Re-use library archives: Language English

Highlight the essentials

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The Educational Problem

This pattern concerns problems related to learners who are overwhelmed in a new domain and in need of structure that makes explicit the most important concepts of a domain as a start for developing new knowledge practices. This pattern was originally developed in the context of simulation-based training of teams in healthcare but can probably be useful in many contexts where a group of learners are introduced to a new conceptual framework.

  • Learners may be overwhelmed by the complexity of a new domain.
  • Course participants may lack knowledge about and fail to see the importance of essential activities like making analyses.
  • Course participants do not expect to learn to make such analyses.
  • Participants may have wrong expectations about expertise; a common misconception is that experienced practitioners master teamwork and leadership skills, and that skills are implicitly picked up through experience.
  • Other problems concern the design or presentation of the essential concepts; if a model is too complex it risks not being learned, used and remembered.

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First individually, then as a group

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The Educational Problem

The educational problem concerns the phenomenon of individuals being influenced by their peers at the expense of individual views and the risk for uncritical agreement in groups.

This pattern was originally developed in the context of courses involving simulation-based training of teams in healthcare but can probably be useful in many contexts where a group of learners analyze something such as an activity that they have just taken part in.

  • Immediate group discussions following on simulations may influence perceptions of the preceding activity and thereby hinder the creation of personal analyses by each individual.
  • The team does not utilize its potential capacity of learning from each of its members. There may be uncritical agreement among team members. Members may not be aware of other members’ views. Some students may be quiet while others dominate and not get the chance to speak their voice.

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Analyse and score performance continuously

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The Educational Problem

This pattern concerns the lack of awareness and a shared understanding among learners. This pattern was originally developed in the context of simulation-based training of teams in healthcare but can probably be useful in many contexts where a group of learners analyze something such as an activity that they have just taken part in.

  • Lack of awareness of own and other’s performance during simulations.
  • Learners lack a common, shared understanding.
  • Weak connection between theory and practice: a need for conceptualizing practices.
  • During (resuscitation) work there is usually very limited or no time for learners to reflect on their behaviour.
  • Learners tend to overly agree with each other.
  • Learners tend to overly focus on their own performance, often in critical ways.
  • Theoretical concepts can be considered self-evident on an abstract level but learners may fail to see their relevance to actual practice.
  • Conflicts between different goals risk going unnoticed.

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Online Teacher Training Package for the Trialogical Learning Approach

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Description of the resource

The online teacher training package is meant as support material for teacher trainers in carrying out national and international teacher training workshops about knowledge creation pedagogy and the Trialogical approach to learning. The approach combines advanced pedagogical practices and modern digital tools for collaborative knowledge creation.

The package includes an example scenario for organizing teacher training, including recommendations for trainers about activities, videotaped expert lectures, presentation material, guidelines to be used in the course assignments, suggestions and examples about technology use, and working templates for the participants’ course planning, etc.

All sections of the package include two parts: 1) instructions for the trainers conducting the teacher training, and 2) example content to be used when creating the working spaces for the participants of the training. In the trainer part, all materials are in editable format (.ppt, .doc etc.), in the example content part they are in .pdf format, if the trainer wants to use them as such in the training.

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Use an explicit protocol to assess individual and group activity

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The Educational Problem

Courses based on a complex educational organization, structured around individual and group activities and aimed at the construction of knowledge and of many concrete artifacts, requires to overcome the classical evaluation mode in the direction of one able to account for actions, interactions, products and processes. In addition, the evaluation - like the entire educational setting - should encourage accountability and the active role of students, becoming an integral part of the learning process, and moving from a learning evaluation to an assessment for learning.

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Add small-scale collaborative knowledge creation activities in a course emphasizing individual work

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The Educational Problem

Many university courses are conducted as conventional lecture-based courses and tasks emphasizing individual work because of practical reasons. For example, courses might be short and there is not enough time to organize proper collaborative processes which would be interesting for students, there are too many participants to effectively organize group work, or the teachers feel that they do not manage more challenging collaborative working methods well enough in order to implement them in their own courses.

