No 2 (2015) Abstracts

Pondering & pedagogy

The theme of the second issue of UAS Journal in 2015, ”Pedagogic solutions, renewing teaching and pedagogy” attracted experts of many different fields to send in a record number of suggestions for articles. Many thanks to all the writers who were inspired by the subject!
In this theme issue, we discuss various pedagogical experiments and, in particular, articles examining the development of teaching work. Higher education institutions want to focus on pedagogical innovation and actively develop their competence in a changing operating environment. Maintaining competitiveness and appeal require updating and agile development of activities. The editorial by President Jouni Koski and introduction by Salonen et al. already sweep the reader into the world of web pedagogy, working life cooperation and digitalisation, where studied subjects are linked to a larger whole.

The perspective of the articles on teaching work is the strengthening of students’ expertise through developing their thinking, interaction, community spirit and guidance. Engaging teaching is at the centre of it all, allowing for the creation of new elements, application of existing ones and borrowing from a trusted partner.

The five articles on models for pedagogical development further discuss the active guidance of learners and engagement in line with the trialogical model, for example. Guidance occurs both in authentic and simulated working environments. Partner entrepreneurs participate in the teaching process by mentoring students and involving them in the everyday routines of their business. The following five articles further delve into pedagogical development on a course and competence level. The articles give concrete examples of carrying out learner-based courses.

The theme issue also discusses teaching and changes therein in education leading to a Master’s degree. Inasmuch as Master’s degree students are expected to develop and innovate, this is also expected of their teachers. There is an increasing need for constant renewal – or capability of innovating, as researchers in the project on Master’s degree programmes influencing RDI put it. You need versatile competence, the ability to facilitate development and top national and international level expertise in both pedagogy and substance. Read more about interesting, personal examples!

The final article in the issue in by Liisa Westman, on the profession of teaching in higher education institutions. It gives us all food for thought as to what teaching is really all about.


Theme editors Liisa Timonen (Karelia University of Applied Sciences), Eija Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Sciences) and Erja Turunen (Metropolia University of Applied Sciences)


From online instruction to digitalised education – a matter of reforming curriculum or perhaps a challenge even bigger than the structural development of higher education institutions?

Jouni Koski, President, CEO, Ph.D., Laurea University of Applied Sciences

For nearly two decades, we have been developing online learning in Finnish universities of applied sciences. Developing technology has provided preconditions for online learning, while the growing number of students who work alongside their studies has created a particular demand for it. Online learning has been made possible by innovative teachers who have bravely created new pedagogic solutions and applied rapidly developing technology to their instruction. As more and more students combine work and studies, there is also increased demand for studying throughout the year. There is also a growing demand for summer studies. Universities of applied sciences have also answered to this demand by offering online studies more frequently. In universities of applied sciences, learning has been organised by utilising online teaching and thus making studying more flexible and not dependent on place or even time. It is hardly a surprise that these days teachers strongly articulate their views on teaching and guidance occurring online and information technology skills required from teachers (Eskola-Kronqvist, Mäki-Hakola, Mäntylä and Nikander 2015, 21).

Simultaneously with developing online teaching, we have significantly improved cooperation between universities of applied sciences and the industry and commerce. This has been both important and natural to vocational higher education. Pedagogy for universities of applied sciences has evolved, and new creative pedagogic applications and operating models have been created in different higher education institutions. These, in turn, have increased interaction and cooperation with companies and communities. The modernisation of expert work will change professions radically and in an increasingly rapid pace; therefore, pedagogy for universities of applied sciences founded on cooperation with the industry and commerce is significant from the perspective of students’ professional growth as well as career planning and finding employment (Koski and Mahlamäki-Kultanen 2014, 69). Research, development and innovation activities of universities of applied sciences have grown considerably and, at the same time, provided an opportunity and created a pressure to develop pedagogy for universities of applied sciences towards a direction strengthening cooperation with the industry and commerce. We have thus responded to the growing need of companies and communities to conduct higher education institution collaboration with universities of applied sciences.

Development activities are often realised in universities of applied sciences through reforming the curriculum. Typically, certain parts of the curriculum, namely study modules and study units, have been harnessed to respond to the development challenge. We have achieved excellent results from developing both online teaching and cooperation with the industry and commerce by taking them into account in the curriculum. We have identified this challenge, noted it in our curriculum and allocated our resources to it. This has worked well, to say the least. Why would the digitalisation of education be a challenge bigger than the reform of the curriculum or possibly even than the structural development of higher education institutions, then? Digitalisation cannot be separated into a part of the curriculum or made the task of a certain part of the university of applied science. Instead, we all have to face it at the same time. Digitalisation challenges our competences, ways of operating and everything we do. The Finnish Research and Innovation Council (2015) describes that digitalisation and increase in the importance of immaterial capital and value creation fundamentally alter the society, economy and RDI activities. The ways we act and do things are changing.

