ONLINE SERVICES IN OPEN UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
Open Universities form a part of the Finnish adult education system. The Open University of the University of Jyväskylä provides education to promote educational and regional equality and lifelong learning. Education is open to everybody regardless of age or educational background, and gives everyone an opportunity to develop their competence, raise their level of education and retrain.
The Open University of Jyväskylä is an independent institute coexisting with the University of Jyväskylä. Each year more than 13,000 students from Finland and abroad choose to study at the Open University of Jyväskylä, mainly through distance learning. All courses are parts of a university degree with their contents derived from the curricula drawn up by the faculties and departments of the University of Jyväskylä.
The Open University of Jyväskylä is specializing in distance and online learning. ICT has been used for teaching, administration and producing student services for years. During the past ten years a unique set of online services covering all the areas of studying and study administration has been developed. Services are based on separate online environments and data systems which form an online service package.
The basic information on studies (aims, contents etc.) and practical instructions (e.g. for registration) can be found on the Open University web site. Information is distributed also via Facebook, Twitter and mobile application. Students are able to register to studies online in the study data system Korppi and start studying at any time of the year – most of the studies have no fixed dates of registration. Study fees are paid by online bank service during the registration process. Students are granted the right to study automatically while registering to studies in Korppi, and their individual study right period (150, 360 or 720 days) starts right away.
After the registration students have access to the course portal Koppa where they can find all the instructions for studying. Students also give in their written assignments and take online exams in Koppa. Online teaching takes place in an e-learning environment and by a web conference system with varying pedagogical solutions. E-books, e-articles and online video recordings are widely used. Students are able to follow their personal study schedules and plans, usually regardless of time and place. The completed courses are registered in the study data system and students can check their grades online. After they have finished their studies students can ask for a certificate and give feedback on their studies on the web site. Students’ feedback is collected systematically and used for quality assessment.
Students get guidance at different stages of their study path mainly online. Student guidance includes individual and group guidance. Students have the chance for individual counselling by web meetings, e-mail or phone, and for group counselling in e-learning environments, web meetings and Facebook groups. The support for learning academic contents takes place on versatile online environments, or sometimes by phone or e-mail.
This online service package enables administration to monitor registrations, study rights, study fees and the amount of credits completed in real time. With an analysis tool statistical data can be easily processed and reported, and the Open University can quickly react and adapt to changes.