University of Eastern Finland - case study

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The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) (in Finnish Itä-Suomen yliopisto) to be launched in 2010 will be an international and multi-disciplinary university with a firm status among the leading universities in Finland. The new university will be formed of the main campuses in Joensuu (formally University of Joensuu) and Kuopio (formally University of Kuopio), and there will also be a campus in Savonlinna. UEF combines the strong areas of research and develops its competence in high quality education. The aim of the development of UEF is to create an operational entity that is efficient from the viewpoint of research, education and societal impact. UEF aims to be one of the leading Finnish multidisciplinary universities and among the best 200 in the world.

In this case study, the focus is partially on the role of educational technology and e-learning in the whole of UEF, but at least in the later part of the document, the main focus will be on the experiences and plans of how e-learning will be used at the School of Computing, Faculty of Science and Forestry at UEF. The School of Computing will be formed on the basis of two existing computer science departments in Kuopio and Joensuu. The planning of UEF is underway in year 2009, so even quick changes to the plans presented in this case are possible. Additionally, some of the issues covered in this case study are based on the experiences at University of Joensuu and they might not reflect the situation at University of Kuopio.





Contents

Institution

The present

General description of the institution in its current state, putting the e-learning into context.

The University of Eastern Finland is one of the Ministry of Education spearhead projects in the structural development of Finnish higher education institutions. Preparations for the new university began in February 2007, as a working group led by Professor Reijo Vihko, the former president of Academy of Finland, submitted its proposal on intensifying the cooperation between University of Joensuu and University of Kuopio. The new university, effective from January 1st, 2010, will be an international and multidisciplinary university with a firm status among the leading universities in Finland. It will be formed of the main campuses in Joensuu and Kuopio, and there will also be a campus in Savonlinna (former second campus of University of Joensuu).

The research profiles of the two universities are rather complementary, but in teaching there are some overlapping. In the new university structure, faculties and even departments will emerge so that the main activities are divided between the two main campuses. In the new university, e-learning solutions will be applied, for instance, in the cases when similar type of teaching is given in both campuses. The aim is that the student can finish bachelor and master level studies in the campus where he/she has started the studies.

The core of the University of Eastern Finland is built around its areas of expertise in research and education based on both the existing research areas of the original universities and new emerging research areas based on the synergies of the new environment. The university’s areas of expertise in research include photonics; medical and computational physics; new materials; social and cultural research on education; borders and Russia; dynamics of change in border regions; lifestyle choices, nutrition and health; trials and development of medicinal products; molecular medicine; neurosciences; climate change, forest ecosystems and bioenergy; environmental stress on natural biological communities and human health; forest mensuration and forest planning; and social environmental research. The emerging areas of expertise in research include biomedical imaging; evaluation of medical treatment efficiency; international law; multidisciplinary research into languages and cultures; tourism and leisure time; educational and development technology; service systems and SME business operations; and pedagogical well-being.

The University of Eastern Finland will comprise four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business.

Institution's annual budget

Based on statistics on the universities of Joensuu and Kuopio (2007), the estimated university budget (government funding) will be 120.2 M€. Additionally the university aims at getting additional funding of 73.7 M€ per year from other sources.

Number of students in the institution

Based on statistics on the universities of Joensuu and Kuopio (2007), the estimated number of students in total will be 14,557.

Staff in the institution

Based on statistics on the universities of Joensuu and Kuopio (2007), the number of staff will be 2,863 as full-time equivalents.

Institution's "business model".

The University of Eastern Finland to be launched in 2010 will have the legal status of an institution under public law. So the university 'remains' as a public university, but the reform of the University Law (Universities Act) enables the universities to increase their funding and property for example through donations, capital income and business operations. The state will continue to be responsible for the core funding of the universities and for the funding and capitalization during the early stages of the university reform.

Percentage of the institution's students based outside the home country?

In 2008, the University of Joensuu hosted 603 international students, of whom 344 were degree students and 259 were exchange students. The degree students came from 71 countries, mainly from Russia (80) and China (28). Exchange students came from 30 countries, with Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain and Russia as the leading sending countries.

Institution's approach to virtual mobility

The University of Eastern Finland does not have any policy or approach to virtual mobility. However, persons working with external funding have a possibility to work outside the campus. At the University of Joensuu, the staff working with internal funding is required to work mostly on campus.

How the institution manages its "brand"

The University of Eastern Finland hired a company to design the logo and visual identity of the university. The visual identity of the University of Eastern Finland reflects the brand of the university: role as a center of dynamic research and multidisciplinary education. The visual identity also reflects the possibilities that UEF offers to the students to fully pursue their ambitions. The visual appearance also represents the nature of Eastern Finland. The colors of the logo will also be used in the faculty emblems. The university comprises four faculties: the blue Faculty of Social Sciences and Business, the red Faculty of Philosophy, the green Faculty of Science and Forestry, and the turquoise Faculty of Health Sciences.

The values of the University of Eastern Finland are freedom of science, ethicality and justice.

The past - Description of the institution's history

University of Joensuu

The University of Joensuu was established in 1969. It includes eight faculties and nine non-faculty institutes. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree in eight different fields:

  • Education
  • Humanities
  • Natural sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Economics
  • Forestry
  • Theology
  • Psychology


The university has campuses in Joensuu and Savonlinna. Moreover, there is a field Research Station in Mekrijärvi, Ilomantsi. The main areas of expertise of the University of Joensuu are research and teaching relating to education and human development, forests and the environment, optics, new materials and information technology as well as border studies and Russia. The university has over 8,500 students, 1,100 of whom are on the Savonlinna campus. Every year approximately 1,500 new students are admitted. The staff comprises about 1,400 people, of whom 170 work on the Savonlinna campus. Almost 600 international students annually study at the University of Joensuu. The University of Joensuu offers the following English master degree programs: CBU Master’s Degree Programme in Forestry and Environmental Engineering, the CBU Master’s Degree Programme in History, the CBU Master’s Degree Programme in Information and Communications Technology, the International Master’s Degree Programme in Cultural Diversity, the International Master’s Degree Programme in Human Geography, the International Master’s Degree Programme in Information Technology, IMPIT, and the International Master’s Degree Programme in Media Computing and Optical Technology.


