Turo Kilpeläinen, President, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Digitisation has not only changed consumer behaviour but also the tried and tested methods of many sectors. And it goes without saying that, if it has not already done so, this shift will make an impact on the traditional structure of many higher education institutes (HEIs) Finland, in particular, has experienced the reality of demographic development alongside urbanisation processes and an ever-increasing sustainability gap in public sector funding.
As such, Finnish HEIs must carefully consider how to best go forward with the task of using public funding to generate the expertise and experts required by society. We must also think long and hard about the future role and purpose of HEIs from the perspective of both the individual and society as a whole.
It is generally accepted that HE students are mainly focussed on developing the knowledge and expertise necessary to secure their dream job. And when thinking about young students, the pressing questions are how and at what stage of their institution-based learning journey are they able to take what they have learned and apply it in the wider context of building a life of their own. In an era when it takes a just a second for a super computer to calculate the answers to a millennium’s worth of maths homework for every child in the world, we are going to need new ways of sparking their motivation to learn.
Currently, HEIs are primarily organised around the goal of completing degree-level qualifications. The paradigm shift we are experiencing, however, challenges us to make education more flexible, open, and accessible. In practice, this means we may need to tear down the foundations of the entire HE system. Not only should individual study modules be viable solutions for students pursuing a degree, but for professionals working towards CPD and job-seekers developing their expertise profile, too.
The impact of an increasingly flexible approach to higher education will inevitably bear fruit in terms of HE admissions. Indeed, courses and programmes will be opened up to everyone seeking to update their expertise. Students in Higher Education are increasingly diverse in terms of their background. Consequently, greater flexibility may mean that students are able to tailor the content of the study modules they take or their whole study plans in order to benefit from the expertise of leaders in their fields, both here in Finland and the rest of the world. In this model, the competencies that students develop are not limited by the education available at the institute they are attending. Instead, they can take advantage of a global pool of knowledge and expertise.
Predicting the future is difficult, though. When considering the impact of societal change, we may take the view that the expectations held by the state, regions, stakeholders in working life, and students in relation to HEIs will all change. That being said, we must also assume that the expectations of these actors will not necessarily be the same. The role of digitisation in facilitating accessibility and a completely new form of instruction would appear to be vitally important.
Consequently, this publication seeks to consider concrete examples of the ways in which digital developments are making an impact on teaching and learning at universities of applied sciences. The themes covered include digital competence among students, teachers’ digital pedagogical expertise, pedagogical approaches, raising the profile of universities of applied sciences, and a wide range of practical examples of learning environments and digital tools. The premise behind all this is a desire to meet the needs for expertise in professional life.
As a group of universities of applied sciences and one university, we have taken a courageous step towards the future with the development of the “eAMK” network (an e-resource for universities of applied sciences). The bringing together of HEIs in this way will hopefully foster a permanent community of expertise that transcends institutional borders. Indeed, glinting on the horizon is a new kind of network-based operational model for the entire HE sector.
Marja Kopeli, M.A., Faculty Coordinator, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
As a part of eAMK project four universities of applied sciences (HAMK, Humak, KAMK and Savonia) made in November 2017 a Webropol inquiry for students concerning their digital skills. In the questionnaire there were 48 claims and with them the students estimated their digital skills and also estimated the importance of mentioned skills.
According to the survey the students have good skills to study in digital learning environments chosen by their home university. The UAS orientation services seem to work quite well from this point of view. Instead the students seem to need more training to lead their identity in digital world and also to gain, use and create information in digital environments. Overall the students estimated their skills lower than the importance in 80 percent of the claims.
When planning degree programme curricula the future orientation should be in an important role, also in digital skills point of view.
