University of Oulu, 2017

High-quality education is a promise of value

The strategy morning on 27 March covered the strategic project "high-quality education in all phases of life". The event attracted a multidisciplinary group of university employees interested in education and teaching.

The strategy morning was opened by Vice Rector for Education Helka-Liisa Hentilä, who presented news about education at the University of Oulu and national perspectives on the field of education.

Changes in the field of education are being brought about by a change to the funding model, which emphasises graduating within the targeted time frame and increasing the employment of graduates. According to an amendment to the Universities Act, universities will also be tasked with offering opportunities for continuing education. This will bring to universities an increasing number of students studying for courses other than degrees. Because of the growth of the Open University and continuing education, the planning of university education must better take account of student diversity.

Education quality management will utilise the University of Oulu's new BI reporting system. The BI reporting system is meant to support operational planning and monitoring, and it is also suitable for monitoring the quality and productivity of education. During the spring, the 'tutor teacher report' meant for tutor teachers, the purpose of which is to help designated teachers in their work, will be incorporated into the system.

At university level, the strategic development of education has also been carried out by organising for staff a 5-credit  introductory course to university pedagogy. The purpose of course is to inspire teachers to develop their own teaching. It has aroused interest all around the university.

Feedback a prerequisite of high-quality education

The University of Oulu can be satisfied with the response percentage to the national bachelor feedback, as almost all bachelor graduates responded to the survey. In addition to the response percentage, student satisfaction also gives cause for pleasure. Students feel good at the University of Oulu, as the bachelor graduates gave the best evaluation to the statement "I feel comfortable at my university". A full 81.8% of respondents said that they agreed with this claim. The bachelors gave the worst evaluation to the statement "the feedback I received from the teaching staff has helped me with my studies". The evaluation from feedback received has, however, improved since last year.

At the event, Henna Määttä, Project Coordinator of the Faculty of Education, presented student-centred learning and study guidance. According to her, transparency and mutual respect between the student and teacher are fundamental to student-centred learning. Students must receive feedback about their learning, as it inspires them to learn.

Vice Rector Hentilä also urges teachers to pay more attention to feedback. In addition to bachelor feedback, course feedback is an important tool in improving the quality of education.

"Course feedback has been well-received around the university, but its degree of use varies greatly within the university. Every teacher should remind students of the importance of giving feedback," says Hentilä.

Education must be planned and implemented with quality

In the planning of education, the Business School uses feedback collected in connection with practical traineeships.

"Through feedback about traineeships, we have found out, for example, that in their traineeships students have felt their Excel skills to be somewhat inadequate. As a result of this, we added the teaching of Excel to the programme," says Professor Satu Nätti of the Business School.

The school also uses reports from the sector's professional association, Finnish Business School Graduates.

"Finnish Business School Graduates prepares reports on the working life of business school graduates from a perspective of both those graduating and those who have already been in working life for several years. From these reports, we have taken concrete ideas for the planning of our own degree programme," says Nätti.

She says that education at the Business School is being developed not only by the effect of feedback and data indicating the achievement of competence targets but also by university strategy. Tuomo Glumoff, Dean of Education at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, says that he can notice the influence of University's strategy.

"It's wonderful to see that the strategic planning of the education has borne fruit. Although the Business School degree programme studies organisations, and in the biochemistry degree programme we study the organisation of cells, many similarities can be found in the structures of our degree programmes." says Glumoff.

"It's rare to look at the structure of other programmes but now when I'm looking at the OBS degree programme, I can notice that when a degree programme is constructed, the basics are quite similar." says Glumoff.

Feedback received from the students is used to improve the education at the Faculty of Biochemistry also.  For example, language teaching has been integrated into substance teaching courses.

"Students can see language studies as being separate from other courses. When language teaching is done as part of other teaching, the students simultaneously improve their vocabulary and skills in their own field," says Glumoff. 

In the 2017-18 academic year, the students at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine gave most responses to course feedback. As a prize for the diligent use of the course feedback, the faculty received €5,000. The intention is to use the prize money, among other things, to create a student competence diploma, incorporating skills acquired during the degree rather than courses taken by the student.

In the future, the new funding model will guide universities increasingly to focus on learning and the quality of the student experience.

At the next strategy morning on 16 April, the Rector will give a summary of all strategic development plans. Follow Notio bulletins to find out about registering for the event and its more detailed content.

Last updated: 2.4.2019