University of Kuopio

The university's Foundation Act was passed in 1966, and teaching started in 1972. Today the University of Kuopio has 6,135 students of which 968 are postgraduate students. Annually 1,000 new students start their studies. The University of Kuopio offers more than 140 learning pathways. The university is the third largest employer in Kuopio after the City of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital. The number of staff is 1,762 of which 109 are professors. The University of Kuopio contains five faculties:

  • Business and Information Technology
  • Medicine
  • Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Pharmacy
  • Social Sciences


The A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences can be considered equal to the faculties. Altogether, there are 60 teaching and research institutions within the faculties. This number includes 14 clinics operating within Kuopio University Hospital.


University of Eastern Finland

The University of Eastern Finland is created by emerging two existing universities: University of Joensuu and University of Kuopio. The process of starting up the University of Eastern Finland has been as follows:


2007


  • the University Senates of the universities of Joensuu and Kuopio decided to join the forces of the two universities and to establish the University of Eastern Finland on January 1st, 2010;
  • the Rectors signed the agreement on the principles and procedures to be followed in the preparation and establishment of the University of Eastern Finland;
  • the University Senates approved the project plan;
  • the Management Group began its operations and appoints an operative management for the project;
  • working groups for research, education and support services were appointed;
  • discipline-specific work was launched in the fields of science and social sciences;
  • the preparation of the strategy of the University of Eastern Finland began;
  • the preparation of strategies for research, education and personnel began;
  • the preparation of a quality management system for the University of Eastern Finland began;
  • preparation of the structural funds strategy, signing of the spearhead project agreement on August 28th, 2007;
  • planning of the overall information architecture;
  • making an operations model for pedagogical and technical support for teaching;
  • development of language centers and libraries;
  • an online inquiry on the University of Eastern Finland for personnel and students in November, 2007.

2008

  • the organizational structure of the University of Eastern Finland was completed;
  • the structure of the joint central administration was completed;
  • the strategy of the University of Eastern Finland is completed;
  • the strategic funding plan is completed;
  • the universities’ joint operating and financial plan is prepared on the basis of the strategy;
  • the strategies for research, teaching and internationalization are completed;
  • the plan of the overall information architecture is completed.

2009

  • joint student admissions in the field of Economics and Business Administration and Social Sciences;
  • remaining strategical plans are completed;
  • the university regulations are finalised;
  • the personnel development program is completed;
  • the funding model of the University is created;
  • first joint study programs are started;
  • Electoral College is appointed;
  • The transition period agreement defines that the Deans of faculties that operate on two campuses will be appointed so that the responsibility rotates between the campuses. The Dean of the Faculty of Science and Forestry to be appointed in autumn 2009 will be placed on the Joensuu Campus, and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business on the Kuopio Campus;
  • UEF University Senate begins operating.

2010

  • the University of Eastern Finland begins its operations on January 1st, 2010;
  • the staff and students of the Universities of Joensuu and Kuopio will be transferred to the University of Eastern Finland on January 1st, 2010;
  • the new faculties, departments and individual units of the UEF start operating;
  • new students will enroll to the study programs offered by the new University, some of the study programs will be managed and run by departments located in both of the main campuses;
  • the quality management system is audited in autumn 2010.

External environment

Institution's funding from government as a percentage of annual income

The expected funding from the government is roughly 62 % of annual income.

The way that funding is provided for institutions in the institution's country

Polytechnic education is co-financed by the government and local authorities. The local authorities pay 54.7 % of the cost of basic education, general upper secondary education, vocational education and training and polytechnic education. In addition to its 45.3 % share of statutory funding, the government grants discretionary subsidies to education and its development. As the funds are not earmarked, the education providers can use them at their discretion. In addition to this public funding, polytechnics provide fee-paying services and carry out projects, which also bring them income.


Funds granted by the Ministry of Education to universities comprise core funding, project funding and performance-based funding. The appropriations and the objectives, direction, evaluation and development of university operations are determined in performance agreements concluded by the universities and the Ministry of Education. Universities also receive a great deal of external financing, e.g. for research projects, and have income from services they provide, such as continuing professional education.

Legal status of the institution

The University of Eastern Finland to be launched in 2010 will have the legal status of an institution under public law. So the university ‘remains’ as a public university, but the reform of the University Law (Universities Act) enables the universities to increase their funding and property for example through donations, capital income and business operations. The state will continue to be responsible for the core funding of the universities and for the funding and capitalization during the early stages of the university reform. The new Universities Act is intended to enter into force in autumn 2009.

Language(s) that the institution uses for instruction

At the University of Easter Finland, instruction is given both in Finnish and in English. The amount of English teaching varies a lot between faculties, departments and even study subjects. At the University of Joensuu, roughly 7 per cent of the student population are international students. The university aims at hosting about 420 international degree students, i.e. about 350 Master’s level students and about 70 Doctoral candidates, annually. The University of Joensuu also aims at recruiting at least 10 per cent of students from abroad to the national Graduate (Doctoral) Schools offered by the University of Joensuu in a variety of academic fields. The aim in the new university is that the amount of English study programs will increase. For instance, in the School of Computing, the plan is that in the future all master level teaching will be given in English. A current estimate is that around 10 per cent of the UEF students will be studying in English.

The University of Joensuu offers following international Master’s degree programmes taught in English: Colour in Informatics and Media Technology, CIMET (Erasmus Mundus), Clinical Linguistics, EMCL (Erasmus Mundus), M.Sc. European Forestry (Erasmus Mundus), the CBU Master’s Degree Programme in Forestry and Environmental Engineering, the CBU Master’s Degree Programme in Information and Communications Technology, Human Geography, Information Technology (IMPIT), and Cultural Diversity, and in the following non-degree programmes taught in English: Educational Sciences, Environmental Science and Forestry, Karelia, Russia and the Baltic Area, Law, and Social Sciences.