Olli Vesterinen, Ph.D. (Ed.), Principal Lecturer, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
Sara Sintonen, Adjunct Professor, Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki
Heikki Kynäslahti, Adjunct Professor, Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki
Yutaro Ohashi, Associate Professor, Nippon Institute of Technology
Digital literacy is crucial in higher education sector as well as in future work. Higher education institutions can prepare students for the world of work better if the developing of digital competences is acknowledged. Interventions in formal education are urgently needed, and more attention should be given to teacher training and in-service training in order to narrow the digital divide gap (Kaarakainen, Kivinen & Vainio 2017). The article discusses five points of digital literacy: 1. to self-evaluate or to test? (evidence) 2. perspectives (such as identity) 3. participation (agency) 4. dynamic in terms of time (development) 5. individual vs. team (peer-learning). All this connects with the digital pedagogical practices. A co-configurative approach has been developed to look beyond traditional tool-based self-evaluations, which have been the current narrative in the research on digital literacy.
Eija Heikkinen, Ph.D. (Sc.), Development Director (Education), Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Working life requires collaboration between universities, businesses and stakeholders. Students, teachers and staff need opportunities to learn how to connect with each other to create and develop new operating models, products and services. An open business culture requires a proactive attitude towards goal-oriented collaborative development activities and allows the staff members of companies and universities to make mistakes.
The pedagogical approach of Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) is called cKAMK, where C describes the concepts of connect, create and coach. Teachers and students work in teams and use project learning methods to solve problems or to develop new products and services collaboratively. In coaching, the teacher is the expert who guides students to find the information they need. The students are responsible for learning and active participants in their work. In addition, KAMK develops a digipedagogical approach and has created a staff competence development model, which includes digital tools for the model’s connect, create and coach functions. This article describes the cKAMK approach.
Tarmo Alastalo, M.Eng., Certified Business Coach, Senior Lecturer, Karelia UAS
Maarit Ignatius, M.A., Coordinator, Blended pedagogy, Karelia UAS
Karelia University of Applied Sciences promotes the creation of flexible study and learning opportunities and the diversification of year-round education by supporting the development of the personnel’s digital skills, change of working methods and the transforming role of a teacher. According to the strategy of Karelia UAS (2017–2020), the implementation of each study unit should form a pedagogically coherent whole that suits the learning environments used.
The objective of this systematic development of learning and study processes is both a functional and pedagogical change aiming at emphasising the student’s role in the learning process and the development of more individualised learning and study processes. The goal of the development cycles is not only to enhance the digital pedagogical skills of the teacher, but also to create new tools for the long-term guidance, counselling, teaching and evaluation of the student. One of the tools used in the development of the digital pedagogical change and in the change of the teacher’s role is the SAMR model by R.R. Puentedura (http://hippasus.com/blog/).
Kati Mäenpää, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Guidance Counsellor, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Ph.D. Student, University of Oulu
Päivi Tervasoff, M.Soc.Sc., Senior Lecturer (Social services), Special Education Vocational Teacher, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Päivi Rautio, M.H.S., Lecturer, Work Guidance Instructor (STOry), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Minna Manninen, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer, Head of Midwifery Education, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Satu Rainto, M.Sc. (Health Care), Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Jukka Kurttila, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Juha Alakulppi, M.Ed., Senior Lecturer, Psychotherapist, Authorised Sexologist, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Minna Perälä, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer (Midwifery and Health Care), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Marja Kinisjärvi, M.H.S., Senior Lecturer (Midwifery), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Henna Alakulju, M.Ed., Study Affairs Planning Officer (Student Services), Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Jukka Savilampi, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
A team of health and social care teachers planned a new online course (Violence against woman and domestic violence, 5 CU) to a Finnish university of applied sciences shared digital course offering, Campus Online portal. The course was planned and constructed by the support and assistance of eAMK project and its training programme. This article describes a pedagogical example of the course planning process, online implementations and co-operation. It highlights the possibilities of improving or building up new high quality online education in network, with support of a higher education professionals and working life co-operation partners.
Anna-Leena Eklund, M.H.S., Specially Trained Nurse, Lecturer (Nursing), Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Taneli Rantaharju, M.Sc. (Tech.), Senior Lecturer, Study Programme Coordinator in intelligent systems, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
Heli Ylitalo, M.H.S., Lecturer (Health and Wellbeing), Kainuu Vocational College
Reforms in social and healthcare structures and functions due to digitalisation are instituting a demand for change in healthcare provision and training. The aim of the DIGIOS project (1.3.2017–31.5.2019) implemented jointly by Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kainuu Vocational College and Kainuu Joint Municipal Social and Healthcare Authority is to develop competence in electronic health services and health technology in the region.