The Future Review of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2014) encourages us to keep developing the cooperation between universities of applied sciences and the industry and commerce so that the education system would evolve as a whole integrated in the industry and commerce more closely than currently. We know how to do this well, and we should build upon an increasingly strong cooperation with the industry and commerce in universities of applied sciences also in the future. The digitalisation of universities of applied sciences and universities is a central demand of the Future Review of the Ministry of Education and Culture, in addition to the long-term structural development. The Finnish higher education system cannot be a competitive and high-quality whole without the digitalisation of education. A report commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Culture from an international group of experts (Technopolis Group 2015, 74–75) also argues that the need for digitalising education has been recognised in the as such well-functioning Finnish higher education system, i.e. Finnish universities of applied sciences and universities. How will we respond to this?

We cannot answer to the demand of digitalisation merely by reforming the curriculum or conducting structural developments. We need the ability to think differently and do everything in a new way. Developing electronic transactions and services will somewhat further the development in universities of applied sciences, but will not be enough. Digitalism will soon be a part of all learning and teaching, which means that it will set new demands to the teaching profession, pedagogy for universities of applied sciences and practical teaching activities – and affect every one of us!


Eskola-Kronqvist A., Mäki-Hakola H., Mäntylä R., and Nikander L. 2015. Opettajat rakennemuutoksessa – muutosta luvassa. Rakennemuutoksen vaikutuksia opettajan osaamistarpeisiin, esiselvitysraportti.

Koski J. and Mahlamäki-Kultanen S. 2014. Real-world pedagogical approach to the career planning of students at universities of applied sciences and support for professional identity. In K. Raij (ed.) Learning by developing action model.
https://www.laurea.fi/dokumentit/Documents/36%20%20Raij%20LbD%20Action%20Model.pdf (retrieved 2 April 2015)

Ministry of Education and Culture. 2014. Future Review. http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Julkaisut/2014/tulevaisuuskatsaus.html (retrieved 3 April 2015)

Melin, G., Zuijdam, F., Good, B., Angelis, J., Enberg, J., Fikkers, D. J., Puukka, J., Swenning, A., Kosk, K., Lastunen, J. & Zegel, S. 2015. Towards a future proof system for higher education and research in Finland. Publications of the Ministry on Education and Culture. Finland 2015:11. http://www.minedu.fi/export/sites/default/OPM/Julkaisut/2015/liitteet/okm11.pdf?lang=en (retrieved 3 April 2015)

Research and Innovation Council. 2015. Reformative Finland: Research and innovation policy review 2015–2020. http://www.tem.fi/files/41903/Tutkimus-_ja_innovaatiopolitiikan_suunta_2015_-_2020.pdf (retrieved 04 April 2015)

Peer-reviewed Articles

Perceptions of teachers in universities of applied sciences of nursing education curricula in 1995 and 2000

Regina Nurmi, Principal Lecturer, Education Manager, LE, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences
Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen, Director, Ph.D. (Educ.), Docent, Professional teacher education unit, Häme University of Applied Sciences 

The purpose of this study is to describe the teacher´s perceptions of the curricula of the nursing education in the University of Applied Sciences, the change which has taken place in the teachers’ perceptions and the factors connected with the changes during the years 1995 and 2000. The study dates back to the starting phase of the polytechnical higher education system when big changes took place in the curricula. The study will provide information about the changes in the perceptions of the teachers during a period of time when Universities of Applied Sciences move over to educational responsibility and more and more to competence based curricula.

The research material was collected by theme interviews with teachers in nursing education in a medium-sized University of Applied Sciences in 1995 (18 teachers) and in 2000 (8 teachers). The research material was analyzed using a phenomenographic method. Five categories describing a curriculum were developed as a result of this analysis:  the ways to structure a curriculum, the contents, learning, the expert’s competence and social factors.

The first category relating to structuring the curriculum had two subcategories: the tasks of the structure and the form of the structure. The second category, the contents, was formed by two subcategories: theoretical orientation and working life orientation. The third category, learning, was divided into three subcategories: learning theory, the learner´s characteristics and the teaching methods. Three subcategories formed the fourth category, an expert´s competence: ethical competence, theoretical competence and clinical competence. The category concerning the curriculum, the social factors, was divided into three subcategories: cooperation with the working life, users of the services of the public health service and change in the society. All the subcategories that had been formed were horizontal.