Specific cultural issues that affect the institution's students

In the new university, there will be three campuses hundreds of kilometers apart from each other with fairly low number of students and teachers at each site. Additionally, the number of Russian students and co-operation with Russian Universities can be seen as a unique cultural aspect of the University of Joensuu.

External quality assurance and/or accreditation regime affecting the institution

The external quality assurance and accreditation regime is similar to other institutions in Finland.

Approaches to credit transfer with other similar institutions

The University of Eastern Finland uses the European Credits Transfer System. The University also follows the principles of the Bologna process concerning the length and scope of bachelor, master and PhD level education. Bachelor degree programs are 180 ECTS credits and the aim is to study the degree in three year. Master degree programs are 120 ECTS and the aim is to study the degree in two years.

The University continued to participate actively in the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Union. The University coordinated the Erasmus Mundus MSc European Forestry programme and participated in two other Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree programmes coordinated by the University of Potsdam and the University of St. Etienne. In September, the University organised an Erasmus Mundus Action 4 seminar on Higher Education in the Baltic and Nordic Countries for leaders of advising centres established, with the support of the Open Society Foundation, in the Western Balkanese and Central Asian countries. In addition, the University of Joensuu coordinated the Consortium of African and European Universities for ICT4D project within the EU’s Edulink programme. During 2008, the University participated in 30 projects sponsored by the EU educational cooperation programmes, 3 projects of the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes for Research, 18 structural fund projects and 6 other EU projects. The University also participated actively in the Nordic Nordforsk and Nordplus programmes.

Memberships associations

The University of Joensuu coordinates the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University, CBU, and holds the Presidency of the SILVA Network, a Consortium of 46 European universities offering Master’s and Doctor’s degree programs in Forestry. The University of Joensuu is a member of the European University Foundation/Campus Europae network coordinated from Luxemburg. The university is also a member of he Nordic Centre at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and of the Nordic Centre in India, NCI, in New Delhi. In 2003, the University of Joensuu was designated a Partner University of the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP. The University of Joensuu is also actively involved in the development of the Finnish Virtual University.

The University of Kuopio has participated in the following development and education programmes: Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, FIRST, NordForsk, Nordplus, ISEP, Asla-Fulbright, the University of North Carolina Exchange Programme, Cross Border University Programme, North-South Programme, Experience International, IPSF, IFMSA and IAESTE.

The existing memberships will be active also in the new university.

The main international partners of the institution

The University of Joensuu has well-established links with numerous universities in Europe, North America and Africa. The university's special objective is to expand and deepen its partnerships and cooperation with institutions of higher education in Asia, especially in China, Japan, in other East and Southeast Asian countries, and in India. Cooperation with universities in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Namibia and South Africa, and in Morocco, will continue to evolve. Efforts will also be made to establish cooperation with universities in Australia and New Zealand, and in Latin American countries. The university has been active in North-South and East-East exchange programs, especially in the fields of Environmental Science and Computer Science. In year 2008, new bilateral agreements of cooperation were concluded with Hokkai-Gakuen University and Utsunomiya University in Japan, Purbanchal University in Nepal, and with the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan. Agreements of cooperation were also signed with the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University in South Africa and with the University of Los Andes in Venezuela. At the end of the year 2008, the University of Joensuu had bilateral agreements of cooperation with 57 universities and research centres based in 25 different countries.

The School of Computing co-operates with the following institutions in the area of e-learning: Meraka Institute, South Africa; Tumaini University, Tanzania; University of Warwick, UK; Stockholm University/KTH, Sweden; Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; Kampala University, Uganda; University of Twente, The Netherlands; Athabasca University, Canada; Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; University of the North West, South Africa and United Nations Institute for Research and Training (UNITAR).

The University of Kuopio has bilateral exchange agreements with universities from Argentina, Australia, China, South Korea, Mexico and the USA.

The University of Eastern Finland is establishing a joint Environmental Research Centre at Nanjing University, Chine. The center will be the first satellite campus of UEF. There are also plans to establish satellite campuses to South Africa in the field of Information and Communication Technologies in Development.

Strategy

(Do not include annual plans.)

Current institutional strategy.

Vision

The University of Eastern Finland is an internationally recognized research and teaching university, which is among the top three most significant universities in Finland and among the leading 200 universities in the world. The University of Eastern Finland is defining its profile as a multidisciplinary and strongly networked research and teaching university that is internationally recognised in its areas of strength and expertise. Furthermore, new fields of research are expected to emerge at the interfaces of disciplines at the new university. The University of Eastern Finland seeks to reach the top three most significant universities in Finland and be among the leading 200 universities in the world. As its values, the university embraces freedom of science, ethicality and justness. Furthermore, the university is actively committed to the principles of sustainable development. The operations of the University of Eastern Finland are characterised by high standards, multidisciplinarity and internationality.

Mission statement of the University of Joensuu

The University of Eastern Finland conducts internationally recognised research and its training provision meets high international standards. The university has a strong profile in its areas of expertise and it promotes the regional development of eastern Finland in particular. The university’s Centers of Excellence and competitive degree programs create an internationally visible profile in education and research, thus enhancing the appeal of the University of Eastern Finland. The competitive edge achieved through joining forces promotes the national and regional innovation system.

Goals

The University of Eastern Finland aims to:

  • establish an internationally competitive and multi-disciplinary university complex in eastern Finland to meet the global challenges of the future while facing a changing operating environment
  • be one of the leading multi-disciplinary university complexes in Finland and among the top 200 in the world;
  • be an integral part of the Finnish innovation system;
  • utilize the strengths of both universities in education and research;
  • implement its Centre of Excellence policy successfully and build an internationally competitive research infrastructure;
  • intensify cooperation in education and clarify the division of tasks;
  • be a significant expert on Russia with a recognized national and European status; and
  • be an expert on lifelong learning.

The vision, mission and goals of the University of Eastern Finland are originally proposed in Professor Reijo Vihko’s working group report (available only in Finnish). The University of Joensuu Strategy 2003 - 2009 (available only in Finnish) and the University of Kuopio Strategy 2007 - 2015 define the vision, mission and goals of the still existing universities. An overview of the UEF strategy is provided in the Newsletter of UEF.

