Stensaker, Tømte and Fossland presenting at Nordic Council of Ministers conference in Helsinki

Last week, on 14th of June, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre organized a Nordic conference, titled: Student-centred approach and the quality of degree education. The conference brought together over 200 participants from various Nordic countries.

Professor Bjørn Stensaker held one of the keynote speeches, where he focused on the relationship between learning outcomes and quality assurance, and pointed some of the issues of bringing quality assurance practice closer to the primary processes of higher education.

cathrine and trineIn addition, Research professor Cathrine Tømte and Associate professor Trine Fossland presented some of their work in the first parallel session. View their presentation “The teachers’ role in the changing landscape of technology rich environments” here (pdf).

The keynote speech by Bjørn Stensaker was also recorded and is avilable on youtube, embedded in the video below. Bjørn Stensakers presentation starts at about 55 minutes, after the introductory speeches from Anita Lehikoinen (Ministry and Education and Culture in Finland), Anders Geertsen (Nordic Council of Ministers) and Professor Riitta Pyykkö (University of Turku).

Data collection regarding educational processes underway

Dr Tine Prøitz, NIFU/HBV
Dr Tine Prøitz, NIFU/HBV
Professor Monika Nerland, UiO
Professor Monika Nerland, UiO

Part C in this project focuses on educational practices, including curriculum development, teaching and learning activities, as well as feedback and assessment.

Sub-project leaders Monika Nerland and Tine Prøitz comment on the overall focus of the sub-project: “To learn more about what matters for educational quality on the practice level in different instructional environments, we conduct observation-based studies of teaching-learning activities in selected courses that employ student-active approaches. Three case studies are undertaken this spring, and three more will follow in the autumn term 2016. In addition, two parallel case studies are conducted in Finland.

The Finnish partners in this project are located at the Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education (YTY) in University of Helsinki

Data collection underway in case institutions
Data collection underway in case institutions (Photo: Rachelle Esterhazy)

Data collection is also now underway in part C: “We are now about to finish the data collection in the first three courses, conducted in a biology program, an engineering program and a nursing program respectively. Towards the end of the courses we will collect students’ experiences from the course by way of group interviews and a questionnaire developed by our colleagues in Helsinki.

In the picture on the right, project researcher Rachelle Esterhazy has documented the site visit to one of the case institutions.

The analysis process is expected to provide rather unique data about the learning processes  in Norway, Nerland and Prøitz explain: “We are very excited about starting to analyze the data, as we do not have much knowledge about the activities taking place behind the doors to lecture halls, labs and seminar rooms in higher education, or how these activities support student learning.”

Read more about project C here.

Project meeting at NIFU 21-22 January

NIFU is hosting a comprehensive project meeting for parts A, B and C of the project, with project partners attending from Norway and from Finland (University of Helsinki) and Denmark (Århus University).

perolaf
Per Olaf Aamodt (NIFU)

Per Olaf Aamodt was presenting some of the key results of the comprehensive review of existing data sources in Norwegian higher education and their applicability for indicators on input, process and output quality. He argued that there is considerable data collected in the Norwegian system, but much of it is collected for other purposes than quality measurement.

“It is very exciting to see what data is available and what can it be used for, to have this comprehensive view on all data sources that we already have,” says Per Olaf Aamodt.

Project leaders for B and C also gave updates on the work done in the sub-projects. Monika Nerland, project co-leader for part C updated the whole project team on the preparatory work for case studies in part C. Currently, work is underway to map the field and prepare for empirical data collection period that is about to start shortly. Observation studies in project part C will be carried out in spring and fall of 2016, accompanied with interview and document studies. Peter Maassen, project co-leader for part B gave brief overview of status in project B regarding study programme dynamics, as well as plan for work in the institutional cases studied in part B where main emphasis is to examine how work on quality on institutional level is related to what is taking place on study programme level.

The six case studies in both sub-projects overlap, and will allow for a comprehensive analysis – from institutional strategies to quality work on various levels, as well as the actual teaching and learning practices that take place.

In addition to work with the whole group, the meeting included more detailed work in projects part B and C to discuss sub-project specific issues and current work in the sub-projects.

On Friday, the project meeting will continue with discussions in the sub-projects and plan ahead for the remaining of the work this spring.