Academic Term Structure

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The standard 8-week term long term is divided into an instruction period ending with assessment of student learning,  projects, followed by an application period.

  • Teaching and learning activities, including activities for assessment and feedback, are scheduled in week 1-6. All formal instruction must be finished before Friday of week 6, to give students time to study for examinations.
  • Summative assessment takes place on week 7. The aim is to assess the factual understanding of the subject matter as well as the deeper conceptual understanding. Summative assessment can be written, oral, hands-on or a suitable combination.
  • Application period starts on the final Friday of week 7 and end on the Friday of week 8.

Academic term structure v1

What is an application period?

Application period (or APP period) is an experiential hands-on and/or innovation activities designed as an integrated part of the course. The goal of the app period is to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired from preceding teaching and learning activities (week 1-6) toward solving a real-world problem. While working on the proposed problem students learn about and practice personal and interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, engineering reasoning and collaboration.  Furthermore, through activity that is authentic and within the knowledge and skills of the learners, participants improve their efficacy for entrepreneurial and innovative activities.

Example of the application period activity – Stratospheric balloon project of October 2014:

The goal of the “space race” project during the APP period of Fall 2014 was to have students lead the design and operations of four stratospheric balloon missions, carrying experiments developed by Skoltech CREI researchers and other partners in the Moscow region. With this project, students had the opportunity to work in teams and practice systems engineering theory as taught in the first part of the course, by following end-to-end the lifecycle of a simple mission going through all its phases, from conception, to exploitation, and eventually disposal.



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Application period typically ends with student presentations and demonstrations in front of a proposed audience (students and faculty, industry representatives, prospective students, other stakeholders).