Learning and teaching strategy

The central educational principles in the University of Easter Finland are provision of high-level teaching that is based on research, concern for the well-being of students and support for their graduation. One of the main aims is to develop the teaching processes towards student-oriented learning. Students will be admitted to study at the University of Eastern Finland on the Joensuu, Kuopio or Savonlinna Campus. Students will have the possibility to complete their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees on one campus. Furthermore, students will have the possibility to transfer from one campus to another within the same field of study after completing the Bachelor’s degree studies. In compliance with the strategy, the internationalisation of the university is enhanced by increasing international cooperation in research and education and by promoting the recruitment of international students, faculty and scholars.

The UEF graduates have good knowledge and skills for working life. They have interests and skills for lifelong learning and self-development. The graduates of UEF are also committed to critical, international and ethical thinking. UEF is nationally and internationally known for high-level research based teaching, innovative teaching methods, motivated and pedagogically skillful researcher-teachers and a clear research profile. Tutoring practices are integrated to the studying and learning processes of students already from the early stages of the studies. UEF is an attractive study place for both national and international students, and students’ well-being and progress of studies are supported. UEF offers broad and flexible joint study possibilities in both main campuses.

The main focus areas of the learning and teaching strategy are as follows:

  1. teaching is based on scientific research and high pedagogical know-how of the teachers.
  2. UEF has quality services to support teaching and tutoring processes.
  3. UEF have extensive national and international co-operation networks.
  4. The specific focus areas in teaching and learning are training of employable graduates, application of lifelong learning principles, and to support students’ abilities and interests for research, post-graduate studies and researcher careers
  5. Students’ well-being and progress of studies are looked after in a comprehensive way.
  6. Sustainable development and societal responsibilities are part of all teaching.

The student is seen as an active partner in the teaching processes. The teaching is based on interactive teaching methods and possibilities for individual learning paths. Study programs, curriculums and individual courses will be improved via formative evaluation methods. The maintenance and development of teaching and learning infrastructures (library and learning environments) supports the efficient progress of studies. The teaching and learning strategy of UEF will be publicly announced during year 2009.

Current e-learning strategy

In Spring 2009, there is no e-learning strategy for the UEF. However, the official e-learning strategy of UEF will be announced during year 2009.

Form of studying

Estimates of the amount of students in e-learning programs

a) less than 5% of students in UEF are taking courses wholly or largely delivered by e-learning. There are only few study programs and department offering online/distance learning possibilities.

b) approx. 10% of students are taking courses where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is “significant”. The amount of “blended” courses during the merging process is increasing, but still most of the courses are given using the contact teaching approaches.

c) approx. 70% of student are taking courses where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is insignificant

Institutional budget for e-learning

There is no centrally available information on the amount of money spent for e-learning

External funding in fostering the development of e-learning

The role of external funding in the development of e-learning is many cases essential. Only few departments and study programs have showed interest to support e-learning initiatives from their basic funding. External funding is especially crucial when novel ICT solutions are designed and developed to support the e-learning practices. In general, only few departments have shown interests towards significant development of e-learning practices.

Structure

Institutional structure

The University of Eastern Finland will have the legal status of an institution under public law. At this point, the state has committed to the capitalization of Aalto University, which is a foundation university, but the model is possible for the other universities as well. The reform enables the universities to increase their funding and property for example through donations, capital income and business operations. The state will continue to be responsible for the core funding of the universities and for the funding and capitalization during the early stage of the university reform. The amendment to the Universities Act is currently in circulation for comment at the universities. The law reform will be discussed in Parliament in spring 2009 and the new Universities Act is intended to enter into force in autumn 2009.

The four faculties of the University of Eastern Finland will be the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business.The decision on the faculty structure rests on the idea of establishing profit centres that are equal in strength and larger and more powerful than the existing ones. Larger unit sizes are also sought in the faculties’ internal structures. The internal units will be departments, schools or institutes, and the faculties may decide to further divide these into smaller units consisting of disciplines, groups of disciplines, etc. It is intended that the role of faculties will be strengthened significantly and resources and decision-making from the current central administration and departments moved to the faculty level. The central administration of the University of Eastern Finland will be composed of an administration and finance unit, and of a development unit, which will be located in Joensuu and Kuopio in a balanced manner.

The Philosophical Faculty will be based in Joensuu and it will comprise the School of Humanities, the School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, the School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, and the School of Theology. The University Teacher Training Schools will be located in Joensuu and Savonlinna. The School of Humanities will comprise Finnish Language and Cultural Research, and Foreign Languages and Translation Studies. The School of Theology will comprise Western Theology and Orthodox Theology. The School of Educational Sciences and Psychology will be formed of Special Education, Education, Adult Education and Counselling, and Psychology.

The Faculty of Health Sciences will be based in Kuopio and it will comprise the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, the School of Pharmacy, the Department of Nursing Science, the School of Medicine, and the National Laboratory Animal Centre as an independent institute. The two current departments of the A.I. Virtanen Institute – the Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine and the Department of Neurobiology– will remain within the institute. The School of Medicine will continue to comprise the Department of Biomedicine, the Department of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine. The School of Pharmacy will decide on its internal structure later. The Department of Nursing Science currently placed in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Kuopio will move to the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Faculty of Science and Forestry will be based on two campuses and it will comprise seven departments or schools. The Department of Physics and Mathematics and the School of Computing will be based on the Joensuu and Kuopio campuses. The Department of Biology, the Department of Chemistry and the School of Forest Sciences will be based on the Joensuu campus. The Department of Biosciences and the Department of Environmental Science, on the other hand, will be based on the Kuopio campus. The Mekrijärvi Research Station will operate as an independent institute of the faculty. The Healthcare Information Systems Research and Development Unit (HIS) will move from the Information Technology Centre at the University of Kuopio to the School of Computing. The organisation within the faculty of the BioMater Centre, the InFotonics Center, and SMARC will be decided later.

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies will be based on the Joensuu and Kuopio campuses, and it will have five departments and two research centres. The departments to operate on two campuses are the Department of Business and the Department of Social Sciences. The Department of Law and the Department of History and Geography will be based on the Joensuu campus, whereas the Department of Social and Health Management will be based on the Kuopio campus. The Karelian Institute and the Centre for Tourism Studies will continue their operations on the Joensuu campus.