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Synchronisation of course activities with many teachers and students

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The Educational Problem

When a course is a basic compulsory course for several faculties, many teachers and huge amount of students are involved in course activities. If a course comprises of several scheduled activities, it need to be carried out within a pre-defined period. If some of the group supervisors are not regularly teachers, but external experts, they are not always well-informed about the different phases and activities of a course. This creates difficulties in shared tasks distribution between students, monitoring and students’ work feedback and evaluation.  It the supervision  is not adapted  to course activities including the timing of tasks distribution and feedback, this may disturb and delay the students’ work. The same problem arises if some students do not follow scheduled tasks on time. This could spoil the quality of the team work.

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Promoting shared responsibility to work in teams

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The Educational Problem

When a course has an authentic customer, there is a motivation to work on the shared objects for being able to provide something worth while for the customer. However, it still has been a problem for students to work as a team. The “team” may share tasks and work separately - as a group, not as a team. Student teams often have communication problems, despite agreeing on the communication channels and tools, or some members are not present enough. The shared objects that come from the project itself by the customer help but are not enough.

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GitHub as Trialogical Learning Approach Re-use Library Home

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The Educational Problem

After the end of KNORK project, the Trialogical Learning Approach Re-use Library (RL) should remain publicly accessible for the foreseeable future.

At present, the RL is a set of Google Docs files. Although Google Docs is convenient for collaborative editing, we believe that in the long term RL artifacts should be stored in a open format and the read-only access should be simplified.

The following criteria were taken in consideration while evaluating suitable hosting platforms:

  • Straightforward access to the existing content
  • Discoverability by search engines
  • Open-source document format
  • Well defined mechanism for submitting corrections and additions
  • Reliability
  • The service should be free of charge

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Student-teacher communication embedded in a developed document

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The Educational Problem

Suppose that we have a project based learning class, with students divided in multiple teams. As part of the deliverables, each team is required to submit a report with summary of the design steps, the decisions made and the outcomes.

Students are encouraged to seek advice, related to projects, by email. Most questions concern a specific design step and specific part of the project report. Usually, the email itself do not contain sufficient context for the teacher to provide an adequate answer, without looking at the project report first. When such mail arrives, the professor’s has to:

  1. Identify the team
  2. Find the related report document (on some document sharing platform)
  3. Find the particular place in the document
  4. Answer the question.

In cases where professors have to supervise dozens of project teams, the overhead of steps 1 to 3 becomes significant.

Another kind of problem is the decoupling of the email based questions/answers from the project artifacts. It makes both analyzing the project evolution and archiving all artifacts more complicated than necessary.

Description of the resource

Therefore, we are proposing a workflow, based on questions and answers embedded in the project report and automatically generated email notifications.

Prerequisites

  • The professors and students have Google accounts
  • Google Docs is used for collaborative project report authoring

Project initiation

  • For each team, create a Google document. Initially the document contains the subject of the project and the team members’ contact details.
  • Share the documents with the team members. Give them “Can edit” rights and select the “Notify people” check-box.
  • Google docs automatically sends emails to each student
  • The students can open the document by clicking on the "Open in Docs" link in the email. Later, they can find the document in the “Shared with me” folder of their Google Drive.

It’s important to note that the professor should remain the owner of the shared document. Also, in order to guarantee reasonable access control, the document should be shared with gmail accounts only.

Questions and answers

  • When a student need, he/she opens the shared document and adds a comment. The comment should be attached to some text in the area to which the question is related.
  • The owner of the document (i.e. the teacher) receives an email containing the text of the comment and a hyperlink to the comment itself.
  • By clicking on the hyperlink, the teacher gets to the exact place in the Google document where the comment is located, thus the context of the question is established.
  • The teacher review the text and answer the question by adding a "Reply" to the comment.

The proposed design patterns allows for more focused, context aware student to teacher communication. All questions and answers remain in the shared document. They might be hidden or even deleted, but still will be available in the documents history.

