6 Nov 2011

Creating learning experiences

Before summer the curriculum evaluations had showed that most students were pleased with our classes being more directly related to learning outcomes, which were also linked to the professional profile of our studies written by me. But some had also expressed that they would like to be more actively triggered and involved in our classes.

With the latter in mind I made an addition to the bachelor course on Reputation (Maine). Next to the group assignment some individual contributions were arranged to be shown more clearly. As always students can get more out of class meetings by their own initiative. But now we added a videotaped individual statement at the end of the course. The group work consisted of a research report investigating the reputation of the organization with a group presentation, while the individual statement was a consultancy statement in which the student would present his/her main point of advice.
This ment that students were triggered to form their own opinion based on the research material and think how they would personally as a communication expert voice their main point of advice. As the focal organization this year was the EU, this was not an easy matter. Luckily a doctoral student (staff member) was involved who had in the previous period worked for the European Parliament Information Office in Helsinki.

Throughout the course the participants indeed seemed more personally involved. The fact that one long extra day was invested by 3 members of staff (two doctoral students and me) to tape the statements and for each of the 30 students individually role the tape to give feedback, also signalled the importance of their presentations. For the students, to address the name of this blog, it caused some commotion. But it made the course more intensive and possibly also affected the good level of the group assignments.

Normally I leave the forming of the groups to the students, but this time there were even more exchange students than Finnish students and most didn’t know each other, so I arranged mixed groups during the first class. This seemed appropriate for the topic EU, and it also matched our team’s as well as the student association Imago’s aim, to include all and support interaction of exchange students with our Finnish students. At first the students needed some more time to get acquainted and get the group work going, but they said that at the later stages of the work it was beneficial to exchange views.

So in this way, we will continue to evaluate our courses and experiment with ways to intensify the learning experience of the students, creating some commotion...