About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1505-1514
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0466

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain


H.R. Kymäläinen1, T. Kokkonen1, H. Muukkonen2, P. Mäkelä1, M. Seppänen1, M. Lakkala1

1University of Helsinki (FINLAND)
2University of Oulu (FINLAND)
Work life relevance is emphasized nowadays also in higher education. In addition to domain-specific knowledge and skills students should learn general work life competencies, such as team work, networking, project work and digital skills.

At the University of Helsinki, in agricultural sciences, students’ work life skills are promoted in a project course. The 5 ETCS course has been realized for the B.Sc. and M.Sc. students in 2016 and 2017. The course in 2016 had 8 students and 3 supervisors (university lecturers) in two project teams; the course in 2017 had 15 students in 4 teams, and 6 supervisors. Each team had its own external customer.

The course implementation was examined with the design-based research approach. The aim of the study was to receive research-based knowledge for developing the course design further, and to try out instruments and methods that can be used in educational practice to assess participant satisfaction and com-petence development during courses of work life origin. An online questionnaire was used to examine the evaluations of the teachers and students about the success of the course and the competencies learned by the students (Collaborative Knowledge Practices Questionnaire, CKP). Interviews were used for examining the views of the teachers and customers concerning the realization and development of the course. The data were analyzed with quantitative and qualitative methods.

According to the CKP, students evaluated that they had learnt knowledge work competencies well, particularly the development of a shared objects, the integration of individual and collaborative work-ing and persistent development of knowledge objects (means in both courses >4, statement “During the course I learnt…”, scale 1 “not at all” − 5 “very much”). According to the answers for the open questions the students particularly appreciated team working for obtaining the common goal, development of project work and work life skills, interesting project topics and interaction with the representatives of work life. Challenges were the open assignments and related uncertainty of working methods, coordination of group work and inadequate own previous skills in relation to project work requirements. The tight schedule of 11 weeks in 2016 led to prolonging of the course to 16 weeks in 2017.

All customers evaluated participating in the course as positive. They appreciated being able to help students to practice work life skills and the university to develop teaching. Collaboration was seen as a good way to create contacts with students from the viewpoint of future workplaces. Project work outcomes gave new information for the development of the organizations or supplemented and strengthened earlier views. As targets of improvement, the customers mentioned better definition of appropriate assignments for student teams and the development of interaction practices, e.g. by organizing virtual meetings.

For the supervisors, the motivated working of the students and finishing of the projects in time were positive aspects. Challenging was, e.g., to define appropriate topics for the customer assignments, requirements of the course in relation to the skills of the students and timing of the course, and their own time management.

Work life oriented project courses were experienced as necessary and rewarding for all parties. Research-based evaluation provided useful information for developing the course design further.
author = {Kym{\"{a}}l{\"{a}}inen, H.R. and Kokkonen, T. and Muukkonen, H. and M{\"{a}}kel{\"{a}}, P. and Sepp{\"{a}}nen, M. and Lakkala, M.},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0466},
url = {https://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0466},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {1505-1514}}
AU - H.R. Kymäläinen AU - T. Kokkonen AU - H. Muukkonen AU - P. Mäkelä AU - M. Seppänen AU - M. Lakkala
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0466
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 1505
EP - 1514
ER -
H.R. Kymäläinen, T. Kokkonen, H. Muukkonen, P. Mäkelä, M. Seppänen, M. Lakkala (2018) RESEARCH-BASED EVALUATION OF CUSTOMER PROJECT COURSES IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 1505-1514.