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Project course in Biosciences (Biosciences, University)

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The Educational Problem

The central reason for creating the course was that in the feedback that the faculty of Bio- and Environmental Sciences had received both from alumni, graduates and employees, the competences of project planning and management were emphasized as important skills in working life. Such competences were taught little in the faculty. There emerged a desire to provide master students with opportunities to learn project work practices and apply theoretical domain knowledge that they have learned during their studies in solving practical real world problems.

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Weekly exams

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The Educational Problem

On a 15 ECTS course where students are studying only the single course, the exam at the end covering the full content of the course may become really wide. Having a single exam at the end of the course also puts heavy requirements for students skills in concentrating on studies while the course is running as it may prove out to be impossible to learn everything the night before the final exam.

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Course feedback workshop

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The Educational Problem

Continuous development of courses would require comprehensive feedback from the participants of the course. The most widely used form of feedback is a questionnaire that is filled in after the course is completed. This approach has two main problems: timing of the feedback and one-way nature of the feedback. Furthermore, it is fairly challenging to get students answer open questions and therefore questionnaires quite often use mostly closed questions. Many times the answers to closed questions like “How would you rate the content of the course on scale 1...5?” provide very little help in developing the course further as it is not possible to know what the respondent thought was the problem with the course content.

For the trialogical approach, timing of the traditional feedback collection is the most important problem: it does not provide information for developing the course content during the course. It is like looking at a car’s back mirror.

One-way nature of the feedback diminishes possibilities of gaining comprehensive understanding of concerns of students as it is often impossible to ask clarifying questions about the feedback given by the students.

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Students learn new content by summarising topics on white boards in teams and teaching fellow students

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The Educational Problem

During the past few years it seems that students’ willingness to concentrate on lecture type of content has been decreasing. Furthermore, the trialogical approach on learning puts the project on “center stage” and leaves little energy for more boring, but still important means of learning like lectures. In our university, classrooms have been modified to facilitate trialogical learning. We have changed the traditional computer classrooms into team workspaces with tables organized in teams of six students and got rid of teacher’s table in the front . While new classroom setup enhances team work at the same time it makes harder to concentrate on long lectures.

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Share solutions of individual tasks to inspire others

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The Educational Problem

Course participants may feel that it is difficult to carry out a degree project and to write a report about it. They may occasionally experience “writer’s block” or simply not see viable ways to proceed and report work. Sometimes course participants may get stuck on rather simple issues about reporting, e.g., how something is typically presented or formulated. Furthermore, there are many different ways of carrying out a project and writing reports; being able to see how others solve similar problems can be inspiring and eye-opening and spur ideas.

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Plan supervision collaboratively and schedule it in relation to course activities

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The Educational Problem

Taking part in a course such as a degree course, requires project planning, e.g. having a schedule for when different activities need to be carried out.

The view of collaboration and supervision can be very different among people.

Supervisors are not always fully prepared for or have experiences of the supervisor task. Moreover, supervisors are not always aware of all course activities which will to a high degree affect the work of course participants. Especially supervisors who are not teachers of a course and recruited from other contexts may not be as engaged and well-informed about the different modules and activities of a course. Not adapting supervision to course activities including the timing of feedback may disturb and delay the students’ work. For instance, receiving feedback too late or even after required submission dates will not be helpful for course participants.

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Give recommendations about how to form groups

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The Educational Problem

Course participants may feel that it is challenging to change the composition of the groups that they have become used to working in. Teachers, on the other hand, may not be aware of how groups have been composed in earlier courses or modules and also intentionally encourage course participants to getting used to forming and establishing work practices in new groups. And in general, the view of collaboration and group work can be very different among people.

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Ach so! Video capturing and annotation tool

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The Educational Problem

This might be more of a method or technique problem than educational. The challenge we have had in the phase of conceptualizing or testing designed applications is how to easily shoot videos and directly mark the good and problematic issues presented in them.

