Posts in the Education category

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Boring lectures held in huge auditoriums where everyone is checking their mobile phones and planning the great escape? Forget about that. Experiential learning or learning by doing is the way forward in education. And TAMK’s Proakatemia, a student-orientated environment, masters the concept pretty well through its nonconventional teaching and learning approaches. The student is the one to discover the theoretical part and hands-on teamwork, how to combine the two and how to balance them. Nonetheless, he is not alone in this adventurous journey. A team of fellow students and an experienced coach is the best type of assistance he will ever need.

Tanja Verho is one of Proakatemia’s coaches whose vision is to develop future entrepreneurs and really good workers. To inspire her team of students to find their motivation and drive in achieving their goals. To find their own path in life. She does that by asking lots of questions which are not always comfortable. Those questions though, invite to self-evaluation. And it is well-known that self-evaluation leads to lasting change.

 

Tanja, please introduce me to the coaching and learning approaches used in Proakatemia.

At Proakatemia, we have a four-hour training session with our team twice a week. There is a specific theme for each session and we prefer that people don’t use their mobile phones, nor laptops during that time. We are learning by dialogue. We discuss projects, business models and organizations, leadership and teamwork.  Students read a lot of professional books about marketing and communications, leadership and management along with economical and financial aspects. Later on, they have to write essays on some of the models and techniques they found interesting and want to test on their own companies. If it works, then that’s great. If it doesn’t, they still learned something new.

They can also attend seminars and webinars, listen to TED talks and read academic articles. The main way though, is through project work. Doing projects for their own companies with real customers who pay them.

We recently had a training session about product conceptualization, their own company products and services and since my background is in service design and design thinking, I gave them some insights in a five-minute speech. No longer than that. This is a different kind of learning and studying style because the coach’s role is not to give out theory and prepare the training session, but to assist the students in revealing the answers to their questions.

When is the right time for the coach to step in?

Students have to learn to be patient and to listen so they can prevent their first reactions from igniting into them. When they feel stuck, then it’s my time to ask questions. “Why do you think this is going this way?”, “What scares you?”, “What would be the best way to move forward and solve this issue?” and so on.

Most of the time, we already have the answers but we are scared and unsure about ourselves and how to further proceed. When students discover the answers by themselves, it’s more motivating and empowering, rather than me providing them.

That’s a great way to learn but I’m certain it brings up some challenges too. Which are the main ones?

I personally see challenges as possibilities to learn. Of course, there has to be chemistry in a team. Realizing you don’t like someone who’s part of your team should give you a place to reflect upon your own attitude and how to deal with it. As coaches, we are supporting them in solving those kind of issues and talk about what bothers them. One of our roles is to challenge everyone in the team to work together. Problems usually occur when there’s a lack of communication.

Chemistry is one thing and there are lazy people every now and then. If they don’t show up to our mandatory sessions and they are not actively involved in projects and teamwork, we question their motifs. When motivation is an issue, those people are in the wrong place. It’s not easy for them to admit that because they feel like giving up. However, there is a sense of relief that comes with that realization and knowing that you can do something different elsewhere.

Selling is another challenge for most people. When you’re talking about companies and entrepreneurship, you need to sell your products and services. Money talk and selling your own skills and expertise are difficulties to Finnish people. Nowadays, it’s much easier to do that because we have the knowledge for it and atmosphere in Finland has changed in the past years. Students coming to Proakatemia are open-minded and have the desire to improve and change their mindsets.

Is your team involved in any interesting projects nowadays? Any particular achievements you’re proud of?

There are sixteen students in my team of which two are doing a three-month exchange. Some members of my team are involved in a sports and business conference taking place next year, in January. Others are producing advertising videos for companies (Alma Media, for example) and writing articles for different events too. They participate in volunteer projects for the community when needed.

Some of the recent past projects included three cafeterias opened in the Tampere area and the whole team was working there. It was their own project and altogether, the turnover was between 60,000€ and 70,000€. Which is not bad, considering they are still student entrepreneurs.

You graduated from Proakatemia ten years ago and now you’re back in a different role. What made you return? 