The project has created a multi-purpose scalable learning environment in which modern technology- assisted nursing interventions and principles can be practised. The learning environment enables cooperation between the project partners as well as the opportunity to practise multi-professional nursing. As well as nursing and healthcare, the beneficiary of the project is the engineering degree. The results of this joint development initiative are highly applicable in advanced engineering studies, in which the students gain in depth knowledge of health, wellbeing and sports technologies, among others. In addition to teaching, the learning environment will be used in supplementary training and induction for social and healthcare sector and information technology staff.
Soile Juujärvi, D.Pol.Sc., Principal Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences
In health and social care, ethical competence is one of the core competences that is increasingly studied through E-learning. Dilemma discussions have previously been found to be the most effective method for advancing ethical decision-making. This paper introduces a pedagogical model for professional ethics course based on blended learning. Classroom teaching was combined with dilemma discussions on the digital platform. Students solved real-life ethical problems by applying professional codes, values and ethical theories. Integrated face-to-face and virtual learning engaged students in shared learning process. Threated asynchronous dilemma discussions were important for exploring theoretical knowledge. The role of the teacher was to facilitate learning and provide an example for critical discussion. The model is recommended as a highly motivating method for ethics education.
Ilona Laakkonen, M.A., eLearning Specialist, JAMK University of Applied Sciences
In 2015, we launched an online BBA programme at JAMK School of Business. Our students are motivated and have experiences from the world of work, but face the challenge of allocating their time between work, family life and studies. The past years have been an era of continuous pedagogical development and transformation for our staff. Have we succeeded? How to improve in the following years? This paper reflects these questions in the light of the student feedback and proposes present and future solutions for some of the problems common in adult online education: workload and rhythm; learning assignments and course structure; presence and social interaction. We still have room for improvement, but student responses indicate that hard work also pays off.
Kukka-Maaria Raatikainen, M.A., Senior Lecturer (Finnish and Communication), Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Anne Karuaho, M.A., Lecturer (Communication), Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Web pedagogy in learning Finnish language seems to be an effective way of learning at least when the immigrant cannot participate in traditional teaching. In Savonia University of Applied Sciences, we have developed seven courses in Finnish language and during 2018–2019 those courses will be held online. During the summer 2018, an experiment of web course in Finnish language not tied to time nor place took place in Savonia. Feedback has been mainly good: the participants felt that they have learnt many new things especially about idioms and some certain structures in Finnish. Some participants nevertheless felt that, there were not enough materials about oral language or theory about difficult subjects. It is obvious that we have to offer flexible solutions in Finnish language courses in the future also.
Tiina Hirard, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Heidi Stenberg, M.Ed., Project Director SIMHE-Metropolia, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
This article deals with the higher education preparatory program for immigrants and its online implementation that will be carried out by nine Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences. The main objective of the online implementation is to add to the availability and accessibility of the preparatory program on the national level. Furthermore, studying online develops digital skills that are essential in today’s higher education studies and that are thus considered both as objectives and contents of the preparatory program. The pedagogical approach of the online implementation is based on co-teaching, collaborative construction of knowledge as well between students and teachers as among students, activating learning and teaching methods and continuous assessment and guidance. The online implementation can be seen not only as a new way of implementing the preparatory program but also as a new kind of cooperation and sharing know-how between higher education institutes.