Originally, the video capturing and annotation tool was designed for learning while working. The first target users were construction workers and nurses (health care personnel) (Bauters et al., 2014, Virnes et al., 2015). The learning idea is based on reflection at work (Bauters et al., 2014). For example, in case of a problem, the user can take a video of the problem and its context, then she or he annotates the video. Namely, points the problem in the video and describes the potential solutions to it.

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External experts in schools

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The Educational Problem

For understanding the phenomena of various subjects more in depth and from several points of view, it would often be useful to invite external experts in schools or organize external visits outside of school for students. There are, however, several problems at school level in using external expertise. Problems are, e.g., how to get in touch with external experts, how to fit visits with the tight time schedule in schools, and how to link the visits meaningfully into the pedagogical curriculum so that the visits are useful, not only an additional or external activity.

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Open edX – open source learning platform

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The Educational Problem

In university courses where collaborative knowledge creation practices are the the main pedagogical approach, the flipped classroom approach can be a good strategy for delivering the foundational instructional content. Combining these two approaches poses wide range of requirements for the digital learning environment and typically there is no single learning management system that can fulfill all of them. A hub with repository for learning resources and for connecting the various tools is, however, always needed. When a Learning Management System (LMS) is used as such a hub, the following requirements should be considered: support for various types of learning resources; simple, clear and consistent user interface; configurable set of internal tools and features for a particular course; easily extendable use of external tools, and good scalability in terms of the number of concurrent users.

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Promoting Collaboration Skills through Challenging Group Tasks

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The Educational Problem

Teacher exchange in engineering education is typically conducted in one week long intensive courses. While engineering is transferring more and more to pair-work or small group work, it is a real challenge to simulate this environment in short term intensive courses. However, it is worth of doing, since the tasks and projects are getting more intense also in the industry. Students need to learn collaboration skills and learning critical thinking in their professional engineering context.

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Introduction to research methods (Social Sciences, University)

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The Educational Problem

The described course was an introduction to research methods intended for international students at the beginning of their master’s degree studies. The course was earlier based on individual tasks and short-term group tasks (e.g. group discussions) in contact meetings. Separate small tasks are perhaps not best in supporting the comprehension of research planning as a larger entity. More challenging and concrete co-creational task might also motivate students to engage better in completing the tasks.

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Video lecture about the Trialogical Design Principles

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Description of the resource

The resource is a video lecture about the Trialogical Design Principles related to the Trialogical Learning Approach. It is the second part of a lecture titled “Background and characteristics of the trialogical approach to learning” given by Dr. Sami Paavola from the University of Helsinki. The material is a recorded using Adobe Connect Pro software and distributed through YouTube. The duration of the lecture is 25 minutes.

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Video lecture about the three metaphors of learning and the Trialogical Learning Approach

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Description of the resource

The resource is a video lecture about the three metaphors of learning and the trialogical design principles. It is the first part of a lecture titled “Background and characteristics of the trialogical approach to learning” given by Dr. Sami Paavola from the University of Helsinki. The material is a recorded using Adobe Connect Pro software and distributed through YouTube. The duration of the lecture is 20 minutes.

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Draw.io – from low- to high-fidelity mock-ups

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The Educational Problem

When having design-oriented courses, it is a challenge to have a tool that allows joint working, sharing and embedding for creating mock-ups, and which is free, easy to use and available to most. In most cases, the provided tools are owned by big companies, which creates obstacles with the licenses – not all can afford them. Or the web tools for mock-ups and wireframe creation are free but available for particular amount of time and do not offer collaboration possibilities. All of the mentioned shortages hinder the process of drafting, designing and testing the design ideas, which should be developed iteratively and jointly to allow the growth of the mock-up from low-fidelity to high-fidelity.

