The University of Oulu organises approximately half of the courses included in the software production curriculum. There are already a couple hundred students. The studies meet the requirements of both universities. The courses are organised so that teachers from Oulu have contact teaching periods in China, assisted by local teachers who take care of the exercise sessions and practical arrangements. Naturally, independent online studies and digital learning materials are also utilised. The students’ activity is similar to that in Finland: some are more active and others are shy in their use of English in lectures with lots of people, for example. The differences in language skills may slow down one’s progress but are not an obstacle to anyone’s studies.
-In exercise sessions, students venture to ask teachers more questions, especially after they have gotten to know us a little better. In my own course, many students asked good, challenging questions, and I encouraged them to do so. They did not really disagree on things, but they were able to question examples and solutions. Among those who start their studies, some have linguistic difficulties, but they have an enormous will to understand and learn, Raulamo-Jurvanen says.
From the teacher’s point of view, there are differences in the education systems and backgrounds between Finnish and Chinese students, naturally.
-The presence and interaction of the teacher and students in the lessons is an essential part of the Chinese way of teaching. The Finnish teaching system often emphasises the support of learning and understanding. Personally, I see that the tasks of the teacher include not only structuring and transmitting the material but also leading students towards individual, responsible and active learning. It is important to give Chinese students clear tasks, instructions and objectives. Chinese students are traditionally very diligent, goal-oriented and grade-oriented.
Local teachers are used in teaching to lead exercise sessions and ensure that all the technical tools work and things are understood in the lectures.
-At the beginning of my exercise sessions, a Chinese assistant gives the students brief instructions in Chinese so that everyone understands what to do. During the exercise sessions, we both help the students with their questions. Communication is carried out in English. The local assistant is responsible for the assessment of the exercises in the course. The assessment of project work and exams is performed here in Oulu.
An important idea behind education export is to offer students in Nanjing a path to continue their master’s degree studies in Oulu. They also have the opportunity to proceed to doctoral studies or seek employment in the industry. Chinese students have ambition and great dreams for the future, often involving studying or working abroad. When they have become familiar with people, working methods and, to some extent, culture through education, the students can even participate in the development of research cooperation.
-This is the biggest education export project from Finland to China at the university level. Education is becoming internationalised, and we want to raise our profile globally. China is a large market for companies. It is essential that, through this cooperation, we can get talented employees to come here and, after graduating, to work at local companies or somewhere else in Finland, Professor of Software Engineering Markku Oivo points out and refers to the acute labour shortage in the field.
-The things to be learned are naturally the most important part of a course, but the students are also very eager to discuss Finland. They asked about the climate, culture, studying and software industry in general. Many of them expressed their interest in studying abroad, preferably in Finland. Surely, my Western appearance also attracts attention. I get a lot of smiles, greetings and selfie requests when I move around the campus, says Raulamo-Jurvanen.
Education export and cooperation will definitely be continued. The University of Oulu wants to be among the pioneers in this matter. From the teacher’s point of view, things have progressed well.
-My experiences have been very positive. The students, teachers and local people have all been very friendly. The campus area in Nanjing is very beautiful. From the point of view of education export, the activity can, of course, always be further developed. At the moment, the primary development targets include the enhancement of communication, the checking of responsibility areas and the development of the content and methods of teaching, estimates Raulamo-Jurvanen.
Professor Ms. Huang Wei, Deputy Dean of School of Computer Engineering, Nanjing Institute of Technology, China together with University teacher Päivi Raulamo-Jurvanen from the University of Oulu. Finland.
Last updated: 13.12.2019