1.4 The HEI’s examples of successful enhancement activities

Developing multi-disciplinary pedagogies and learning environments

The university’s network of facilitators develops online and multi-modal pedagogies and tools for online and multi-modal learning. Distance/hybrid learning has been strongly developed and supported through various pilots. The Everyone Guides activities will be launched in early 2022. The development of these activities will clarify what governance means as a collaboration between different groups of actors in the university community and support the development of governance in institutions and departments. The interaction and development of the university’s educational management system is supported by the university’s network of pedagogical leaders.

The university’s online and multi-modal pedagogy facilitator network acts as a new link between teaching units/services and in national development networks. This network supports pedagogical skills and develops online and multi-modal pedagogies and tools. This has increased concrete development needs and has resulted, for example, in a starter kit for digital teacher orientations.

The university has created a Digistartti orientation package as part of the initial guidance.  The aim of the Digistartti orientation is to help students get acquainted with the university’s digital learning environments and tools even before they begin their studies. The Kamu Student Handbook provides a wealth of help, support, tips, and contact information to help students with their studies.

Escape game pedagogy   

At the heart of the escape game pedagogy is the equipped multipurpose room, which aims to introduce gamification into the teaching process and thus develop students’ collaborative problem-solving skills.  The escape game also offers unique opportunities to observe learning.

Sm4rt LOC The University’s first escape room was built on the Joensuu campus in cooperation with departments and schools of Teacher Education, Computing, and Applied Physics. 

FARScape Is a pharmaceutical escape room at the Kuopio campus, suitable for teaching pharmaceutical manufacturing and analytics, where it is possible to combine theoretical and practical knowledge. The escape room is designed for a laboratory environment.

Escape Swedish was developed during the period in cooperation between the Language Centre and the School of Educational Science and Teacher Education. The idea of the escape room game is to develop teamwork skills and to learn and apply Swedish in solving tasks.  The game can be played in a Sm4rt LOC lab, in a regular classroom, or online. In addition to using it on a Swedish refresher course, the escape room game can also be applied to subject-specific examination courses.

Student well-being

The aim of student well-being work is to promote student health and study ability, the well-being of the study communities, and to prevent social exclusion.  Student well-being and its development are supported in several ways at the university, with the support of many actors, and through various services. The aim is to create a healthy, balanced, and safe learning and study environment, as well as to protect the mental health of the students through both community and individual support.

The Bridges projects support students’ self-reliance and ability to cope with the problems caused by the pandemic, prevent exclusion, strengthen study skills and mental well-being, and promote progress in their studies through various support measures, cooperation between actors, and peer support for students. The project will also provide low-threshold guidance and well-being services for our students.

Student2Student peer counsellors are available by phone, and students can contact them for any questions related to student life and well-being. A peer counsellor provides peer-to-peer discussion support and signposting to the necessary services. These discussions are confidential, voluntary, and free of charge. Students can also request a call back with a peer counsellor during on-call hours. This service model has been developed as a continuation of the work done by UEF’s well-being coordinators.

Education cooperation

The university has extensive educational cooperation with various higher education institutions. The University of Eastern Finland is involved in more than 20 education networks, for example one form that cooperation is the national agreement on flexible study rights (JOO). The most extensive educational cooperation with Karelia and Savonia Universities of Applied Sciences. The university and the universities of applied sciences jointly run the studies leading to a bachelor’s degree in computer science (ICT education pathway). The Doctoral Training Network collaborates on the design of generic competency courses. The Tohtos project established joint courses with other universities.

Cooperation in pharmacy

In professional fields like pharmacy, there are compulsory traineeships for studies. The purpose of traineeship is to support the development of the pharmacist students’ professional expertise and working life skills and to guide the students to adapt the skills they have received in their studies to practice. Teaching pharmacies are approved by School of Pharmacy. Besides the traineeship the University of Eastern Finland’s pharmacy in Kuopio is doing cooperation with the university at the research and development of the teaching of pharmacy, in which has been established a shared post called as teaching pharmacist. With cooperation the teaching of pharmacy is developed to meet e.g. new needs that have arisen in working life and pharmacy’s service processes are developed through research.

Continuous learning for holistic change

 The university has implemented a systemic change in continuous learning, with closer, more streamlined collaboration between faculties and units and the Centre for Continuous Learning. The curricula for 2022-2025 were prepared in cooperation between the Centre for Continuous Learning, the Language Centre, and the faculties. The curricula are uniform for degree, minor, and open university students. The opportunities and options for continuous learning are clear and the teaching is of a high quality. Forecasting will be systematically used and cooperation with working life will be modelled as part of a continuous learning approach, as connections with working life and their relevance are also strengthened through this.

Development and internationalisation of education as a member of the European Universities Initiative

As a member of the European Universities Initiative, YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe), UEF students’ opportunities to study in Europe have been expanded and diversified. Students can already take individual courses or volunteer at ten partner universities, either on-site or virtually. In 2023, students will already be able to complete full minors (30 credits), drawn from the offerings of partner universities, and integrate them into their degrees. A European joint degree in partner universities, the YUFE Bachelor degree, is also being planned. Students are also active members of the Initiative and contribute to its development in all areas.