Merja Koikkalainen, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Marika Kunnari, D.H.S., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Soili Mäkimurto-Koivumaa, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Master’s Degree Unit, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
In autumn 2017, Lapland UAS launched a new multidisciplinary Master’s degree programme, Service Management in Digital Era, which is completed entirely online. The programme was designed to meet the challenges of rapidly changing working life. The multidisciplinary MONT thesis process, developed previously at Lapland UAS, was adopted for the programme’s thesis process. Most importantly, the MONT process is interdisciplinary and close to working life. MONT theses are written in small multidisciplinary groups. In an online thesis process, the students’ own activeness and responsibility throughout the process are vital. The MONT process, which is done online, is constructed such that a thesis is completed over the course of 18 months. Small thesis groups write articles on their individual development task, and students in each thematic group also compile a joint knowledge base connected to their theme as a co-creation project. Based on student feedback, satisfaction with the MONT project is connected to multidisciplinary work and the broad analysis it facilitates. Areas in need of improvement include specifying the schedule of the overall process right at the beginning of studies.
Minna Jukka, D. Sc. (Econ.), M.Sc. (Tech.), Project Manager DaaS – Open Data as a Service, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Increasing digital teaching creates a need for new kinds of interaction and personal relevance with the studies. One option is self-reflection of learning by writing a learning diary that supports the forming of personal insights helping to understand and remember. Reviewing over 40 learning diary instructions suggests the best learning diary instructions are tailored to each course, and clearly outline the goals of the diary, the teacher’s expectations and its evaluation. Guiding questions are also included: what I want to learn, what I learned, what was left unclear, what this new knowledge means to me, and what thoughts it aroused. With virtual courses, and especially with adult learners, the learning diary instructions were more detailed, suggesting that self-directedness of the studies needs more detailed guidance. Therefore, the new era of digital teaching needs good guidance in learning diaries.
Mervi Varhelahti, D.Ed., M.A., M.Sc. (Econ. & Bus.Adm.), Senior Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Mirjamaija Mikkilä-Erdmann, D.Ed., Professor, University of Turku, Department of Teacher Education
Changes in the world of work are posing new challenges in orientation in higher educational institutions. This study focuses on the development of adult students’ communication skills ‒ especially media choice ‒ in Master’s studies in universities of applied sciences in Finland. The approach used in this study is mixed method, combining a framework of digital communication skills to the media synchronicity theory as theoretical background. Results suggest that a stronger link to working life orientation could be achieved with a varied choice of digital communications tools in learning.
Anu Kurvinen, M.BA., Senior Lecture, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Pasi Juvonen, D.Sc., Senior Lecturer, Head Coach, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Change in digitalization has been rapid. Future working life will need employees who are skilled in different areas. While educating the next generation professionals, we are teaching them capabilities to take over new ways of increasing their knowledge. There is plenty of information available. Thus, one has to be able to think critically, have skills to synthesize and put the information into action in a wise way. This article presents an example of learning environment where ICT tools are learnt in conjunction with student cooperative’s business projects. Since 2009 we have been developing a new learning environment combining studying content knowledge (theory) learning by doing (practice), and employing dialogue in knowledge sharing, knowledge creation and reflection. Adopting and learning to use ICT tools is not depending on the availability of the ICT tools or applications anymore. It’s rather a question to learn how to better utilize the free to use tools available on the market, and harnessing them in the student projects. The article presents pedagogical choices that according to our experiences are increasing the readiness of adopting ICT tools and utilizing them alongside learning business.
Ritva Kosonen, L.Phil., Principal lecturer, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Taina Sjöholm, M.A., Senior Lecturer, Novia University of Applied Sciences
International evaluations show that Finland’s university system is still fragmented and profiles are minimal. A weakness is also that the universities of applied sciences in Finland cooperate only to a limited extent.
The eAMK project acknowledges the importance of profiling. In the autumn of 2018, the project sent a request to all universities of applied sciences asking on which areas of education the university wants to focus considering online studies.
Two of the universities expressed their desire to profile themselves in one area of education, four wanted to profile themselves in two different areas of education. For the rest (15) the wishes were divided into several areas of education. At this stage of the project, it would be challenging to try to create a clear profile of online studies for each of the universities of applied sciences.
In the long term, we should aim to improve cooperation in those areas that provide synergy effects. The work within the eAMK project has come to a good start and we look forward to a wide variety of activities in the future.