tell us more about this topic? How can we define collective intelligence?
Collective intelligence is not a new phenomenon. Conferences in Dusseldorf or in Boston have already dealt with this topic; MIT** has created a Center as well. Collective intelligence by definition refers to the process of large groups of individuals pooling their knowledge, data and skills to contribute in solving social issues. In most cases we’re trying to make a separation among people at the level of individuals; but the main idea of collective intelligence is – because of technology we have the possibility – to catch the interaction of people which is one step further compare to the individual level. Social networks can be a great tool for people to interact easier and faster; to enhance their intelligence together with the level of collective intelligence as well. Furthermore, we can observe how connections, new ideas, opinions are structured via these communication channels. Our goal during this project was to examine different online communities as well. The main question was: How can we evaluate the potential of online community about producing collective intelligence?
*Social technologies for Developing Collective Intelligence in Networked Society
Starting October 2013, National grant scheme under Priority 3 „Strengthening Capacities of Researchers“, Operational Program for Human Resources Development (2001-2013)
**MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge , Massachusetts -USA
Digitalization is an overhyped topic nowadays! Do you think digital learning is also common within the European Union/in your country?
I think we’re still using our technologies mostly in a conservative way. Most of the teachers prefer to have eye contact and being present at the lectures is obligatory for the students which makes the personal contact possible. On the other hand, combining ICT with personal contribution could be more effective, because the new generation is more into ICT technologies as they’re used to complete various tasks with the help of their computers and internet. It’s only the question of time when we’re going to use more technologies in our education system.
Is the phenomenon of life-long learning common in your environment?
In my environment all my family members, all my friends and colleagues try to constantly improve in different areas of their lives. I don’t think it can happen in any other way nowadays. I also tell to my students – when they’re studying only one subject at the university, they’re complaining about it’s not really their field, or they’re afraid they have made a wrong decision – first you should finish what you’re doing now and then you can start to study a something else. The combination of two-three fields can strengthen your competences; it also makes graduated students competitive in the labour market. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary are the key words nowadays.
How do you try to constantly improving in your profession?
For example I’m here also in this training (entitled Securing EU Funding for 2014-2020: the Key to Success organized by DOREA) to improve my skills. I visit at least one conference, workshop, project meeting or training per month. These kind of experiences offer a lot of opportunities to improve even in the mostly discussed topic as project management; even if there is one sentence, idea which is new for me, or one person whom I can cooperate in the future I’ve already gained some value from that event.
In this training I appreciated the well-organized and logically built-up topics and materials; everything was nicely structured. All in all, it was a whole package. I heard new things which can be useful also for my team, my colleagues and my PhD students; I can educate them after this experience. I got a great insight about how to make new partnerships and we worked on two of my project ideas as well; we found solutions which will be helpful for my job.
One of the aims of international mobility program is to make the socio-economical change real. How can it help people to raise the intercultural awareness and to accept the cultural diversity?
While you’re sitting in the lectures you, can hear what the others are sharing about schools, their organizations, education systems, and in general about their countries, customs, traditions, etc. Most of the time you can notice problems and cultural differences among your classmates during those few days of a training; and they will talk about problems which are outside the classroom as well. This makes some connection in your mind to understand people and their different backgrounds, as well as their point of view and perspectives.
If we try to find a connection between social network and international mobility, how can the social network maintain this awareness, or on the contrary, destroy it?
I think social media is a useful tool. When you check social network communities which use technological solutions to interact, people usually only share the information, but they don’t take it to next level. What is the next level? You should have all the platforms with all the online language tools to structure information, to get extractive knowledge about what is happening in the world and finally to have constructive discussion. When there is the information exchange but nothing happens after, that is simply the end of the story.
On the other hand, it’s important to keep the balance as well. Personal contacts are needed in this case, you have to travel, socialize, meet new people, be ‘external’; otherwise your ideas or projects will never reach the daylight.
Prepared and edited by Flóra Fierpasz