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Facebook – course, group and team space for collaboration

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The Educational Problem

In some cases, a course, group or team needs to have a space that is not institution based. To find a platform that allows creating a space for people, share documents, have a video-call possibility and chat messaging as well as possibility to create events is a challenge. Especially since everything should be easy to create and use. There exist many educational platforms that also have all the mentioned features, such Moodle, wikis, intranet solutions of the institute and so on. The problem with these existing educational platforms is that they have too many features and functions, they often strongly separate the teacher and the students, the platforms have integrated evaluation patterns, and mostly they are annoying to use and do not support flexible cooperation and collaboration aims.

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Diigo – sharing and organizing links, underlining and commenting pages

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The Educational Problem

Often it is hard to share all online materials (articles, sites, videos and blogs), which are distributed all over the net. It is hard to mark important issues in these materials or comment on and highlighting them so that students can be guided to think which information is shallow or even misleading and where the information is relevant and well-reasoned. It is also problematic to share good blogs, graphics and videos that are not directly related to teaching, but still might interest some students, since these kind of selections usually are gathered through a sustained period of time. Another problem that is persistent is thesis guidance. It would make sense to share same sources to a broader group of thesis writers.

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A protocol to assess individual and group activity

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Description of the resource

Socio-constructivist models imply a complex orchestration of both individual and group activity, which supports students in the construction of many types of artifacts. This complexity calls for the overcome of traditional assessment. Assessment, in fact, should take into account the overall activities, interactions, products and processes of these kind of courses. Moreover, it should sustain students’ responsibility and active role, by becoming an integral part of the learning process, shifting from an assessment of learning to an assessment for learning. That’s why we developed a protocol for a multi-dimensional assessment of e-learning courses based on socio-constructivist principles. The protocol is the result of over ten years of testing. At the conclusion of each course, feedbacks from students, teachers and tutors have been gathered and used to improve the protocol for the subsequent year. This protocol in meant to reflect its complexity and, at the same time, to promote students’ assumption of responsibility and active role, according to socio-constructivist principles.

The protocol consists of a grid for reporting: group and module identification, individual and collaborative artifacts/processes to be assessed, the owner of the assessment.

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Presentation of the Design Principles for Trialogical Learning

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Description of the resource

The resource includes presentation material (in pdf format) of the six Trialogical Design Principles that educators can apply in designing teaching based on the Trialogical Learning Approach (TLA). The presentation is prepared by researchers Hanni Muukkonen, Minna Lakkala, Liisa Ilomäki, Sami Paavola from the University of Helsinki. The material includes references to publications that include more information of the theoretical background of TLA and its design principles as well as their application in educational practices. The material is produced for the Online Teacher Training Package for the Trialogical Learning Approach developed in the KNORK project.

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Presentation of the Trialogical Learning Approach

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Description of the resource

The resource includes presentation material (in pdf format) of the three Metaphors of Learning and the Trialogical Learning Approach (TLA). It is prepared by Dr. Sami Paavola from the University of Helsinki. The presentation includes references to publications that include more information of the theoretical background of TLA. The presentation is produced for the Online Teacher Training Package for the Trialogical Learning Approach developed in the KNORK project.

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Template for planning teaching based on Trialogical learning

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Description of the resource

It is always useful for a teacher to make a written plan for own teaching, but especially beneficial it is when trying some new pedagogical approach. In addition, written plans can be shared with other educators and developed further with colleagues. The attached resource is a template for planning courses or study units that are based on the trialogical approach on learning, which emphasises collaborative knowledge creation practices. The template also includes a table for defining how the design principles of the trialogical approach are applied in the pedagogical case.

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Guide for Combi Oven-Convention Steamer (Physics and Italian, Vocational School)

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The Educational Problem

The experiment was done in physics and Italian language disciplines in a first class of Vocational Education and Training for Cooks and Hotel Managers consisting of 16 students of 14-15 years of age.

Reasons that pushed to start the experimentation:

  1. Difficulties in teaching Physics, because is a new discipline for this kind of institute and with a numbers of hours per week very low (only two). For this reason teacher of Physics involved the teacher of Italian in the experimentation.
  2. The physics teacher was in his second year of teaching; previously he carried out, for about 20 years, design activities for electrical, instrumentation and automation systems, and activities of project management for the planning and construction of plants in the petrochemical industry. The change between the previous job and the school was radical; the teacher noted the "distance" between the education of school and the workplace who knew. For this reason teacher felt the need to identify appropriate tools for teaching in order to bring together these two worlds inexplicably so far.

