1.3 The evaluation and enhancement of education

The Feedback system and follow-up of education

The student feedback system approved by the Teaching and Learning Council is at the core of the quality management in education. Feedback is collected from students on individual courses, after the first year of studies, when completing the bachelor’s degree (The Finnish Bachelor’s Graduate Survey) and the master’s degree as well as five years after graduation (National Master’s Career Monitoring). The course feedback is gathered in different ways in the faculties.

Feedback is collected through course feedback, first year experience surveys, Finnish bachelor’s graduate surveys, master’s graduate surveys and master’s degree career monitoring. Course feedback is collected throughout the study years. Course feedback is an evaluation of teaching and guidance and the other forms of feedback evaluate entities that are larger than separate courses. The first year experience survey takes place in the first study year. The Finnish bachelor’s graduate survey takes place in the third year. The master’s graduate survey will take place after the fifth year and it is implemented in 2023 for the first time. The master’s degree career monitoring takes place 5 years after graduation.

Teachers are encouraged to give feedback on feedback to the students. There are various methods for handling feedback between teaching staff and students on different levels within the faculties. There are also informal channels by which the feedback is collected constantly, e.g. discussions with the Student Union, subject associations, and the faculties’ advisory boards consisting of discipline-specific stakeholders.

In doctoral training, the doctoral researchers are requested to give feedback on teaching on individual courses, during annual follow-up, in UTUGS satisfaction surveys, and three years after completing the doctoral degree (National Doctoral Degree Career Monitoring).

Doctoral studies feedback is collected through course feedback, the annual report, work place well-being surveys, feedback surveys of UTUGS, satisfaction survey of UTUGS and doctoral degree career monitoring. Course feedback is collected throughout the years and it is an evaluation of teaching and guidance. Annual report is a non-anonymous survey which is carried out in the second, third and fourth year. Work place well-being survey is carried out in the third and fourth year. Feedback survey of UTUGS is carried out in the first and third year. Satisfaction survey of UTUGS is carried out after the fourth year. Doctoral degree career monitoring is a non-anonymous survey which is collected 3 years after graduation. Doctoral degree career monitoring belongs to the national career monitoring of the universities.

The data provided by the feedback system is analysed in the centralised support services of the Educational Affairs, in units and working groups as well as in UTUGS. Feedback data is used in the development of education and teaching. There are webinars and targeted presentations in various forums about the given feedback. Reports are used in the assessment of curricula and curriculum planning process. UTUGS has done several development projects based on the received feedback such as adding courses related to transferable skills.

The feedback that is collected from recent graduates through the career monitoring surveys (in Aarresaari network) is used to develop the overall quality of the education, but also to create tools and information in order to help current students and doctoral researchers in their career and working life planning (see e.g. toissa.fi portal). The results of the career monitoring surveys are presented at the Vipunen – Education Statistics Finland portal.

Evaluation process of degree programmes

The UTU Management Group regularly follows and evaluates the number of degrees completed in the faculties and the results are reported to the UTU Board.

The Teaching and Learning Council led by the Vice Rector responsible for education conducts a self-evaluation every two years for all 1st and 2nd degree programmes within UTU, including the international degree programmes. After the self-evaluation process, the Teaching and Learning Council discusses it on a general level. The in-depth discussions and analyses on the self-evaluation of the degree programmes are had on the faculty level. The faculties are encouraged to collaborate in order to cross-share and enhance the development of their programmes based on the results.

The Rector decides on the doctoral programmes and the number of funded positions for each DP based on the proposal of UTUGS. The proposal is based on an evaluation made by two panels of experienced professors from other Finnish universities. UTUGS was evaluated in the last research assessment exercise.

The University of Turku Regulation on Studies (chapter 2.5.) defines the responsibilities of the different actors in the quality work of education and teaching.

Changing needs of society and working life

Considering the changing needs of society and working life is an essential part of the curriculum planning. The faculties have many connections to society and they have ongoing discussions with different stakeholders. In every faculty, the stakeholders take part in one way or another in curriculum planning. Some labour unions carry out surveys for graduates in co-operation with universities.

Continuous learning is part of the education in the entire university as well as of all the study opportunities and services other than degree studies. The emphasis of continuous learning is on changing working life, arising needs for expertise, and learning during the career. Continuous learning also concerns work ability, education, well-being, involvement in society, and work transition.

After graduation, there is a unique opportunity for the UTU alumni to supplement their degree: everyone has a right to study for free for two years after graduation.

UTU provides extensive open university education (for a regulated low fee) and the faculties provide field-specific continuing education opportunities.

Role of support services

The Educational Affairs unit is administratively centralised but physically decentralised. The idea behind partial decentralisation is that the support services of education are located close to the students and the units that provide education. The organisational structure and functions are likewise based on the processes of education.

The unit is constantly developing since both the national educational policy in Finland and the UTU strategy are ambitious and set high expectations on the work of the educational services. For example, educational services for teachers offers constant digi-pedagogical support to teachers by providing self-learning materials and staff training as well as a team supporting the development of MOOCs which was only recently established. Another theme that is currently evolving is the guidelines for open access policy and practice in teaching and learning, as steered by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.

Moreover, the unit conducts constant self-evaluation to serve the students and the targets of UTU in the field of education as well as possible. In addition, the organisation and the processes are regularly subject to a more thorough internal scrutiny, in which the Educational Affairs staff, the students, the teaching staff and UTU management are heard to obtain their opinions and ideas for the development of the work of the Educational Affairs.

Strengths. There is a comprehensive and systematic student feedback system at UTU. Expert support for the students and the educational staff by the staff of educational support service (especially Opetuki team). Digitalisation of UTUGS (see chapter 1.4). Enhancement areas. Developing systematic monitoring mechanisms to follow the completion of courses and students’ study progress. UTU strives to continuously improve working life co-operation.