The Kuopio-based BioCenter Kuopio and the Kuopio Welfare Research Center KWRC will continue operating in their current form. The BioCenter will be part of the operations coordinated by the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the KWRC part of the operations of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies.

The new university will have six independent institutes or service centres. The service centers carrying out the same tasks will, as a rule, be merged into one unit at the service of all the faculties. The independent institutes include the adult education unit and the university pharmacy. The adult education unit is formed of the current adult education units at Joensuu, Kuopio, and Savonlinna, and it will be called Aducate, the Centre for Training and Development of the University of Eastern Finland.

The four service centres of the new university will be formed of the current service centre at the Universities of Joensuu and Kuopio. The Language Centre, the University Library, the IT Centre and the Learning Centre have been planned a joint organisation and operations model.

The formation of the central administration continues as decided earlier, and the central administration operations will be divided into the administration and finance unit, and the development unit. More detailed decisions on the organisation of the central administration will be taken in early 2009.

Organisation structure of the UEF can be found at UEF webpages.

E-learning support model

(a) hub (b) distributed (c) hub and spokes (d) complicated (e) non-existent

The learning support model in UEF could be best described as a hub. There is a central Learning Center, which supports staff in a range of e-learning activities, such as management of learning platforms, assessment, and video. The Learning Center support the development of teaching and studying at UEF. The unit aims at increasing the teaching and guidance competencies of teachers and improve the studying competencies of students. The unit will support the planning and implementation of e-learning and develop new ICT-based learning environments. The center collaborates with the University Faculties and other units. The Learning center will also work in regional, national and international networks

In addition, the Educational Technology research group at the Department of Computer Science and Statistics and IT education research group at the Faculty of Education, are academically responsible for most of the e-learning projects in the University.

Structure for the e-learning operation

The Learning Center of UEF together with the IT-center of the university are responsible for installing, managing e-learning environments and services. The Learning Center will also provide training for e-learning both for students and staff. The Learning Centre supports the pedagogical and technical development of higher education in the UEF. The main services provided by the learning center are

1) Coordination of projects related to development of teaching and learning using ICT. The recent projects of the Learning Center include

  • SFSF (KoPaSe); student feedback and study follow ups collection system;
  • Tapas; support teachers’ ICT skills as the foundation of quality teaching, improving e-competences of teachers and students, developing learning centre’s services to meet the needs and requirements of departments
  • W5W.2 Walmiiksi Wiidessä Wuodessa (Five years, two degrees). Support project for the new degree structure implementation – improve student support services in universities

2) implementation and running of staff support services

The Learning Centre provides the following services to the UEF staff

  • courses on university pedagogy and use of ICT in teaching
  • pedagogical support for teachers; development of teaching and instruction methods, providing instructional planning process, planning and evaluation of teaching, implementation and development of e-learning, distance teaching tools and methods, integrating educational technology into teaching (e.g. videconferening)
  • technical support
  • IT services; e-pedagogy, graphical design and user interfaces, image processing, software, tools and platforms, video and audio editing
  • live video streaming broadcasts

3) photography, image editing and graphic design services to support production of research, teaching, and information materials.

4) support for e-learning environments and tools

  • Adobe Connect Pro
  • Moodle
  • Wiki
  • Tools developed in house;
    • Lotta online survey form tool
    • Onni learning journal tool for students to manage and reflect on their studies. The learning journal can also be used as a learning and teaching method on a course
    • Pasi, the online feedback system, is meant for gathering and utilising the study module (course) feedback. Pasi is utilised in enhancing the quality of learning, teaching and curriculum design.
    • Ilmo tool can be used to manage course descriptions, enrolments, and follow-up, as well as to gather statistical data of attendance.
    • Aada&Aaron is a course planning tool which the teacher can use to define the competences pursued on an online course and to plan the student’s time management.

Describe the committees that oversee e-learning (including the rank and role of the Chair in each relevant committee) and their relationship to the organisational structure.

Preliminary plans for the e-learning center (named Learning Center) of UEF have been processed by the working group for learning and e-learning support.


More information about the organization, role and work responsibilities of the Learning Center will be available later.

Learning and Teaching processes: Focus on School of Computing

In this part of the case study, the focus is more to the plans and activities of the School of Computing at UEF rather than the whole university.


Learning and teaching design and delivery

Choice of pedagogies and technologies for a typical e-learning programme

In the School of Computing, there are two e-learning programs. In the ViSCoS study program, it is possible to study basic and intermediate studies of Computer Science. ViSCoS studies were originally offered to high school students in the region of North-Karelia, but now it is possible for anyone in Finland to study the ViSCoS studies via the Open University, University of Joensuu. The studies are also offered outside Finland mainly via partner institutions in Africa.

In the IMPDET online doctoral study program, students study towards a doctoral degree in computer science or education with a specific focus on the areas of ICT4D and Educational technology. Additionally, single master level courses offered by the department can be studied online. For instance, most of the courses in the educational technology master degree studies at the School of Computing can be studied online.

The main learning platform currently used in the e-learning programs of the School of Computing is Moodle. In individual courses, other platforms, such as wikis and blogs are also used. At the University of Joensuu, the Educational Research Group has also been developing various tools/solutions to support e-learning, such as Jeliot environment for visualizing programming code (Moreno, 2007; Myller 2007), Woven Stories for collaborative writing of stories (Myller & Nuutinen, 2006) and applications for essay grading and assessment (Kakkonen et al., 2005; Kakkonen et al., 2006). Educational robotics has also been applied, for instance, in learning basics of programming (Jormanainen & Harfield, 2008).

In future, a blended approach will be used in the School of Computing. E-learning will have more role also in the teaching processes of campus students. The aim is that at least bachelor level studies are available for students inside and outside the campus. It should be possible to study the bachelor level computer science studies regardless of students’ physical location. The blended approach offers also campus based students flexible ways to study. In the School of Computing, the same course will not be given simultaneously in both campuses using a contact teaching approach. Teacher will be based mainly on one campus, but the course assistants and students work in both campuses. Teachers can choose freely the pedagogical approach they want to apply in their courses. The objective is to rationalize the teaching duties of staff, so that they have more time for research.

