Development of education at the Faculty of Education

Starting points

Education is developed as a continuous process in which both staff members and students take part. The aim of the development efforts is to improve the content and pedagogic quality of the education in order to attain the learning outcomes specified for it.

The development of education consists of the following elements

  • planning of instruction

  • guidance of instruction

  • student feedback system

Actors participating in the development of instruction

Many different actors within the faculty take part in the development of the instruction encompassed by the Degree Programme in Education.

  • faculty council and dean/vice-dean

  • steering group

  • teams of immediate supervisors

  • instruction development group

  • degree programme director

  • head of academic counselling

  • students and student associations

  • head of study affairs and study coordinator

The faculty council participates in the development of instruction by deciding on the faculty’s strategic policies, student admission criteria and thesis assessment criteria, and by approving the degree programmes’ curricula and teaching schedules.

The dean  manages the education as a whole in accordance with the goals set by the faculty council.

The vice-dean manages the strategic development work of the faculty’s degree education and subject teacher education. The development is conducted through collaboration between teams of immediate supervisors and various working groups.

The steering group assists the dean. Among other things, its purpose is to take part in preparing matters falling within the purview of the dean and vice-dean, and in development and quality management relating to the faculty’s operations.

The teams of immediate supervisors form the foundation for organising the faculty’s operations:

  • early education (VAKA)
  • subject teachers’ pedagogic studies and class teachers’ multidisciplinary studies (AIMO)
  • integrated areas (INTO)

The purpose of the teams is to contribute to implementing the decisions made by the university administration, faculty council, dean and vice-dean. The teams develop the operations of the faculty, implement and develop the instruction of educational sciences, and prepare and monitor the implementation and quality management of pedagogical studies for teachers.

The following lists some of the tasks of the instruction development working group:

  • preparing and coordinating the faculty’s degree programmes (including international programmes) and separate study modules in such a way that ensures a connection between research and instruction as well as the attainment of the competence requirements set by working life

  • developing and managing the quality of curricula implementation

  • providing instructions to immediate supervisor teams and fixed-term teams in the preparation of curricula, and coordinating the efforts of these teams

  • presenting proposals to the dean on fixed-term working groups intended to support curriculum design and their members; the groups must include working life representatives, in addition to instructors and students

  • developing and managing the quality of instruction and guidance

  • preparing the curricula of international degree programmes and integrating them into the degree programme in education

  • planning continuing education and integrating it into the other operations of the faculty

  • integrating the curricula and teaching schedules of international degree programmes into the degree programme in education

  • maintaining the functionality of the course feedback system

  • organising joint feedback events for students and teachers twice a year

  • monitoring and promoting the progress of studies

  • preparing proposals to develop the learning environment

Composition of the instruction development group in the 2017–2018 academic year:

Degree Programme Director Juha Merta, Chair
Vice-Dean Marita Mäkinen, Vice-Chair
Head of Study Affairs Liisa Ikkala-Toiviainen, Secretary
Associate Professor Jaakko Kauko
University Lecturer Vesa Korhonen
University Lecturer Pirjo Kulju
University Lecturer Jyri Lindén
University Lecturer Sirpa Mäkinen
University Lecturer Inkeri Rissanen
Chief of Educational Affairs Tea Seppälä
University Lecturer Tuulikki Ukkonen-Mikkola
Vice-Rector Heidi Östring
Student Riikka Anttonen (lifelong learning and education)
Student Veera Kerosuo (class teacher studies)
Student Jan Varpanen (early education studies)
Student Eemeli Lahtinen (subject teacher studies)
Study coordinators based on the meeting agendas

The degree programme director’s duty is to lead the design of the degree programme’s curriculum and teaching schedule, and to bear the responsibility for the development of the instruction in collaboration with the teaching staff. The director is responsible for the quality assurance of instruction, the collection and utilisation of student feedback, and addressing problems observed. The degree programme director serves as the chair of the instruction development group.