When I look back, I’ve always been the teacher type. I like interacting with people and I think everyone is a learner. I ask the right questions and help people figure out the answers by themselves. Something magical happens when a person is able to learn and change her attitude for the best. That’s huge for me.

I remember Proakatemia as a fascinating place during my studies. I was a junior coach at the time. After graduation, I did marketing, service design and even established a sign language translating service, where I learned a lot about human behavior and what motivates people to do certain things. But my dream was always to return to Proakatemia when I’ll have something to give back.

Now I have the experience I can relate to and share it with my students. As a coach, I’m happy if my students found their direction in life and know where they’re heading to after graduation. I think they have succeeded. They are building their characters and we are supporting them. I believe that every coach in Proakatemia shares the same vision.

Most educational institutions are struggling to keep a track of their graduates. How do you know if your students have succeeded or not after they left Proakatemia?

We still have meetings after they graduate to see what they’re doing. If someone feels lost, we can have a development discussion and help him regain direction and focus.

Proakatemia is built on trust. That’s one of the most important values we have here. In the first year, a student learns about teamwork and has to trust its colleagues, co-owners and coach. I know all of my sixteen students. They’re all different and some of them share things about their personal lives with me. They know they can talk to me about anything. It’s all about trust and knowing that someone cares about you and is there to support you.

Is that a realistic and achievable goal within a larger group?

I think it can work if you divide the group into smaller pieces and establish relationships based on trust.

You’ve been an entrepreneur for more than ten years now. Is there such thing as a recipe of a successful entrepreneur?

It has a lot to do with failures. You have to learn about them and have the courage to make mistakes. If you ask me about my failures, I can’t even remember them. I made so many. I always reflect upon them afterwards because the second time is always coming and I have to be prepared.

If you have the courage and the attitude to trust the entire process of entrepreneurship, you’ll find your way and be successful.

When I look at our students, they are doing things. Of course, they are thinkers also, but overall a good combination of doers and thinkers. You need them both.

 

Text: Andruta Ilie

Photo: Harri Hinkka

 

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley is a museum devoted to original works by writer and artist, Tove Jansson. Its unique collection comprise around 2,000 works including sketches, drawings and miniatures of the most famous Finnish characters.

With Moominvalley closing its doors on the 30th of October, 2016 to become Moomin Museum in the spring of 2017, we didn’t want our exchange students to miss the opportunity to see their beloved characters before going back to their home countries. Furthermore, we set up a meeting outside the entrance of the museum on Saturday, 15th of October and together, we not only explored Moominvalley, but also the exhibition “In Search of Humanity” showcasing sculptures, medal art, drawings and painting by pioneering Finnish female sculptor, Essi Renvall.

Anni Chen from China is doing her degree in International Business at Tampere University of Applied Sciences and she’s one of the attendees of the event. A big fan of the Moomins, Anni sent us some impressions and photos.

"We went to Tampere Art Museum and Moominvalley, which was so great because, even though I've stayed here in Tampere for more than one year, I still haven't really visited there yet and I am also a big fan of the Moomins. The sculptures in the art museum were so beautiful and vivid, we took some pictures of them but when we went to Moominvalley, we weren't allowed to take photos which was a pity because Moomins are so cute. However, there was a place where we could take photos together and I even got to hold a big Moomin stuffed toy! That was super cute!"

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Text: Andruta Ilie

Photos: Anni Chen & Andruta Ilie

 

Professor Antonio Roberto de Oliveira has returned to Finland for his second visit this year. This time though, he is not alone. Antonio and six of his students embarked on an innovative journey of discovering new methodologies, learning techniques and entrepreneurship with the aim of changing the traditional system back in their home country, Brazil. On the last leg of their trip, they stopped at TAMK’s Proakatemia to learn more about teamwork and young leadership.

Antonio, where did your second trip to Finland start and when did you arrive to Tampere?

My journey started a week ago, in Helsinki, where we had a workshop on service design and visited a few innovative consultancies.  After that, we went to Tallinn for one day and since Monday, we’ve been in Tampere.