The following two scenarios are still under discussion for the organisation of teaching in the School of Computing.

Scenario 1: The Kuopio campus will be responsible for undergraduate studies. ViSCoS study program will continue in Joensuu and undergraduate courses are webcasted, so that students can also study undergraduate studies in Joensuu. Contact teaching will not be organized in Joensuu, except demo sessions or group work activities. Both campuses offer master degree programs, but the Joensuu campus will only give master level courses in English. The international study programs in the School are given from Joensuu.

Scenario 2: In the second scenario, undergraduate computer science studies will be given from both campuses. In this scenario, the same course will not be given simultaneously in both campuses using a contact teaching approach. Teacher will be based mainly on one campus, but the course assistants and students work in both campuses. Teachers can choose freely the pedagogical approach they want to apply in their courses. The objective is to rationalize the teaching duties of staff, so that they have more time for research.

Opportunities for staff to refine or in some cases override design decisions made earlier.

In the Finnish universities teachers have a right to independently select what they will teach and how. Naturally, the curricula decisions made in the departments and faculties restrict the teachers opportunities. The teachers are able to freely choose how to deliver their courses and which kinds of pedagogical approaches they want to use.

Learning and teaching development

This includes materials and IPR.

Amount of e-learning content sourced from outside the institution

Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful)

Very little (score of 1).

E-learning content developed at the School of Computing has been mainly developed by the staff. In some study programs, like in IMPDET, additional funding has been available to hire external experts to create the content. Outside e-learning producers are used only when there is external funding to finance the implementation of the material. In other cases, the teaching staff themselves are responsible for creating the materials.

Amount of e-learning content sourced from outside the institution that is OER

Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful)

Very little (score of 1).

Ownership by staff of content developed

The basic principle at University of Joensuu is that there can be several different types of contracts between the content developers and institution depending on the role of content developer, type of content and individual preferences. Both University of Joensuu and University of Kuopio have its own policies for licensing and IPR.

The thumb of rule is that the content creator (e.g. staff) owns the content and then it is decided on individual cases how institution can use the created content and whether there is licensing back to staff. The rule is that when teachers create e-learning material, they should always sign a contract with the university concerning copyright and IPR matters. Staff can also use the content on their own purposes as long as the activities do not compete with the activities of the University.

Amount of content sourced from other departments within the institution

Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful)

Very little (score of 1). Only few examples exist where the e-learning content has been sourced from other departments within the institution.

Role of student-generated content in the institution's programmes

Little (score of 2). The role of student-generated content varies a lot depending on the study programs and teachers. There is no centrally collected information available on the exact amount of student-generated content in University of Joensuu or Kuopio. However, there are examples of courses where the student-generated content has been used. If departments and study programs want to use student-generated content, students need to sign a contract with the university concerning IPR.

Learning and teaching evaluation and quality

Quality procedures (a) in general terms and (b) with respect to e-learning.

In the School of Computing (Joensuu) the following quality procedures, both in the cases of (a) and (b), are applied:

  1. Students are able to give feedback on all courses via the general questionnaire. Some teachers also collect feedback on their own channels in order to improve the course delivery.
  2. Individual teachers formatively evaluate their courses, but there is not a centralized system to support the improvement of the courses based on the feedback.
  3. In years 2007-2008, specific attention was given in the Department of Computer Science and Statistics at University of Joensuu to to improve first year courses. The following methods were used to find out the problematic areas and find new solutions: interviews with students and staff concerning the successful solutions and areas for improvement, extensive collection of data from students to identify the most problematic areas in the first year courses and outside evaluation of the teaching methods and course contents.

Approaches to evaluation of programmes (a) in general terms and (b) where such programmes have significant e-learning components.

In the first years of the development of ViSCoS studies during years 2000 – 2005, both individual courses and the whole study program were evaluated extensively (e.g. Suhonen, 2005; Torvinen 2004; Suhonen & Sutinen, 2007). The main aim of the evaluation was to find out the reasons for drop-outs. Also in other programs, evaluation has played an important role with the specific focus on formative evaluation. The objective has been to use the data collected from the courses to improve teaching practices and learning materials. In the development of e-learning at the School of Computing, formative evaluation schemes have an important role to identify aspects of improvement. The changes are also made quickly depending on the collected feedback and evaluation results.

Meta Learning and Teaching processes

Communications

The way the institution communicates good practice in e-learning within itself

In the University of Joensuu, the main mechanism to share e-learning practices and information is the Wiki space for sharing information among the staff. In University of Kuopio, the Learning center of the university has published several article series to share good practices in e-learning. In the University of Joensuu, educational technology center published similar books to share experiences and good practices in e-learning. The publications are available also online (in Finnish). Occasionally, there has also been seminars and workshops at the University of Joensuu related to the use and development of e-learning.

The way the institution communicates its good practice in e-learning to organisations outside.

In the School of Computing, the good practices in e-learning have mainly been communicated by writing papers about the experiences. Several papers have been published in various forums, especially in conferences with specific focus on Computer Science Education and Educational Technology. The Educational Research Group at the University of Joensuu conducts research on e-learning, which means that in the School of Computing the development and research in e-learning are intertwined. Similar efforts have also been done in other departments to communicate the e-learning experiences.

The way the institution communicates good practice in e-learning from outside organisations into its own organisation

The main form of communicating from outside of the organisation is via staff participation to national and international conferences. The University of Joensuu Library has subscriptions to several journal publications in the area of educational technology and e-learning, so staff are able to access recent knowledge in the field.

Recent occasions on which institutional leaders or managers have made presentations with significant reference to e-learning

Prof. Sutinen gave a keynote speak at the Edmedia 2005 conference with the title “e-Shake it”. Prof. Sutinen has also been frequently invited to give invite presentations in workshops and research seminars in China and Africa.

Value for money

Annual planning procedure (a) in general and (b) how it handles e-learning aspects.

