An Unique Collaboration between Finland and China - a Double Degree in Software Engineering
After a successful kick-off in the fall of 2018, and over the course of four years, some 400 students will take part in a joint B.Sc. degree programme that is designed to result in a double degree in software engineering–one Finnish, one Chinese.
The collaborative software engineering B.Sc. programme is a joint venture between the University of Oulu and the Nanjing Institute of Technology (NJIT). According to Professor of Software Engineering Markku Oivo, the institutions began negotiations for the cooperation in 2016.
“So far, we have enlisted 92 students for the first academic year and we plan to have 100 students enter the programme each year, bringing the total to 400 students”, Oivo explains.
The teaching responsibility is split roughly 50-50 between the two institutions. In addition to the B.Sc. programme, the universities are looking to deepen their collaboration and expanding it to student exchange, exchange of personnel, research collaboration and other ventures that will create new opportunities to students and staff. The endeavor is off to a very smooth start, says Oivo.
“Our cooperation has begun very well. Everyone involved is very enthusiastic about the prospects of this project as well as highly motivated”, Oivo says.
Motivation is a major factor in a successful pairing of two different cultures of teaching and learning.
Running the collaborative degree programme is a learning experience for all of those involved, and one that will give everyone a new perspective. The Chinese students have adapted well to the Finnish system, Oivo says.
“They are very diligent students and they work very hard. I think the sharing of responsibility between teachers and students is something they have embraced, and the positive feedback our teachers have received shows that they have been satisfied in the programme”.
As far as education export projects go, Oivo says that the contract between the University of Oulu and NJIT has broken new ground.
“This is a whole new opening and it has required a lot of effort from both sides.
The pilot phase is over and the results are very encouraging.
The door is now open for further collaboration, so to speak”, Oivo says.
When asked what makes the University of Oulu such a desirable partner to international education centers, Oivo points to the high degree of expertise in information technology and software engineering in Finland, and specifically in Oulu.
“We have a reputation of being a high-tech country of the first order, both in terms of education and in terms of business. Our Software Engineering unit, M3S, also boasts a very international roster, as nearly half of our people come from outside of Finland. International collaboration is second nature to our unit”, Oivo says.
One can only expect the collaboration between the University of Oulu and NJIT to strengthen and open up new paths for other joint ventures between the Finnish and the Chinese in information technology. According to Markku Oivo, China is steeped in research and is making progress in strides.
“China is really developing its research at a very fast pace. They are an exciting and inspiring partner, and really committed to advancing technology, both in academia and in business. Looking further, we are aiming to collaborate with businesses and innovators also outside of the education system”, Oivo says.
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