What have you been doing in Tampere?

We visited Mediapolis, New Factory, Futurice , Suomen Luonnonkosmetiikan Osuustukku and Suomen Lasinjalostus during our first two days here. We were impressed by the last company and their great idea of transforming used glass in reusable products. I think that’s an inspiring project. On our last day in Finland, we decided to visit Proakatemia.

What are your impressions so far?

In the morning, there was a one-hour workshop on friend leadership and now we’re taking part in an innovative challenge coming from Suomen Luonnonkosmetiikan Osuustukku, a Finnish company specialized in organic cosmetics. The theme is how to sell organic cosmetic products via Internet. Two of my students, Marcos and his wife, Sheila own a cosmetics company called Medicatriz so they know a lot about the market, customer behavior and touchpoints. Altogether with the rest of the group and Proaketemia students, they have been divided into three teams working together on new ideas. I was amazed to see that Proakatemia students, even though they are younger than my students, are already thinking ahead. They are really nice and engaged people, know what they want and are prepared for the market. The level of discussions in here is high and that’s one the most important things about this place.

Last time we talked, you told me how you wanted to change the traditional system back in your home institution, Rio Branco. Is that still one of your goals?

Yes, it is. In Brazil, the competition is high and we’re not used to work together. When people start learning and going to schools, they’re used with following a traditional system. Nowadays, we’re trying to change their mindsets by working in teams and adding entrepreneurship to all study fields. I know that anyone has the power to be innovative. They just have to push themselves and work as entrepreneurs if they want to create a social impact.

How is this change affecting the way the teacher is perceived?

The teacher is going to be facilitating the process of learning by stepping off of the stage. As a result, students will show more enthusiasm and have more power. To think by themselves and to work in teams. As a teacher, my purpose is to change mindsets with the use of different methodologies. I believe I have the power to do that and show my students the best way to redesign their lives.

Have you got a motto in life?

My motto is “Different to make a difference!”.

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In the first three photos: Antonio’s students working in teams with Proakatemia students

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In the last two photos: Professor Antonio Roberto de Oliveira, Coordinator of the Master in Branding Innovation at Rio Branco College in Brazil and Virpi Heinonen, Customer Relationship Manager (Global Education at Tampere University of Applied Sciences)

Text & photos: Andruta Ilie

Read about Antonio’s first visit to Finland:

Collaboration is the new key word in education

TAMK Ambassadors come from various degree programmes and national backgrounds, allowing them to showcase the TAMK student experience from many different viewpoints and create a truly international experience for visitors.

Let's start with introducing you to Tengfei Liu, an exchange student from China who studies Paper Technology at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Here's how Tengfei describes himself:
"I am an outgoing person, fond of getting to make new friends. I really like TAMK and appreciate this great chance to be an ambassador of TAMK. Let me show you around and introduce you to our amazing TAMK. Are you ready?"

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From China also comes Dandan Hou, another one of our exchange students. She really enjoys her stay in Finland and the beautiful nature here. 
"Hi! I'm Dandan Hou and I study Chemical and Process Engineering at TAMK. I really enjoy my stay in Finland. I love forests and nature. I like hiking, running and sleeping. Sometimes I go hiking in the forest with my friends. I really enjoy it. But I have never been to the forest alone, because it’s easy for me to get lost."

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Our next ambassador is Qinning Wan and he's also an exchange student from China. Qinning has a background in Applied Chemistry back in his home university and he chose to study Paper Technology with us. You could say Qinning has succeeded in adopting a Finnish lifestyle, given his hobbies: 
"I like playing musical instruments and watching drums TV in my spare time. Besides, swimming is also one of my habits, which is a really exciting workout for keeping fit. I am pretty interested to be a TAMK ambassador and introduce specific information about TAMK to those who need it."

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We'll stick for a bit to the biggest continent in this world, but this time with a different country, Vietnam. Linh Nguyen is doing her degree in Energy and Environmental Engineering and she is on a mission:
"I am a 19-year-old cute Vietnamese girl. I love forests, animals and TAMK! TAMK is my sweet home. I want to tell everyone about its beauty! Let's 'TAMK' together!"