The frequency of the perceptions in 1995 and in 2000 differed from each other. There were more learning and competence based perceptions and less content based perceptions in 2000 when compared to the year 1995. Factors related to the teacher´s profession had most effect on the changes in the perceptions according to the teachers. Teacher´s professionalism changed along with the University of Applied Sciences.

When comparing the teachers´perceptions, they were in fact rather similar during the radical developing phase in the beginning and in year 2000 when the material was collected for the second time although five years had passed and the focus of polytechnical higher education reform was on working life orientation. The change can be considered to be relatively minor and the rate of change slow.


Expression and thoughts – from individual thinking to communal activity

Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta, Vice President, Ph.D. (education), MA, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Hannele Seppälä, Advisor, Ph.D. (education), The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene)

The student`s ability to express his own knowledge extensively affects his career path. In our article we consider how to support the student in his studies to develop his skills in thinking and expressing his own thoughts and knowledge. We also consider what kind of readiness of thinking and abilities of interaction (important in expertise) vocational higher education and education, in general, should produce.

The skills of thinking develop through argumentation and interaction. Having an open atmosphere and stimulating learning conditions is not automatic. From the teacher it demands the ability to be an interactive teacher and trainer having a student centered vision at pedagogic solutions.

The student is expected to have an active role, courage to take part in discussions and will to develop his own ability to express his thoughts and skill. Studies concerning the readiness of thinking among high school students show that the awareness of one`s own thinking and understanding oneself as an active producer of knowledge support in developing the readiness of thinking and encourage interaction.

During the time when individual study paths are encouraged we should remember that creating communal knowledge is possible only through interaction. At the core of communal learning, communal creativity and communal expertise, it is the individual`s responsibility to bring his own knowledge to be shared in common use.

”The teacher said, if it’s a bad day, let’s go for a coffee” – Inclusive, sensitive guidance to prevent interruption of studies

Saara Hirvi, Master of Social Services, Kindergarten Teacher, Järvenpää 
Eija Mattila, Principal Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

This article is based on data collected during 2013 in FPD Vocational Training Center by students of Master´s degree and nursing of Laurea UAS´s project called “Inclusive support in beginning of vocational training”. The purpose of the project is to evaluate and develop the student guidance practices to prevent the interruption of the studies and to create a model for tutor training.

According to the results the student guidance was a challenge in the multi-professional FPD. It was recognized by the tension between division of labor and rules when the aim of student guidance is dialogic interaction.

” Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” – pedagogical reform in the Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Helena Kangastie, Coordinator in education development, MHS, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

The functions of Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences and Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences merged on 1 January 2014 to form Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The merger lead to increased responsibilities and duties in all tasks, and consequently a lot of development work has been done. This article depicts the starting points for pedagogic revision and a new kind of teaching, as well as the principles and methods deriving from them. We have utilized these points of view in the pedagogic development of Lapland University of Applied Sciences. It is commonly understood that organizational cultures change slowly and even a minor progress promotes revision. The pedagogic revision is following the phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”.

From fluffy clouds to a meaningful learning process

Tanja Rautiainen, Coordinator, ME, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Anu Pruikkonen, Head of Services, ME, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Learning is increasingly distributed over virtual, simulation and real-life environments. Collaboration takes place via cloud-services and social media chosen by the teacher, or by the students themselves. In other words, information retrieval and processing, collaboration and contribution to learning processes and outcomes occur on many different platforms, even in environments not chosen by the teacher. This challenges common practices of guidance and evaluation.

We argue that planning learning processes well and making them transparent will enable tutoring and proper monitoring of studying and learning. This requires recognition and compilation of the individual parts of a learning process, for example, using a virtual learning environment as a ”homepage”.

“Clouds” pedagogical possibilities

Päivi Timonen, Lecturer, Community Educator, Master’s degree, Humak University of Applied Sciences

Internet brings equal opportunities of information, participation and learning. In this article I will describe pedagogical possibilities of “clouds”. I have experience in online youth work and social media as tool in youth work and youth information and counselling work. As well I design e-learning processes and run e-courses. Social media tools and co-operation are key issues in digital approach to work.

Developing digital pedagogy or e-pedagogy I will write about one of our project. In the Humak University of Applied Sciences we co-operate on the Distanssi project 1.8.–31.12.14 with the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the National Development Centre for Online Youth Work, Verke. The Distanssi -project was to research how to develop open online distance education for professionals who e-work with young people in Finland. We research MOOCs (massive open online courses): how to organize technically, pedagogically and contents of online youth work MOOCs for professionals.

