1.3 The evaluation and enhancement of education

Managing education through data

The university’s student feedback system is described in the attached table.

 Student feedback system
Figure 6 Student feedback system

Main objective of the university’s knowledge management work is to develop a repository-based reporting and analytics environment to support the university leadership and other staff in management and the development of the university’s activities. A number of different reports, for example reports about research funding and graduating students have been made to support the management of education and training. Reporting will focus on student selection during the next phase.

Subject studies have several different methods for providing feedback at the group and individual level. For example departments organise feedback days. The Academic Rector’s decision on course feedback was issued on 29 March 2022. At the university level, the newly piloted course feedback system allows for counter feedback. Responding to feedback motivates people to give feedback. The new feedback tool improves these responses.

Feedback can be given anonymously. Student organisations and the Student Union have the opportunity to provide feedback, which then processed by the relevant university function in the education management system.  Feedback surveys are organised on a regular basis to encourage students to give feedback. Some university departments also have student tutoring activities and this support lowers the threshold for giving feedback.

During the Student Union’s Smile and Complain Week, students have the opportunity to anonymously give feedback to the Student Union, the university, the health service, caterers, or any other party that affects student life. All feedback is forwarded to the subject of the feedback. In addition, teachers and subject studies are able to collect feedback through various methods, such as feedback sessions or other verbal feedback. Feedback responses can be given to students after a course and during a course in relation to any changes in the delivery of the course when the next course is organised.

Depending on student feedback, it is analysed at various management levels, such as Council for Teaching and Guidance, the faculties’ Committee on development of degree education, the academic subject or the department in question in another agreed manner, such as separate feedback sessions. Students are involved in all aspects of the university’s activities in which feedback is discussed and further measures are agreed, for example to improve content, teaching methods or practices.

The results of the national career monitoring and candidate feedback are systematically analysed by institutions and departments as a basis for teaching development.

Teaching is monitored and evaluated annually in university management reviews, based on teaching measures. In the faculties, the monitoring and evaluation of teaching is carried out by the Committees on development of degree education.There are also departmental/unit-specific approaches to monitoring and evaluating teaching. More detailed monitoring and evaluation of training is carried out at the faculty and departmental level, and, for example, the needs for curriculum development emerge from these more detailed analyses. The use of feedback time series is part of the degree programme’s monitoring and evaluation processes. The Council for Teaching and Guidance discusses and, if necessary, outlines the necessary measures at the university level.

The university rectors and student services management team meet regularly with the Student Union Board and the student associations. These meetings are interactive and giving and receiving feedback is a natural part of the process. Students have representatives in various educational management levels such as faculties’ and departments’ education development committees/quality team to give feedback, and students are auditors in internal audits. Doctoral researchers have representatives on the Doctoral School’s management team.

The extent, scope, and orientation of higher education is controlled nationally. The university has responded to the national increase in student numbers by permanently adding almost 400 places. In addition, 168 starting places were temporarily added due to the coronavirus pandemic. In autumn 2021, the university launched a speech therapy course in response to the need for speech therapists in Eastern Finland. In particular, the need to launch engineering education in Eastern Finland, driven by the needs of businesses in the region, led the university to apply for responsibility for technical and scientific education.

The university offers a wide range of specialised training courses and stand-alone studies where students can deepen their expertise.  These courses are mainly aimed at people who are working, have a university degree or equivalent qualifications.

The Centre for Continuous Learning, Open University, and continuing professional education are part of the university’s educational provision. The university is the second largest provider of open university studies in Finland. Strong cooperation between upper secondary schools increases the effectiveness of the operations. In 2021, 52 upper secondary schools were cooperation partners.

University graduates (all levels) can apply for continuous learner status.

The university’s support services develop its activities from the perspective of continuous improvement. Feedback from students and stakeholders is taken up in the appropriate bodies and used to improve the way we work.

Strengths Enhancement areas
Extensive provision of continuous learning, closely linked to degree programmes Systematising the student feedback process, making use of feedback more visible
Students are able to have an influence through multiple channels and are involved in various committees and development work Developing learning analytics
Responding quickly to society’s training needs Establishing support services for international training
Opportunities in the open education pathway Developing a monitoring and evaluation model for doctoral training
Operational model for the continuous right to study