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Yen Bui comes from Vietnam as well and she is an International Business Tutor Student. She describes herself as a catholic and daydreamer and is very passionate about dancing:
"I love dancing the most. Hip-hop dance is the best thing I ever do in my life. It’s never wrong to say that music can help people to heal their souls. I have started dancing when I was 14, and from that time on, music has always been my best friend."

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We're getting closer to home, but not until we greet one of our neighbours. Ivan Denisenko is a first-year student of the Energy and Environmental Engineering double degree programme. He's originally from Vyborg, Russia and he's the right guy to contact for musical collaborations.
"Active and willing to support different kind of social work, I decided to join the TAMK Ambassadors team to bring some of my ideas to life and also help TAMK with my own labour and enthusiasm. More than that, to me it's a great opportunity to get to know many people, both those who are with me in this team and those who I will help as part of my duties. I also write music, sing and play the guitar, so if you have any interesting musical cooperation ideas or need a person for a band, contact me at any time."

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We now reached home with our last, but not the least TAMK Ambassador, Elina Eskola. Elina is a Business Information Systems student who enjoys travelling, exploring new places and meeting new people. And she has quite an unusual and interesting favourite hobby...
"I love spending my time either playing, reading or doing various different sports. Aerial fitness is my favourite."

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Best of luck to our TAMK Ambassadors and we can’t wait to hear more about their duties and achievements!

Read more here:
http://www.tamk.fi/web/tamken/tamk-ambassadors

 

 

 

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

With a picturesque location beside the Tammerkoski rapids, Vapriikki is a museum centre hosting a dozen exhibitions each year, with varied themes, including history, technology, and natural sciences. Vapriikki is also home to the Natural History Museum of Tampere, the Media Museum Rupriikki, the Mineral Museum, the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, the Doll Museum and the Postal Museum.

And what better way to spend a Friday afternoon if not with a museum visit? Especially that on Fridays, between 15:00 and 18:00, the museum is free of charge. Our students said yes without hesitations. Together we explored the Postal Museum: Secret Mail of Finnish Jaeger Troops and two more exhibitions: “Narrative Thread-the 10th TEXO triennial of textile art” and “Hurriganes: Rock Revolution in Finland”.

Le Thanh Tung, a first-year student from Vietnam doing his degree in Environmental Engineering at TAMK, attended all our events so far and here's what he thought about the museum:
"My first impression of the museum is that is well-organised. Secondly, is keeping the balance between old and new with the exhibitions. Lastly, the museum is using a lot of modern technology, which is impressive. It was a really interesting experience and I had a wonderful time there."
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Text: Andruta Ilie

Photos: Le Thanh Tung & Andruta Ilie

Scandinavian countries put themselves back on top of the leader board by scoring exceptionally well on international student satisfaction in 2016.

With Norway as a winning country scoring a 9.3, followed by Finland in 4th place, Sweden in 7th place and Denmark in 8th position, Scandinavian universities maintain their reputation of high student satisfaction characterized by offering solid and high-quality education to their students.

Being included in the International Student Satisfaction Awards is recognised as a great achievement for universities and we are very pleased to announce that Tampere University of Applied Sciences has won the StudyPortals Award for Very Good International Student Satisfaction 2016. International students rated their study experience at our university with an average score of 8+ based on 85 reviews. This result takes TAMK to the top ten universities in Finland.

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Tampere University of Applied Sciences would like to express its gratitude to all our amazing international students for their reviews and to StudyPortals for sharing this valuable information with us.
Thank you!

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StudyPortals is the international study choice platform, enabling students to find and compare their study options across borders. StudyPortals’ annual award is based on the analysis of thousands of students reviews on STeXx.eu, the world’s largest database of international student experiences. These reviews provide rare insights into universities’ performance from a student’s’ perspective.

International Student Satisfaction Awards 2016 were officially announced during the Annual EAIE conference Liverpool, on 15th of September, 2016.

More information about StudyPortals here:

This year’s press release on the country rankings:
http://www.studyportals.com/press-releases/norway-climbs-to-the-top-of-international-student-satisfaction/

International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.

