Results of Self-Evaluation of Curricula 2024: Curricula at a Good Level

According to the results of the self-evaluation, students and teachers are actively involved in the development of curricula. Most of the programmes have clear processes for processing and utilizing student feedback and monitoring agreed development measures.

There is room for improvement in involving representatives of working life in curriculum work. The provision of cross-institutional studies to other higher education institutions is also still limited or non-existent. Based on the results of the self-evaluation, most programmes do not have a mobility window in the structure of the curriculum, but the student must plan the timing of the exchange in their PSP.

Answering the self-evaluation questionnaire together has sparked fruitful discussion in the programmes, increased the sense of community and created a shared view of curriculum development needs.

Implementation of self-evaluation

In March-April 2024, the University of Oulu carried out a self-evaluation of the curricula for the academic year 2024–2025. The self-evaluation examined the achievement of the objectives set for the curricula in the curricula for the upcoming academic year 2024–2025. The aim of self-evaluation is to help degree programmes develop curricula. The self-evaluation questionnaire consisted of 26 statements or questions that the programmes evaluated on a scale of "Missing or not relevant", "Starting", "Developing" and "Advanced".

The survey was completed under the leadership of programme directors by involving the members of the degree programme committee and, where possible, students and teachers. The programmes responded to the questionnaire in Webropol in accordance with the instructions of the Dean of Education either from the bachelor's and master's (3+2) stages as one entity or separately from both. One jointly prepared response was produced for each programme. A total of 62 programmes or other education producer units responded to the self-evaluation. The self-evaluation did not apply to doctoral degree programmes.

The following is a brief university-level summary of the results of the self-evaluation. More detailed faculty-specific results have been submitted to the deans of education of each faculty for consideration in the faculty's decision-making bodies.

Results of the self-evaluation

Theme 1: Programme profile and learning outcomes

The majority of programmes, i.e. 85.5%, are at an advanced or advanced level in defining a clear profile. Most programmes have a clear profile that stands out both nationally and internationally from other programmes. However, sharpening profiles in applicant marketing has been identified as an area for development. The programmes recognize the need for continuous updating of content.

The programmes have also been successful in integrating generic skills into the learning outcomes, with 79% of programmes at an advanced or advanced level. This shows that the studies also prepare you well for the demands of future working life. The aim of the programmes is to continuously develop the consideration of generic skills in learning outcomes. Several programmes mentioned that accreditations and curriculum mapping have helped integrate generic skills into the programme. In some programmes, generic skills are well integrated into teaching, but they are not necessarily reflected in the learning outcomes.

As many as 90% of the programmes report using a wide range of teaching and assessment methods, but ensuring that they are used is not always coordinated. The versatility of teaching and assessment methods supports students' different study methods, brings variety to studies, produces diverse competence and improves learning outcomes.

Based on the results, 93.4% of the programmes provide skills for working in multidisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams. However, some of the responses emphasised the student's choice of minor subjects and elective studies, as well as the importance of practical training in strengthening multiprofessionalism, which means that multidisciplinarity or multiprofessionalism may not be realised for every student.

The learning outcomes, instructions and assessment criteria of theses are at an advanced or developing level in 93.6% of the programmes. Some shortcomings were also mentioned, for example, instructions may only be available in Finnish, students may not always be aware of the existence of instructions and assessment criteria, or programmes may lack a common bachelor's thesis assessment matrix.

90% of the programmes recognise skills acquired in working life, which supports students' working life skills and enables more flexible study paths. However, the recognition of learning is often limited to the recognition of traineeship and project studies. Only three responses stated that competence acquired in working life is not at all recognised in the qualification.

Theme 2: Structure of the degree

70.9% of the programmes replied that they were at an advanced or advanced level in the statement "The degree includes content on sustainability and responsibility themes". In some programmes, these themes are only dealt with in elective courses, in which case they are dependent on the student's choices. A few programs have not yet included themes in the degree, but are waiting for instructions on the extent to which themes should be included.

Of the programmes, 61.3% responded either developing or advanced to the statement "The degree structure incorporates a 'mobility window', from which the student can see in which term or period it is possible to go study abroad as exchange students or pursue internships without extending their graduation timeline and this information is easy for students to find". However, based on the open answers, most programmes do not have a mobility window in the structure of the curriculum, but the student must plan the timing of the exchange in their PSP themselves. In only seven programs, the mobility window is designed for the structure of the curriculum. There is a desire to invest more in communicating about the exchange in the future. Exchange studies have been seen as a challenge in many programmes because it delays graduation or the studies completed during the exchange do not fit into the degree. Some programmes replied that exchange could only take place during holidays or gap years.

In almost all programmes, the structure of the curriculum includes courses in which cooperation is carried out with companies or other stakeholders outside the university. 88.7% of the programmes report that this is at an advanced or evolving level. In the open answers, student projects, company visits and internships are mentioned as examples of working life cooperation. Many courses are attended by visitors from companies or other organisations. Theses are often written in cooperation with external stakeholders. In some programmes, cooperation with working life is limited to an internship course, which may be optional.

All programmes offer the opportunity to complete studies also during the summer, which offers students a flexible way to progress in their studies. Typically, you can complete an internship or do a thesis during the summer. Summer exams and independently completed online courses are also available. There is hardly any teaching in the summer because teacher resources are limited.

According to the responses to the self-evaluation, 59.7% of the programmes offer cross-institutional studies to other higher education institutions at an advanced or developing level. Based on the open answers, cross-institutional studies are available in the programmes, but the selection is often limited. A few programmes mentioned that the challenge is the rigidity of bureaucracy and the lack of common learning platforms. 13 of the programmes mentioned that cross-institutional studies are not yet available to other higher education institutions. However, cooperation has been stimulated in these areas as well, and the programme is about to start cross-institutional cooperation with an open mind.