Each Faculty - and each School or Department within the Faculty - plans its own activities, which is overseen by the Faculty board. The main decisions concerning the activities of the Faculty are made by the Faculty board. The Dean of Faculty is responsible for leading the planning procedure. In the School or Department level, the Head of School/Department is responsible for the planning and activities of the unit. E-learning is considered to be embedded as part of this process. However, individual teachers are able to make independent decisions concerning the use of e-learning when it does not require any extra funding.

The decision-making process for a typical academic programme

The typical decision making process at the Department of Computer Science and Statistics at University of Joensuu (presumably similar model will be followed in the School of Computing of the new University) is as follows:

  1. The Faculty Board accepts the curriculum each year for all teaching carried out at the department.
  2. Head of Department and Vice-Head of Department co-ordinate the teaching duties and development plans within the whole department
  3. Professors are responsible for the implementation/planning of academic programs and curriculum planning within their research field.
  4. Senior Assistants / Assistants are responsible for the practical arrangements and co-ordination of academic programs.
  5. Lecturers and part-time teachers (e.g. PhD students) are responsible for the arrangement of individual courses.

The Faculty Board is responsible for higher level decision making. Professors in collaboration with Senior Assistants / Assistants independently decide on the practical implementation and management of academic programs within their own subject area. Teachers can independently make decisions on the practical organization of individual courses as long as they follow the higher level decisions.

The decision-making process for a typical large IT project

In the School of Computing, the decision process is very simple. Since the School of Computing have its own servers, the selection and installation of IT project are done in the departmental level and the Head of Department makes the decisions. In the University level, the decision process is more complex; Learning center and IT center will be responsible for initiating and implementing large scale IT projects.

The approach to budget management.

There is no central approach related to budget management of e-learning programs. If there are external funding, the departments usually eager to support the activities. In the case of internal funding, the budget issues need to be handled in the departmental/faculty level.

The procedures in the institution for assigning or negotiating teaching workload to/with staff

The teaching workload of the staff is negotiated inside the departments and institutions of the university yearly. Teaching staff have a total working hour scheme. In the scheme, teachers are supposed to work a certain amount of hours per year (1600 hours). The total working hours is calculated from the teaching duties, research work, project work and other duties. In the School of Computing, no specific account is given for the workload related to e-learning. The teachers themselves evaluate the amount of workload related to teaching duties in the courses based on the amount of contact teaching, tutoring, assessment and preparation work.

Staff

Teachers, lecturers, trainers and equivalent support roles

The approach to development of e-learning technical and pedagogic skills among staff

In the UEF, Learning center is responsible for providing e-learning training to staff. The following staff training programs are available

  • University pedagogy (basic and internmediate level), altogether 25 ECTS
  • E-learning (basic and intermediate level), altogether 20 ECTS

Individual staff members in the departments are encouraged to educate themselves (for instance by completing higher education pedagogical courses), but the departments provide rarely any any specific training for the development of pedagogical skills. At the moment, the development of technical and pedagogical skills lies in the hands of individual staff members and their own activity. In the School of Computing, irregular teaching improvement seminars have been organised.

Current and expected levels of staff competence in e-learning

Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful)

At the School of Computing, the level of staff competences in e-learning is average (score 3). Some of the staff are very competent in e-learning. On the other hand, some staff are reluctant to use e-learning, partly because of lack of skills.

The expected level: 4. In the new university, the use of e-learning is crucial, if the School of Computing wants to rationalize the teaching and create new learning opportunities. All staff members need to be prepared, at least in some level, to use e-learning in their courses. The School of Computing also aims at lowering the obstacles for using e-learning. For instance, specific equipment will be created to support broadcasting of lectures and teaching session between the two campuses.

The extent to which staff attitudes to e-learning are favourable

Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful)

The estimated attitude level of the staff towards e-learning at the School of Computing is three. Some of the staff members are not ready to adopt e-learning in their teaching and they have very negative attitude towards using the possibilities of e-learning. On the other hand, some of the staff have very positive attitude towards using e-learning in their courses.

The way that the institution rewards and recognises staff with competence in e-learning

In the School of Computing, there are no specific reward mechanism exists for recognizing competencies in e-learning. In the School of Computing, the development of e-learning is one of the research areas. Some of the members of the Educational Technology research group are able to combine the development of e-learning and research activities.

Management and leadership

This subsection concerns leaders (Rectors, Vice-Chancellors, etc) and academic and support service managers (Deans, Directors, etc). These do not need to have specific knowledge of e-learning details but must have the necessary strategic, management, costing and foresight capability to preside over decisions on key e-learning issues such as procurement of a new VLE, development of a new distance learning programme, rebalancing the library and its staff more towards web 2.0 and less to books, etc. This will require appropriate manager and leader training.


Yhe approach to development of e-learning-related skills among (a) managers and (b) leaders

Learning Center of the UEF will provide most of the e-learning training for managers and leaders.

The current level of (a) management and (b) leadership competence in e-learning related skills appropriate to their levels

This information is not available.

The extent to which (a) management and (b) leadership attitudes to e-learning are favourable

In the new university, the management and leadership are more eager towards using e-learning than earlier.

he job description of the most senior manager/leader in the organisation who spends a significant portion of his/her time on e-learning matters

Director of Learning Center is the responsible for managing and organizing the activities of the Learning Center at UEF.

Students

The approach to development of e-learning skills among students

At the School of Computing, there are no specific approaches for development of e-learning skills among students. The upcoming Learning Center in UEF will provide courses to improve students’ e-learning skills.

The current level and expected level of student competence in e-learning

The level of student competence in e-learning is often is 1 or 2. The students usually do not have prior experiences on e-learning. Since many of the students are not exposed to e-learning during their studies, the e-learning competence level on graduation is about the same. Those students who are exposed to e-learning usually reach levels 3 and 4. In the new School of Computing, it is expected that the level of student competence on graduation will be higher and more students will be exposed to e-learning during their studies, since the amount of e-learning will increase.

The extent to which student attitudes to e-learning are favourable

Most of the students are favorable to e-learning, but there are also cases when students are reluctant to study online. Score: 3.

