And greetings from the SCI Bachelor’s Programme Committee! The second meeting of the year for this committee was held on the 15th of May, that is, almost a month ago. Hence, without further ado, let us dive right into the topics discussed in the meeting.
- Changes to admission criteria 2024 of the Information Networks Programme: Mainly small changes that will make the criteria more aligned with the other programmes in the field of engineering. For example, from now on all applicants with an equal number of points will be accepted. This is according to the DIA selection policy. As a more major change, the threshold (i.e., “kynnysehto”) for the grade in mother tongue has been decreased from L to E.
- Adjustments from SCI to the Aalto University study selection criteria, particularly from the change of programmes (i.e., “siirtohaku”) point of view: Only the studies completed during the year when applying into another programme will be evaluated. Official transcript of records is not required, as the content can be directly observed from SISU.
- Changes to the curriculum 2022-2024:
TU-C1011 - Ryhmätoiminta ja organisointi (5 cr): Limit the number of students as the course will be moved from 2nd to 1st year in the model schedule of Information Networks. Hence the number of Information Networks students is expected to be approximately doubled. In addition, the course is mandatory in the IEM Bachelor’s Programme, and overall the course is popular in Aalto in general. Currently there is no lecture hall that would be large enough for the increasing number of students.
TU-C3040 - Sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon tuotantotalous (5 cr): 2023-2024: No teaching -> 2023-2024: The course will be lectured in period II. Also change in teacher in charge: Paul Lillrank -> Lauri Saarinen (latter ones valid for 2023-2024).
TU-C3060 - Introduction to Structured Process Development (3 cr): New course, teaching period: V - Summer (8 weeks). Target level is Bachelor’s, teachers: Jaakko Rouste, Markus Tarma.
TU-C3070 - Good Life Engine: Connecting to Self and Community (3 cr): New course, teaching period: I-II. Target level is Bachelor’s, teachers: Lidia Rauramo, Anna Dementyeva, Sonja Hilavuo.
CS-2160 - Theory of Computation: Change in teacher in charge: Pekka Orponen -> Sándor Kisfaludi-Bak.
CS-C3260 - Practical Quantum Computing (5 cr): Change in the maximum number of students: The intake is now limited to 20 students. The popularity of this course has surprised, and hence the limit in intake. A question was asked whether the course should be rescaled according to the popularity instead of just simply setting a limit for maximum number of students. The majority seemed to think that rescaling would indeed be a better option, but with the current resources it apparently is not possible.
CS-C4000 - Research Methods in Engineering Psychology (5 cr): Change in teaching period: III -> III-IV.
CS-C4020 - Cognitive Psychology (5 cr): Change in teaching period: IV -> IV-V.
CS-CV0005 - Mind & Study - toolbox for being well in studies: New course, multiple teaching periods: II, III, IV, III-IV, teacher in charge: Anni Rytkönen.
PHYS-A3122 - Thermodynamics (ENG2) (5 cr): Change in teaching period: II -> No teaching. That is, the second implementation of this course will no longer take place, while the course PHYS-A3120 Thermodynamics (ENG) remains.
A lot of changes in the model schedule of Engineering Psychology. In particular, almost all the mathematics and physics courses will be scheduled for the first year so that prerequisites would be fulfilled before proceeding to more advanced courses. To name one example, MS-A0503 - First Course in Probability and Statistics is an important course for the students of this programme to take already in the first autumn of studies.
There was particularly one aspect in the changes listed above that caused some discussion in the meeting, namely the number of wellbeing courses. From one point of view, there is an increasing number of overlapping courses within this category, and there is none to prevent students from filling their elective studies with such courses. From another point of view, the wellbeing field is extremely important for students, and hence it can be seen only beneficial to students to take such courses. Also it was pointed out that elective studies are indeed elective by their definition, and hence there should be no regulator to decide whether a student may include some particular (wellbeing) course into their elective studies, even though something towards this was proposed in the meeting. As another solution it was proposed that an Aalto level course portfolio could be formed for courses like this. This could prevent the situation where every department establishes its own nearly identical course compared to others, and on the other hand, it could also make the course choices of the students clearer. This idea was, however, left on the table this time, as after the discussion all of the changes were eventually approved as proposed.
- Status of the User-centered Product Development Project course: contents of the course were evaluated as well as its relatedness to other studies of the students. As a whole, the course was recognized to be important and meaningful, particularly in the bigger picture.
- Status update of the Biomedical Engineering, or “Teknilliset elämäntieteet”, Programme: the message was same as in the latest SCI Education Management Team meeting (SCI Education Management Team 3/23); in a nutshell, the process has been paused and a task force has been created in order to discuss the issue at Aalto level.
- SCI bachelor level study options and quotas 2024: The meeting felt no specific need to increase the quotas for 2024. It has been proposed that the quota for Engineering Physics and Mathematics will be increased from 80 to 90.
- Schedule for the 2024-2026 curriculum development: As a soft deadline, the learning outcomes of the programmes and majors should be ready before the summer holidays.
- Update to the development of the national certificate-based admission: DIA steering group comments on the newest proposed scoring model were considered. According to the proposal, the weight of STEM subjects, particularly advanced mathematics, would drop from 20% to 10% (i.e., 1,2 -> 1,1 change in the multiplier) relative to mother tongue. DIA thinks this to be too low. Also it has proposed that the thresholds for the programmes would be nationwide contrary to the current situation, in which they are specific for each university and programme. Even grade B from advanced mathematics has been proposed as such a threshold for some programmes; most likely students with decent grades would still end up in Aalto, but yet this proposal raised some concerns whether the grade B or similar is enough to succeed in the studies.
- SCI results of the AllWell questionnaire: as a remarkable observation, the risk of burnout has decreased both for bachelor as well as master students, most likely due to the end of the pandemic. Also the amount of peer support has increased, probably for the same reason. The measures of the questionnaire have to potentially be changed in the future, as the agreement with University of Helsinki ends.
For the latter bullet point, we ended up discussing what can be deduced from the questionnaire in the first place: we track the students by no means, but rather take a peek at a certain point of studies. Hence little can be said about causality, that is, how certain actions affect certain students. We also discussed briefly on the factors that make students feel exhausted about their studies; financial incentives and sizing of the contents of courses were quickly named. Professors noted that it is easier to include something extra to courses that go on for two periods compared to the courses which take place only in one period.
The next meeting for this committee takes place in the autumn, see you then!