In almost all English-language programmes, it is possible to include Finnish language studies in the PSP, at least as optional studies. Eight programmes mentioned that the programme includes compulsory Finnish language studies, and one programme will include compulsory studies in the programme for the academic year 2025–2026. There are currently no compulsory Finnish language studies in seven international programmes.

Of the Finnish-language programmes, 72.9% responded either developing or advanced to the statement "More than half of the degree courses are taught in Finnish". In bachelor's degrees, teaching is mainly in Finnish. The language of instruction in most master's degrees is also Finnish. Four of the master's programmes mentioned that teaching is mainly in English. It is unclear to the programmes how much instruction there should be in Finnish. The open-ended responses believed that artificial intelligence would bring solutions to the translation of teaching.

Theme 3: Curriculum development

91.8% of the programmes responded either developing or advanced to the statement "Students have participated in curriculum development, e.g. by organising feedback days and inviting students to participate in curriculum development workshops". Of the programmes, 32 mentioned that they organise feedback days or curriculum development events annually, some even after each teaching period. Several programmes considered the low participation of students in feedback days to be a challenge. However, the programmes are activating students to participate in curriculum development in many ways.

Teacher participation in curriculum development at an advanced or developing level accounts for 98.4% of programmes. In most programmes, curriculum work is systematic and continuous. Some of the programmes use the curriculum mapping method to engage teachers. Some programmes organise curriculum development days in which all teachers participate.

Of the programmes, 59.7% responded either developing or advanced to the statement "Representatives of working life have participated in curriculum work and their views have been utilised, for example, in the preparation of learning outcomes". Some of the programmes take into account the views of representatives of working life, but they have not actually participated in the curriculum work. At the beginning or missing level, the involvement of representatives of working life accounts for 40.3% of the programmes. Several programmes are planning to launch curriculum cooperation with representatives of working life.

91.9% of the programmes responded either evolving or advanced to the statement "The programme has clear processes for processing student feedback, utilizing it and monitoring agreed development measures". However, in the open responses, 21 programmes have replied that there is still room for improvement in the feedback processes. Based on the responses, there is room for improvement, especially in the feedback processing process and in activating students to give feedback. It is also hoped that improvements will be made to the university's course feedback system.

There is still room for improvement in the utilisation of reporting data and foresight data. 62.9% of the programmes are at this advanced or advanced level. Currently, practices vary greatly between programmes. Several programmes mentioned that the university's reporting tools do not meet their needs. There is also some uncertainty as to where reporting data can be found. However, the programmes have a strong will to develop in the utilisation of reporting data.

Open issues related to the development of education

The self-evaluation survey included three open-ended questions related to the development of education. The following are brief summaries of the response to the programmes and the development measures they present.

1. What kind of measures does your programme use to ensure an excellent student experience for first-year students? How do you ensure that students form groups and become attached to the university community? How are new students considered in the courses of the first year? How are students supported in planning their studies and in practical questions related to their studies?

Based on the open answers, the programs are committed to ensuring an excellent student experience, especially for first-year students, supporting well-being, and continuously developing curricula. Excellent study experience during the first year of studies is ensured by the following means or measures, among others:

  • Each new student is assigned a student tutor and tutor teacher who help with the planning of studies and support group building
  • Teachers' commitment to guidance and quick response to student questions
  • Freshman survey to map new students' experiences
  • Orientation course and introductory events
  • Group and pair work in teaching
  • Development of the curriculum and courses based on course feedback
  • Load monitoring
  • Taking different learners into account, e.g. providing distance and contact teaching
  • Student participation in development working groups
  • Close contact with the subject association and taking into account the feedback from the subject association.
  • Students are encouraged to contact teachers with a low threshold.

2. How does your programme respond to the challenge of student well-being and offer support to those who need it?

The programs respond to the challenge of student well-being in many different ways. The open answers mentioned, for example, the following means or measures to support students' wellbeing:

  • Tutor teacher activities and super tutor teachers
  • Study counselling for education planners and guidance for study psychologists
  • Flexible performance options and, if necessary, individual teaching arrangements
  • Orientation studies and information about support services
  • Lectures related to well-being
  • Taking student feedback into account
  • Dimensioning the workload of courses to correspond to the credits obtained from completion
  • Prevention and prevention of bullying
  • The student association's well-being survey.

3. What development plans related to the curriculum work process, content or structure does the programme have for the development of the curriculum for the academic year 2025–2026 or in the longer term?

In the open responses, the programmes highlighted the following development plans related to the curriculum process, content and structure for the academic year 2025–2026 or longer term, aimed at improving the quality of the curriculum and better responding to student needs and the demands of working life:

  • Working life perspective and involvement of working life representatives in curriculum work
  • Involving students in curriculum work
  • Clarifying feedback cycles
  • Improving the attractiveness of the Master's degree programme
  • Structural development of thesis processes
  • Development of course contents and teaching and assessment methods
  • Measures in support of transnational mobility
  • Increasing traction and grip force
  • Determining the workload of the degree and courses.

Processing of self-evaluation results

The results of the self-evaluation of the curricula were discussed at a seminar of the Education Management Group on 10.-11.6.2024. Faculty-specific results have been submitted to the Deans of Education on 22.5.2024 for processing in the Education Committees and Degree Programme Committees.

All in all, the self-evaluation of the curricula of the University of Oulu shows that the programmes have a strong commitment to developing curricula and improving the quality of teaching and student experience. Responding to the self-evaluation survey in a communal manner has also increased the sense of community and built a shared view of curriculum development needs.

One degree programme summed this up as follows:

"Completing this questionnaire together created an incredible discussion in our team and created many issues and perspectives that we will continue to ponder together!"

Last updated: 19.6.2024