The head of academic counselling is to work together with other parties involved in the development of instruction to manage the pedagogical development of the degree programme, support the activities and coordination of the instructor tutors, and the guidance of students. The head of academic counselling serves as the chair of the degree programme development group.

Students and student associations are important actors in the development of instruction. Students are represented in the various groups of the faculty. Even the role of individual students in the development of instruction is important in terms of providing feedback on individual course units (course feedback) and the instruction activities as a whole (feedback on each semester/academic year).

The head of study affairs is responsible  for the preparation, implementation, coordination and strategic planning of the instruction in cooperation with the faculty council, dean and other actors within the faculty.

The study coordinator serves as a liaison between the parties participating in the development of instruction and  is partially responsible for the pertinent communications within the degree programme. The study coordinator has an important role in providing practical support to the curriculum design efforts.

Planning of instruction

University-level and unit-specific strategic policies and guidelines as well as feedback and monitoring information (feedback on courses and academic years, U&R monitoring statistics, etc.) are taken into account in the preparation of curricula.

The planning of an individual course unit falls on the responsible instructor, who develops the education as a continuous process. The feedback from students on specific courses and academic years serves as an essential tool in these efforts.

Alongside curriculum design, the planning of instruction involves the preparation of an annual teaching schedule. This is the responsibility of the study coordinators and the responsible instructors of the course units in question. The preparation of the teaching schedules is coordinated by the degree programme director and the head of study affairs/study coordinator. The fluency of the studies from the perspective of the entire degree programme is taken into account in the preparation of the teaching schedule.

Academic counselling

The purpose of the counselling efforts is to ensure that students have the opportunity to complete the studies encompassed by the degree as smoothly as possible. This is particularly important early on in the studies and during transitions and thesis work.

The head of academic counselling for the degree programme plays a key role in the coordination of the counselling and especially in its development. The tasks of the head of academic counselling include working together with other parties responsible for the counselling to plan the counselling arrangements and support HOPS instructors.

In the early phases of the studies, the role of the HOPS instructors is particularly important. Academic counselling with regard to an individual course unit is the responsibility of the instructor responsible for the course unit in question. Where necessary, all instructors are responsible for referring students to staff members who can meet their counselling needs. In matters concerning degree administration, students should primarily contact Study Services (study coordinators/head of study affairs).

In the academic counselling of new students, it is key to provide information on the basics of studying (degree programme structure, university studies, sources of information on studies and studying, and who to contact for guidance and counselling). Orientation studies, activities arranged by student tutors and HOPS instructors, and the university’s website play an important role in the counselling of students.

The student associations are responsible for the activities of the student tutors. The faculty organises annual tutor training for student tutors to support the tutor training provided by the student associations.

At the beginning, new students are divided into HOPS groups. The HOPS instructors appointed by the specialisation options are tasked with guiding students particularly with regard to questions related to the early part and planning of studies (HOPS process). If necessary, the HOPS instructors refer students to the right person to meet the specific needs in question. The head of academic counselling for the degree programme coordinates and supports the activities of the HOPS instructors.

Description of the student feedback system                                              

The feedback collected on instruction is an essential tool in the development of instruction. The collection and utilisation of feedback is an important element of assuring the quality of the instruction provided. Feedback on instruction is collected from the participating students on each course unit (course feedback) and the academic year as a whole.

Course feedback is collected electronically on each course unit of the degree programme. The instructor responsible for the course unit in question is also responsible for ensuring the collection of feedback. Collecting feedback is important from the perspective of both instructors and students. The purpose of feedback is to assess how the instruction provided during a course has promoted the students’ learning and how well the learning outcomes specified for the course in question have been achieved. Feedback on a course unit enables the instructor to evaluate the efficacy of the teaching methods in relation to the learning outcomes and whether or not the course has contributed to the overall goal of the degree programme curriculum. Based on the feedback, the instructor can develop the course unit to further the students’ learning.