The year of education in 2016: Good results from concrete activities
Pirjo Kuisma, Head of Education Development
The year of education at HAMK in 2016 can be described by growth: in concrete terms, the number of degrees completed broke all records, and the share of students achieving 55 credits a year continues to grow. The module model is making progress, and it has been fully introduced in all degree programmes for three intake batches. The degree programme staff have been highly successful in developing the modules into functional wholes. Feedback is being collected on the activities and evaluated, and changes are made in subsequent implementations every year.
The feedback from students indicates that we are heading in the right direction: the module model shapes the student’s every-day life, while the number of things to learn is smaller and associated with workplace phenomena addressed in the same module. Cooperation with employers has increased. The close-knit module structure also promotes student well-being, as group formation is an elemental part of the studies.
Additionally, the students are showing a growing interest in selecting studies from the modules offered by other degree programmes, and to support this trend, the scheduling and registration processes of the modules have been harmonised at the HAMK level.
Year-round studying has become more popular, and FUAS Summer Studies are an integral part of the academic year. In addition, year-round studying is promoted by joining in on the joint offer of summer studies at universities of applied sciences through the kesälukukausi.fi website.
The greatest education-related change in HAMK’s history is under way, and the possibilities of implementing it by 2020 as stated in the strategy seem realistic. The entire work community, of which the students constitute an elemental part, is working to build the renewed education in line with the goals.
At the School of Bioeconomy, the Green Year theme (Vihervuosi2016) was integrated in the work of students at Lepaa during the year through a number of events that put the spotlight on the landscape industries, the environment and environmental values. A nature park developed by the Age Institute was created in Linnanpuisto park in Hämeenlinna, a Green Flag audit was conducted on the park on Lepaa campus, the Park of Encounters designed for Hämeenlinna market place park had a key role in the Night of the Arts event, and the miniature garden of Valli was implemented with day-care centre children in the city centre. These examples involved many types of cooperation with different stakeholders.
Sustainable development launched a degree programme as an online implementation. The idea was to boldly experiment with the new operating method of providing expert education in Natural Resources that is independent of the time and place. The objective was to offer not only theoretical online studies but also practical competence through module projects. In addition to individual assignments, the implementations also include team learning and the development of discussion, team work and organisation skills. The studies draw on authentic learning environments and the students’ workplaces by observing and researching various issues and phenomena.
At the School of Wellbeing, the modular structure is going full steam ahead in degree-awarding education, and student feedback has been positive. Cooperation with the OmaHäme programme (aiming to renew the social and health care services in the Kanta-Häme regional) has been launched. “Specialisation training in wound care” (30 credits) was started as business and industrial services in cooperation with ten universities of applied sciences. A new Master’s programme in Culture, “Promoting well-being through cultural and artistic activities”, was launched. Cooperation with international strategic partners has gone ahead as planned. During the year, a 15-credit "Successful Ageing” module was produced together with Feevale University. The module will be piloted in spring 2017. A cooperation project aiming to promote mobility has been prepared with VIA University College, and a teacher exchange programme has been started.
At the School of Technology, the number of graduates reached the targets, and the accruals of credits were excellent in most programmes. In addition to practices that activated the students, the good results were promoted by the expansion of web-based studies, thesis workshops and summer studies. The latter have, over the last seven years, established their position as an essential part of the technology programmes. A new Master’s degree programme, “Future transport systems”, began in the autumn. The newly launched cooperation with both Riihimäki-Hyvinkää Chamber of Commerce and Yrityskiihdyttämö First Round Oy has opened up new and promising cooperation possibilities with companies in the region.
Students in the Degree Programme in Electrical and Automation Engineering began their studies with a technology project in which they learned about team work, projects and interaction and communication skills at the very start. All this was combined with acquiring theoretical information relevant to the vocational sector and practical work. The project was so successful that two teachers presented it to the Higher Education Forum in Soul under the title ”Change challenges the teacher. Education in Electrical and Automation Engineering develops through module implementations”. HAMK’s team teaching model attracted a lot of international interest.
At the School of Entrepreneurship and Business, a new cSchool model for learning and teaching was developed in the Business Administration programme, in which the students familiarised themselves with business world phenomena through authentic, individually supervised workplace projects. The work also included short pop up lectures and workshops where the students got together to solve challenges related to their projects under supervision. During the academic year, the cSchool completed 51 projects for over 40 customers.
In addition to cSchool projects, the school also implemented other successful workplace projects, as an example of which should be cited the third-years’ clothing range project KAJO W16, which was presented to a large audience at Merikaapelihalli in Helsinki and in which workplace representatives selected clothes and footwear to exhibit at their own stands at the Finnish Craft and Design Fair in Tampere. The exhibition pieces produced by glass and ceramics students together with Tavastia Vocational College students were granted Suomi 100 status, and they will on display in the Finnish Glass Museum in spring 2017.
At the School of Professional Teacher Education, the highlight of the year was achieving good graduate numbers in all programmes. On the national scale, the staff engaged in plenty of cooperation aiming to develop teacher education in different networks, including the Ministry of Education and Culture’s teacher education forum. Together with HAMK’s strategic partner, VIA University College, a joint unit of teacher education was implemented which, after some further development, can be utilised in a broader international context. Digitality has been promoted strongly, for example by launching study counsellor education as an online implementation.
A strategy update for the 20-year-old student union – focus on member satisfaction and continuous learning
Emma Kokkonen, Chair of the Student Union of Häme University of Applied Sciences' board 2016
The Student Union of Häme University of Applied Sciences worked closely together with HAMK in 2016. The student union was actively involved in developing the institution at large, for example by participating in HAMK’s internal working groups while continuing its regular meetings with the management. The students contributed their views to the alteration work at the University Centre, and the student union gave statements on HAMK’s guidelines and participated in the institution’s events.
The higher education institution audit was also reflected in the student union’s activities. We helped find students to be interviewed and, after the audit report was published, participated in the planning of further measures.
Updating the student union’s strategy was one of our major projects last year. Our new strategy puts greater emphasis on member satisfaction and continuous learning. Peer tutoring was also developed, and a new Tuutorointi 2.0. model was developed.
The student union used the local media to enhance its regional impact. Among other things, we expressed the student body’s views of the discontinued train departures from Hämeenlinna and Riihimäki and lobbied for more investments in cooperation between the municipalities, companies and the students. We also commented on cuts in student financial aid.
The student union reached its 20th anniversary in 2016. To mark the anniversary year, the union’s logo and visual look were modernised, while the climax of the celebrations was the annual gala held at Raatihuone in Hämeenlinna in December.