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LinkedIn – a web-service for networking and cross-fertilization

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The Educational Problem

To improve trialogical learning it isimportant to:

  • support integration of personal and collective agency through developing shared objects. We need spaces in which students could reflect on their professional skills, discuss and create new knowledge;
  • promote cross-fertilization of various knowledge practices and artefacts across academic and professional communities. We need social spaces in which students and real customers communicate and discuss about trialogical objects.

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Global Networks (Global Networks, Upper Secondary Level Technology School)

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The Educational Problem

The educational problems were:

1. To gain the contribution and motivation of students;

2. To meet the demands of contemporary professional education for:

  • betterment of students’ practical abilities;
  • team work on common assignments;
  • liabilities allocation for the fulfillment of the common tasks;
  • form skills, in students, to assign their own timetable in order to handle specified deadline.

The problem was how to rearrange the Global Networks course in order to:

  • reach practice oriented training during the two school terms,
  • to acquire knowledge in the domain of global networks, networking protocols and technologies,
  • gain better students’ learning achievements.

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Practices for cross fertilization during the practical training in workplaces

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The Educational Problem

Work-based learning is an important part of any vocational training. Realization requires commitment and resources from the employer, the organizer of education as well as from the  student. On-the-job-learning period ensures that students' skills meet the requirements of the labor market. Practical work encourages students to learn and carry out studies till the end. During the-job-learning period student can make not only professional studies, but also general studies such as chemistry and mathematics.

There are a few problems related to the training period:

  • In vocational education, it is difficult to keep a contact with students while they are practicing. For students, practicing period is a good possibility to apply what they have learnt in school, but it easily remains somewhat separated from the school learning.
  • Because students work in different places, they cannot share their experiences and learn from each other. Students usually keep various types of diaries during their practicing period, but these are mainly shared afterwards, often only to the teacher, and the issues and ideas during the practicing period have already become outdated.
  • Many workplaces do not give permission to use mobile phones or tablets at the workplace, and this creates problems in keeping contact with the students or to ask students to report their learning experiences. A good example is that college students work in customer service or as practical nurses, and mobiles are not allowed in restaurants or hospitals. In some workplaces, it is possible to write about your job during the day but even then, pictures and videos might not be allowed. In addition, all students do not want to write in public, or the workplaces do not want that students publish their daily routines in the Internet. It is a problem if students cannot share what they have learnt while on the-job-learning period.
  • One more problem is how students can/will do collaborative work if they do not know each other well. They have to have something in common before the collaboration period.

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ASIC Design (Electronics, Technical University)

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The Educational Problem

The educational challenge was to increase motivation of students to learn, to enhance their professional and digital competences and to meet the requirements of business to future employees for:

  • Abilities to resolve complex problems;
  • Better practical training (experience in using professional software and CAD tools);
  • Working on multidisciplinary tasks, utilizing multiple knowledge sources;
  • Abilities to work in group;
  • Abilities to use rich computer technologies and environments.
  • Networking;

The problem was how to restructure the ASIC Design course in order to:

  • Increase students motivation providing them with practically oriented projects;
  • Increase students’ knowledge and competencies,
  • Increase students’ abilities to work collaboratively with individual responsibility to the quality of common product.

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Blogger – a blog application for collaborative sharing

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The Educational Problem

In collaborative learning projects, especially in integrated projects with multiple subjects and study groups, there is a need to find a collaborative virtual forum for presenting outcomes of the projects and for sharing materials and links between all students and teachers. The forum should be easy to use both for teachers and students. In addition, students and teachers of other classes and courses should be able to use it, and it should be open also for external stakeholders. Moreover, it should be free of charge.