Developing new teaching – SPIRIT project learnings at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Virpi Laukkanen, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D. (Econ.), Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Kaija Sääski, Director of Business, Tourism and Culture, Lic.Soc.Sc., Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Milla Siimekselä, Lecturer, MSSc, Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Changes in the working life and work environment strongly affect Universities of Applied Sciences and teaching. Teachers’ work has changed due to projects, international co-operation and technological development. The focus of teaching at UASs is on coaching the students and on partnerships. Working in teams and with partners from working life can at its best help teachers to find new meaning and motivation for their work. In this article we describe how Savonia UAS has defined and developed UAS teachers’ new job description. This model may be helpful also for other Universities of Applied Sciences which face similar challenges.

Pedagogical experiment: Applying the P3P model for learning entrepreneurial mindset

Annemari Kuhmonen, Lecturer, MA, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Olavi Kujanpää, Chief Inspector, Lic.Sc. (Admin.), Police University College
Päivi Pöyry-Lassila, Principal Lecturer, Lic.Sc. (Tech.), ME, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

The P3P learning environment and pedagogical model offers an entrepreneur with strong business experience and open-minded attitude towards developing business and sharing expertise an opportunity to co-create with the students innovations and solutions to a company’s actual business problems and development needs. Through action research, the P3P model has been developed further from Laurea’s LbD pedagogy and Peer to Peer (P2P) learning environment by Laurea’s lecturer-coaches, students, and collaborating entrepreneurs during several development projects. The goal was to respond to the development needs of marketing and sales competencies in SMEs and to support students’ entrepreneurial skills and spirit.

The educational goal of the P3P model is to facilitate the development of the students’ entrepreneurial mindset. The students are mentored by an experienced entrepreneur and their learning projects are integrated into the everyday business of the collaborating company. They participate, for example, in client meetings, business angel investor negotiations, trade fairs, CRM trainings and sales trainings of the company which facilitates the building and maintaining of comprehensive and valuable contacts and networks.

The P3P model facilitates the employment of students and development of competencies and entrepreneurial growth of all actors, including lecturer-coaches. The P3P model has been introduced by Laurea to the Police University College, and the recognised synergies have encouraged further cooperation with regard to pedagogical development.

Trialogical learning promotes creativity

Hilkka Honkanen, Principal Lecturer, Dr.Sc. (Nutr.), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Arja Veijola, Principal Lecturer, Dr.Sc. (Nutr.), Oulu University of Applied Sciences

We live in the middle of a wide range of changes. In welfare sector, the development of services should take place in cooperation with customers and local residents. Customers should be involved in the decision-making of their things and also self-care of them. It´s quite important that students are given the opportunity to learn in real situations in the workplace and real life. Trialogical learning and student-centered pedagogy respond well to the challenges of today. Trialogical learning refers to those forms of learning where learners are collaboratively developing, transforming or creating shared objects of activity in systematic fashion.

Impact on teaching technology and RDI through collaboration

Hannu Hirvelä, Project Engineer, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
Mirka Leino, Lecturer, Researcher, MSc, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Technological competence and contemporary laboratories are the cornerstones of educating engineers today. In a more stringent economy, each university of applied sciences cannot master all technologies or equip their laboratories with all of the newest devices. Systematic collaboration between universities of applied sciences can create more versatile laboratory environments and more experience for students in practical technological development. Over the past few years, the Satakunta (SAMK) and Seinäjoki (SeAMK) Universities of Applied Sciences have developed their laboratory teaching in automation engineering, in particular, through tight cooperation. As SeAMK has wanted to focus on the development of laboratory teaching in machine vision, SAMK’s existing experience in its development has served as an important example. Correspondingly, as SAMK develops its simulation teaching, SeAMK can contribute with ideas and examples from its long experience.Such mutual cooperation and sharing tried and tested practices benefits all parties and what is more, students get more versatile, high-quality teaching, better equipping them to overcome challenges in business world.

Drama methods in learning mindfulness skills

Minna Kuvajainen, Senior Lecturer, drama teacher, NLP Master Practitioner, ME, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Mindfulness skills have penetrated the whole educational system rapidly. They are also used extensively at many workplaces. There are many different approaches to mindfulness skills: someone wants to find peace of mind while someone else searches for tools for better interaction. Social and health care professionals needs them both for self-knowledge and to guide clients with their lifestyle changes. Drama methods provide a person many excellent tools to examine their thoughts and bodily feelings objectively and thus also means to help a client to notice their inner roles in different situations.

