Also the SCI Education Management Team has returned from summer holidays. Here is the summary for the 4th meeting that was held on the 23rd of August.
Renewal of Course Feedback Tool
A new course feedback tool will be available at MyCourses starting from the 23rd of October. For courses ending before 1 November the old Webropol based course feedback tool will be used, whereas for courses starting 23 October or later and ending 1 November or later this new course feedback tool will be utilized. The reasons for acquiring a new tool are Webropol’s lack of hoped-for features, its inflexibility and instability, as well as the amount of resources used for fixing problems with bad solutions.
In the new the course feedback tool, the following features will be the same as in the old tool:
- End-of-the-course feedback survey running automatically
- Adding questions and scheduling surveys
- No access to less than 5 responses
- Responses being confidential
- Having the list of respondents
- Survey links sent to students
In addition, there will be also some new features, such as:
- Collecting during-the-course feedback
- Adding question bank with own questions
- Survey is open for 2 weeks
- 1 notification email before a course starts
- Responding to student feedback
- Publishing multiple-choice questions summaries for students
The new course feedback tool should also give access to the old feedback once the teacher of the course changes. This has been a problem before. We also briefly discussed issues regarding the slowness of MyCourses. As an end result of that discussion it was noted that a non-user-friendly platform will most likely not motivate students to answer the course feedback. More info regarding the new courseback tool can be for example found in here: https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/course-feedback-as-part-of-mycourses-in-the-autumn-of-2023?check_logged_in=1 (requires login).
SCI Student Marketing 2023-24 Strategy
Next we considered the SCI student marketing strategy for 2023-2024. For masters, it was proposed that the emphasis would be on Life Science Technologies and Engineering Physics. However, currently the whole health tech education area is under review. For Engineering Physics, the emphasis would like to be shifted from basic research more towards different applications, careers in startups et cetera. Also for (pure) Mathematics the search engine visibility was hoped to be kept at least as it is, maybe even a bit higher. For bachelors the main emphasis is on attracting more women to Computer Science. Overall more explicit words and wording was hoped for the proposed strategy and marketing material to avoid any confusions. For example, when we say that “99 % of our graduates were employed or entrepreneurs five years after graduation (2022 Career monitoring survey)”, does it mean that they have been employed in Finland and in their own field of study?
The implementation plan for the newest language guidelines draft was presented to us in the meeting. According to the current draft, there will be 3 different kinds of programmes: one that has Finnish / Swedish as the degree language, one that has only English as the degree language, and one that has both Finnish / Swedish and English as the degree languages. For example, if the degree language is Finnish / Swedish, in practice it would mean that all mandatory basic studies and mandatory major studies are organized in Finnish and one should be able to complete these entities in Finnish. Also, academic advising is offered both in Finnish and Swedish. Theses are essentially written in Finnish or Swedish, but the student can ask for the possibility to write their thesis in English. The university offers advisory for the thesis in the language it is written. Vice versa if the degree language is English.
Currently the degree language is Finnish / Swedish for most of the programmes, even though the possibility to verify Finnish / Swedish and English as the degree language for the programmes was quickly considered in the meeting. Compared to the requirements mentioned above, this would be that only the mandatory basic studies are organized in Finnish and / or one should be able to complete these entities in Finnish. This would somewhat correspond to the current situation, but it would lose any further requirements on the language of the major studies.
There was an interesting discussion about how these requirements would change the current teaching setting. For example, it was proposed whether PowerPoint or some other technology could be utilized to translate lectures in real time, and thereby provide Finnish subtitles for the lectures otherwise given in English. Also it was considered whether there could be 2 (3) simultaneous exercise groups held in different languages. Nevertheless, the professors felt that these changes are coming rather quickly, given that the curriculum work 2024-2026 is almost on the finish line, and now some changes might be required. As a whole these proposed changes should be valid in the curriculum 2026-2028 according to the target schedule. In practice the language guidelines draft is now ready, but on the other hand, there are still 6 scheduled meetings for the task force that has been working with the draft, so maybe there are still some changes ahead.
For short items we briefly discussed the changes to the university and university of applied sciences laws proposed by the Government. Namely, the plan is to raise tuition fees for non-EU/ETA students more towards full cost coverage, and possibilities to circumvent tuition fee obligations will be reduced. It was found that this most likely encourages students to focus on their studies rather than work while studying. However, without work experience, it may become more challenging for non-EU/ETA people to find employment in Finland or in the EU after graduation. This raises the question of whether this is an intended consequence after all.
The next meeting for the SCI Education Management Team will be held on the 11st of October, so let us get back to business then!