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Transmedia: gamebooks (Italian, Computer Science, History and Law, Vocational School)

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The Educational Problem

According to the Board of Education guidelines regarding the new reorganization of schools, whoever achieves a specialized diploma in Graphic Design and Communication must be competent in interpersonal and mass communication and have know-how as regards technology. Such competences are supported by a common cultural area which offers further insight on the complexity of society, implementing  technical and critical knowledge as well as a willingness towards change, indispensable for our present times.

The class which is taking part in this project is a second-year one, made up of 27 students of the Technical and Technological Institute for Graphic Design and Communication. Their starting levels are diverse and some students also have complicated personal backgrounds which all too often disturb the learning process.

The following situations, supported by documentation, can be highlighted:

  • 1 student with diverse abilities who follows a differentiated school programme
  • 2 students who attended a different school  the previous year
  • 1 student who is in a correctional penitentiary
  • 1 student with specific learning disabilities (dyscalculia)
  • 1 student with severe reduced mobility difficulties which complicate the socialization process

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Electronics for aviation engineering (Electronics, Technical University)

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The Educational Problem

The educational challenge was:

1. To increase engagement and motivation of students
2. To ensure the quality of learning across subject boundaries
3. To develop skills required by employers:

  • Critical thinking, problem solving, data interpretation and analysis, synthesizing information
  • Self-direction, planning, self-discipline, adaptability, initiative
  • Teamwork, collaboration, cooperation
  • Information and communication technology (ITC) literacy
  • Collaboration across Networks

The problem was how to restructure the broad course of Electronics delivered to future aviation engineers in order to:

  • To ensure better knowledge and competencies of the students
  • Take advantage of tech tools to facilitate learning
  • Use cloud services to create a self-paced, learner-centered classroom
  • Organize activities to ensure an enjoyable implementation experience

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Learning Swedish language by collaborative studies (Swedish, Upper secondary school)

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The Educational Problem

There were three education problems to be solved:

  1. For upper secondary students, the content (the vocabulary of environmental issues in Swedish language) is difficult to learn.
  2. Integration of disciplines is strongly needed and encouraged
  3. It is necessary to teach work life competencies, such as collaborative learning and information processing.

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VLSI Design (Electronics, Technical University)

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The Educational Problem

In traditional educational process with face to face teaching, individual student’s tasks and teacher’s guidance for individual students when needed, student cannot obtain necessary competencies. The educational challenge was to meet the requirements of business to future employees for:

  • Abilities to work in group;
  • Networking;
  • Working on multidisciplinary tasks, utilizing multiple knowledge sources;
  • Better practical training (experience in using software and CAD tools);
  • Abilities to resolve complex problems;
  • Abilities to use rich computer technologies and environments.

The problem was how to restructure the VLSI Design course in order to:

  • Increase students motivation providing them with practically oriented projects;
  • Increase students’ knowledge and competencies,
  • Increase students’ abilities to work collaboratively with individual responsibility to quality of common product.

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Repeated practice of critical skills for collaborative knowledge creation

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The Educational Problem

The reason for implementing group work, project work and collaborative writing task in educational settings are twofold. First, such ways of working are proven to be more effective for learning the content under study than students’ passive knowledge acquisition from books or lectures. Second, through participating in such practices, students are expected to learn skills and competencies required in these ways of working, such as social and collaboration skills, critical thinking, knowledge management and production skills. However, many students do not succeed very well in group work or progress expectedly in finalizing their products, and teachers lose their faith in the power and benefits of these working methods. The reason usually is that students are left too much alone in managing the new ways of working; they have to learn the critical skills spontaneously or through trial and error.

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Support for teacher collaboration

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The Educational Problem

Many teachers are not familiar with collaborative planning and managing an integrated large course. For this reason, planning and managing a new innovative course is often conducted only partially, the course activities remain less integrated and students’ learning activities do not succeed as well as they could.