Applied learning and reflective practice: A discussion and evidence from students’ work

James Collins, Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences 

A frequent pedagogical discussion argues about whether traditional forms of teaching, such as lectures, are the most appropriate way to deliver good and sustainable learning to course participants. This article discusses the issue and introduces a case example, a Master’s level course in Diversity Management offered by Metropolia School of Applied Sciences. The course is structured so that it does indeed employ the lecture approach, but also embraces so-called post-modern approaches that facilitate co-learning and reflective practice, and which permit student voices to be heard. Evidence is offered that learning through this approach does have an impact in the workplace. Finally the author, as course teacher, reflects on their personal development and the pedagogical challenges of the approach.

An online international learning project around global health promotion

Bernie Davies, Senior Lecturer, Coventry University, UK
Sari Myréen, Senior Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland 

This article reports on an online international learning (OIL) project involving nursing students and staff at the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of Coventry University, UK and the Degree Programme in Nursing of Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Vantaa Finland. The project was carried out as a telecollaborative project via Web 2.0 tools, such as desktop videoconferencing tool Skype and Facebook.

Continuous self-evaluation of intensive projects

Juho Vesanen, Lecturer, B.Eng., Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Antti K. Piironen, Director, Ph.D., Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

A series of short-term Intensive Programs of 40 students supervised by 15 teachers have been organized by four European partner universities. Self-evaluation was an integrated part of the IP. The results of the evaluations were used to improve the concept, content, and practical arrangements for the next IP. We recognized issues which make the IP successful and were common to the intensive project concept, independent of the topic. Based on the evaluation material, we made recommendations that can help organize similar intensive projects in the future.

Higher education teacher as a bridge builder – Innovation capability as a premise

Kaisa Sorsa, Principal Lecturer, Docent, Ph.D. (Econ.), Ph.D. (Law), Turku University of Applied Sciences
Raija Nurminen, Principal Lecturer, Dr.Sc. (Nutr.), Turku University of Applied Sciences
Ari Jolkkonen, Principal Lecturer, LE, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Pia Ahonen, koulutus- ja tutkimuspäällikkö, Dr.Sc. (Nutr.), Turku University of Applied Sciences

This article investigates the role of a higher education teacher as a bridge builder between higher education institution, students and changing business environment. Innovation capability is a premise of this new role of teacher. In the article we report a new tool for evaluating innovation capability.

Teachership and expertise in master’s degrees from universities of applied sciences – perspective from the Master’s degree for Captains into combining teachership and expertise

Peter Sandell, Lecturer, Lic.Sc. (Law), marine damage surveyor’s degree, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Masters degree for Captains was created ten years ago by careful planning. The Satakunta University of Applied Sciences invested in the beginning heavily in development and expertise. This investment has created new kind of co-operation between SAMK and companies/administration. Maintaining the expertise of the lecturers has a high priority and return on investment has been visible as the expertise of graduated students has already benefited both the University and the companies.

Futures Wheel Workshop – What, Why, When

Anne Hakala, Coordinator, M.Sc. (Econ. and Bus.Adm.), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences
Hanna Hopia, Principal Lecturer, Dr.Sc. (Nutr.), Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences

The Futures Wheel workshop method has been developed to support teachers’, experts’ and developers’ work at JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Method gives an effective tool to gather information about working life futures. The method gives also an opportunity for participants’ to learn how to foresight and improve anticipate skills.

Master’s degree teachers in universities of applied sciences – steering development and diversity and building networks – a personal growth story

Kim Wrange, Principal Lecturer, LE, Karelia University of Applied Sciences

This article describes the requirements for a master’s degree teacher through a personal growth story. Changes in labor requirements and contents are also changing the requirements on teachers’ work especially for master’s degree teachers. Master’s degree students have also very diverse backgrounds, which also brings its own challenges. Requirements for a master’s degree teacher are knowledge of substance, knowledge and competence of research and development, diversity management skills, and the ability to build networks. At best master’s degree teachers can create value added in their own community, which also has a strong regional impact.

Thoughts on the profession of teaching in higher education institutions

Anna Liisa Westman, Principal Lecturer, Docent, Ph.D. (Soc.Sc.), Karelia University of Applied Sciences

By the metaphor of blossoming rowan this article argues transforming teachership in the context of the universities of applied sciences. The roots of the teaching are growing up from the society. The aim of teaching is to create good opportunities for the life of students. That is why pedagogical solutions should be supported equality and rightness. This article recommends critical pedagogy and education.

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