DEVELOPING PROFESSIONAL KNOWHOW OF LECTURERS ACTING AS MASTER’S THESIS SUPERVISORS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this paper is to describe, how developing professional knowhow of lecturers acting as thesis supervisors in multidisciplinary service business and service design education.
The pedagogic operating model of Laurea, Learning by Developing (LbD), is based on teamwork and co-creation. In addition to lecturers and students, also representatives of working life join in sharing their expertise and experiences. Knowhow is built on academic research, context apprehension, acting as well as encountering different working life situations. Thesis is the single most comprehensive educational effort for a master level student, and is often perceived challenging. From the lecturers’ point of view, the contextual and pedagogical development takes place regularly within the curriculum work. Thesis process is, however, often left outside this development. Furthermore, service business is industry independent, which calls for a broad perspective and business networking. This means that lecturers are expected to have not only a new take on supervising but also continuous renewal and knowhow updating. Action research was chosen as the research strategy for this development work due to its practical and hands-on nature.
We have initiated a systematic development of Service Business and Service Design education Thesis process as well as the professional knowhow of lecturers acting as Thesis supervisors.
Lecturers identified following development issues:
• Preparedness to face different students and study methods
• Development of Thesis supervising process
• Evaluation of Thesis according to NQF and EQF criteria
• Virtual and digital technologies to support supervision
• Interaction and network benefits in Thesis work
Action research changes things, not just to add academic knowledge. It is relevant that the researcher parties participate in the development process that proceeds in cycles. A cycle of action research consists of four phases:
(3) observation and
A new Thesis process framework was developed in the (1) planning phase (autumn 2014). The new framework was:
(1) put into action in January 2015 within the group of students who began their studies during autumn 2014 (action).
(2) The relevance of the new framework has been observed during spring 2015, and the observation continued during autumn 2015 (observation).
(3) The reflection phase will be carried out late 2015 and the Thesis process will be updated accordingly for the use of the group starting their studies in autumn 2015.
The next phase of our development work is to improve the professional knowhow of lecturers acting as thesis supervisors.
(1) The planning phase of the second cycle began in spring 2016. Each lecturer in the multidisciplinary education holds a doctoral degree in various branches of science. However, we recognized a need to develop our own professional knowhow as supervisors. Our aim is to develop the supervision process according to the philosophy of LbD. The second cycle
(2) action phase will implement new supervision processes in the practical supervision work during spring 2016,
(3) observe how they function and, finally,
(4) reflect on their adequacy.
Keywords: Thesis process, thesis supervising, higher education.