The extent to which students understand the demands on them placed by e-learning systems

In the beginning of an e-learning course, there are usually lots of confusion and misunderstanding concerning the demand of e-learning. When the students become familiar with the processes of e-learning, their understanding of e-learning requirements also increases.

The current approach to handling student plagiarism

The plagiarism is handled mainly manually. Individual teachers might have their own strategies on automatically detecting plagiarism. In future, it is expected that automatic plagiarism detection systems will become a regular part of online courses. In some of the courses, there are clear descriptions concerning the plagiarism.

The current level of student satisfaction with the e-learning aspects of their courses

Information not available at this stage.

Technology

For each of the following technologies relevant to e-learning describe how much it is used on a scale of 1-5 and add a comment if appropriate.


VLE and/or content repository

Scale: 5.

Almost, all e-learning courses in the School of Computing are available via the Moodle platform.

Email or bulletin boards

Score: 5.

Emails and bulletin boards are used frequently in online courses and teaching in general.

Automated assessment

Score: 2.

At the moment, automated assessment is not used extensively, but in the future (semi-) automatic assessment tools will be applied to assess essays and programming assignments in the School of Computing.

Web 2.0 tools especially blogs, wikis and social networks oriented to the institution

Rating: 3. The use of web 2.0 tools is becoming more and more popular.

E-portfolios

Rating: 1.

Laptops - and comment on student ownership issues

Rating: 2. Only few students use their own laptops during courses.

Audio or video podcasting or streaming - and comment on student ownership issues

Rating: 2.

There are some example of video podcasting, but not extensively.

Mobile devices (not laptops) - and comment on student ownership issues

Rating: 1.

Rarely used in normal teaching, but mainly in relation to research and experiments.

And finally:

Provide a description of any other technologies with significant use in the institution.

At the School of Computing, robotics and tangible technologies are used in the courses. In the Savonlinna Campus, there is a growing interests towards using Second Life in teaching.

Futures

The expected changes as they relate to e-learning within the institution's current strategic horizon

In the UEF, the role of e-learning should be crucial in order to rationalize teaching practices in those departments where academic programs are co-organized in two campuses. Since some of the academic programs will be run simultaneously in two campuses, online learning and broadcasting of lectures and other teaching scenarios should become a standard way of offering courses. At the same time, this enables the university to offer it courses to distance learners outside the campus. None of the Finnish universities has really profiled itself to distance learning, so this would provide certain advantages to the UEF.

The university is developing its infrastructure, teaching processes and e-learning tools and environments to support more extensive use of e-learning. Additionally, there is growing interest in the Savonlinna campus to use Second Life as a platform to arrange teaching.

Any changes further downstream that the institution is now considering or concerned about

The formation of completely new university as a result of the emerge process will be the biggest challenge in upcoming year. In spring 2009, many of the practical aspects of the new university are still undecided. The use and development of e-learning will also be refined when the new university is completely established in two to three years time.

How the institution handles the foresight aspects of its operation with regard to e-learning

Learning Center at the University of Easter Finland will provide e-learning support to teachers and students. The Learning Center in collaboration with the IT-center will also be responsible for installing and managing LMSs, virtual learning systems, social software platform and other educational technology tools which for the use of the most of the departments. The School of Computing has its own services and servers to support e-learning and e-learning research. In future it is expected that the e-learning research conducted in the School of Computing will affect the activities of the Learning Center. For instance, the essay grading research conducted in the School is promising for the development of essay assessment in the whole university.

How the institution handles advanced development oriented to e-learni

At the institutional level, there has not been much room for advanced development of e-learning. The Learning Center will run projects related to the development of e-learning. At the School of Computing, there are resources (e.g. servers and equipment) and support (IT support staff) for advanced development of e-learning. However, the developments made in the department rarely expand to the university level. In general, at least at the University of Joensuu, there is not much support for innovative development of e-learning. The focus has been more on supporting the adaptation of technologies developed outside the university.

How the institution analyses and takes into account present and future markets for its offerings

How the institution analyses and takes into account present and future competitor suppliers for its offerings

How the institution analyses and takes into account the views of other stakeholders, including but not restricted to employers, local authorities and the social partners (unions).

More information will be available later.


References and reports

  • Jormanainen, I., & Harfield, A. (2008). Supporting the teacher in educational robotics classes: work in progress. In The 16th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE 2008).
  • Kakkonen, T., Myller, N., & Sutinen, E. (2006). Applying Latent Dirichlet Allocation to Automatic Essay Grading. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Natural Language Processing (pp. 110-120). Springer. (published at SpringerLink)
  • Kakkonen, T., Sutinen, E., & Timonen, J. (2005). Applying Validation Methods for Noise Reduction in LSA-based Essay Grading. In WSEAS Transactions on Information Science and Applications, 2(9), 1334-1342. ISSN 1790-0832.
  • Moreno, A. (2007). Algorithm Animation. In Human-Centred Visualization Environments, GI-Dagstuhl Research Seminar, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS 4417.
  • Myller, N. & Nuutinen, J. (2006). JeCo: Combining Program Visualization and Story Weaving Informatics in Education, 5, 255 – 264.
  • Suhonen, J., & Sutinen, E. (2007). Learning Computer Science over the Web: the ViSCoS Odyssey. In R. C. Sharma, & S. Mishra (Ed.), Cases on Global E-Learning Practices: Successes and Pitfalls (pp. 176-188). Idea Group Publishing.


Relevant websites:

The University of Eastern Finland: http://www.uef.fi/

The University of Joensuu: http://www.joensuu.fi/joyindex.html

The University of Kuopio: http://www.uku.fi/

EdTech Research Group at University of Joensuu: http://cs.joensuu.fi/edtech

ViSCoS publications at the University of Joensuu: http://cs.joensuu.fi/edtech/publicationsPublist.php?sort=area#Virtual%20Studies%20of%20Computer%20Science

Jeliot: http://cs.joensuu.fi/Jeliot

Woven Stories: http://cs.joensuu.fi/wovenstories

Text and Program Analysis project: http://cs.joensuu.fi/edtech/tapas.php


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