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Teach concrete collaboration skills

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The Educational Problem

Because students are not used to collaboration for creating something new in longitudinal processes they lack concrete skills for such collaboration. School group work assignments are typically (often) voluntary, students’ assignments do not require several versions and iterations and they do not require students’ knowledge creation. As a consequence, students do not know how to engage in more demanding collaborative activities, such as inquiry or knowledge creation. Students have difficulties in making plans about how to work collaboratively, reflect on their process and outcomes, improve versions, and give feedback and utilise it. In addition, they are not used to collaborating with all students and some students prefer working alone.

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Justify course assignments to students as practice for work-related competences

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The Educational Problem

Students do not necessarily understand the reason for the working methods in a course, e.g. why they have to work in groups or collaborate with each other even if they would prefer studying alone, or why they have to seek for information and produce reports themselves, when the teacher could give expert lectures for them about the same issues

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Semiconductor Devices (Electronics, Technical University)

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The Educational Problem

The educational challenge was

  1. To increase the commitment and motivation of students
  2. To meet the requirements of business for:
    • Better practical training;
    • Team work on common task;
    • Shared responsibility for the quality of the overall product;
    • Distribution of tasks in line with the specified deadline.

The problem was how to restructure the Semiconductor Devices course in order to:

  • Obtain better students’ knowledge and competencies,
  • Obtain better systematic training during the semester,
  • Stimulate circuit design and simulation for project verification,
  • Transfer the initiative towards student-teacher direction.

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Teach how to make concise but informative presentations

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The Educational Problem

In addition to writing long essays or reports, students need to learn to present knowledge and get their message through in a concise but informative way. Students need models and examples about how to make good presentation, and they need opportunities to practice such skills. Making typical slide presentations (e.g. multiple PowerPoint slides with bullet points) is a convention that is not always the most useful.

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Health care organisation and management (Health Informatics / Medical University)

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The Educational Problem

In higher education students are frequently faced with challenges such as how to work effectively in groups, how to produce high quality material when submitting a group assignment and how to deal successfully with deadlines. This need is even higher for students who are in the first year of their studies and who have not worked like this before.

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Learning the tools

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The Educational Problem

Students have different experiences of and skills in using specific tools. When introducing new tools to a course some students may already be skilled in using the tools while other students may be unfamiliar with the tools. There is a risk that tools which are suddenly introduced disrupt more than they support individual learning and collaboration among students.

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Tools for student collaboration

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The Educational Problem

In some university courses, students may have many deadlines throughout the course and time and group management among the students may be crucial for passing the courses.

Students may need help in coping with the group work, the submission of assignments, and, with the workload in general both on an individual level as well as in the teams that they are engaged in.

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Computer Aided Design in Electronics (Analog and Digital Circuits Design, Upper Secondary Level Technical School)

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The Educational Problem

The educational problems were:

  1. To increase the interest and motivation of students:
  2. To meet the requirements of modern professional education for:
  • Improvement of students’ practical skills;
  • Group work on common projects;
  • Responsibilities allocation for the execution of the common tasks;
  • Creating skills in students to define their own timetable in order to meet specified deadline.

The problem was how to reorganize the Computer Aided Design course in order to:

  • achieve practice oriented education during the school year,
  • to obtain knowledge in  the fields of schematics and printed circuit design, analog and digital circuit simulation,
  • obtain better students’ learning outcomes

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Establish rules for student collaboration 1

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The Educational Problem

Not all students are equally active in student groups which may cause friction and conflict. Some students may be more inclined to or used to engaging in collaborative work. Tight schedules and absences may add to friction and meeting virtually may make it more difficult than when meeting face to face to handle issues about when collaboration is not satisfactory.

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“Pedagogical scenarios for school and universities” course (Pedagogy, University)

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The Educational Problem

Sapienza Psychology Students always complain about the total lack of concreteness in their course of study, based essentially on professorial lecture and individual study of theories, without any possibility of implementing them, all at the expense of students’ motivation to participate actively in their own learning process. In my course, I tried to overcome this issue and offer a practice way, as well as collaborative, of learning and applying what students have learned.

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