Although we were planning to take our students to pick the last berries from the woods for our third event, we had to change the plan in the last minute due to poor weather conditions. So we stayed in Y-Campus and had an open discussion about TAMK and Tampere. According to our students, the international atmosphere at Tampere University of Applied Sciences is so great, that a three-month exchange period is too short. Some other pros and cons were written down as you will see in the image below.

 

Text & photos: Andruta Ilie

Floworks living lab is a 21st century development hub at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, which contributes to education by making internal operations function better. Sometimes described as co-creation of the education or students bringing innovation to education, Floworks works closely with students and engages them in a variety of learning projects.

It started in 2010 with a realization that there was a specific need of development opportunities to pursue. Resources were available for staff, however, there wasn’t enough time to dedicate to every single one of them. Since these projects seemed to be great learning experiences and students possessed the required skills and could get credits for them, why not combine the two elements and turn it into an excellent learning opportunity? As an answer to that question, Floworks was developed.

A small team of people, consisting of a Development Manager, Ilkka Haukijärvi and three Coaches, Jussi Hannunen, Timo Nevalainen and Kseniya Tarasova are actively engaged in working with students. From 1st of August, a new team member, Clémentine Arpiainen, will start working in Floworks as an Analyst. She will be closely involved within the living lab, including such areas as coaching, research, and development of the operations in general.

Projects vary from Engineering and ICT to Healthcare and Coaches are open to all degree programme students. It should be directly connected to their personalized curriculum so they are building their capabilities and competences expected to use in their future careers. The competences brought to each project include use of social media, use of ICT in delivering services along with a designer orientation for service modelling approach to development work.

However, Coaches understand there is no such thing as one fits all so, for particular projects, they’re looking for students with skills to match the requirements. In order to find them, they contact staff members and ask them to promote the projects, use social media tools and TAMK’s own communications system, Intra. In some occasions, they approach students personally by visiting them during classes and introduce them to the projects.

Projects are requested by TAMK’s organizational and teaching staff and their number varies a lot. Earlier this year, Floworks had about ten projects running at the same time. Coach Jussi Hannunen believes that’s quite a lot, but there are no limits. “Five to seven projects are more comfortable to work with. We value quality to quantity and we won’t take up any projects which don’t fit TAMK’s strategy and criteria.”

Deadlines for the projects are set with Floworks’s customers after deciding when they need the product and what is practical for the team. Students are guided by Coaches about their responsibilities so they know exactly what they have to do from the start until the end.

So far, Floworks’s customers have been really impressed by the work students put in. They realized that the more they engage with the project, the more useful the product will be and the deliverables. And that they can learn a lot about the functions of their own operations. Most of the projects have been successful and delivered what was expected from them and sometimes more.

Summer projects

This summer, Floworks has three exciting projects going on: “Orientation Goes Online”, “Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants” and “Video Production Team for Mindtrek 2016”.

Coach Timo Nevalainen reveals the purpose of the first two projects and how new students will benefit from them: “We’re trying to find ways to do online orientation for new international students before they arrive at TAMK and also during the orientation week at their arrival in Tampere. To come up with a service where TAMK will be as open and helpful as possible from the first minute a student is interested in studying with us. We’re targeting students from outside the European Union for our degree programmes in English. If they can learn more things before coming here, then they could dedicate more time to socializing at their arrival in Finland and take in the new information in a more relaxed way.

The second project aims to connect potential students considering applying to the International Business programme with existing students and staff here. This way, they will already have some contacts here and their parents will receive more information about TAMK.”

“There are two co-creative projects developing for new students by TAMK’s IB students. In these two projects, we have students from Arts and Media, Environmental Engineering and Piano Pedagogy. Third project comes from our partner, MINTREK. Mindtrek is an international conference on open community development and newest digital technologies in business, taking place in Tampere on the 17th of October. Altogether, the projects are covering the months of June, July and August.” adds Coach Kseniya Tarasova.

“Everybody needs new tools in delivering the services they provide, whether they’re provided to students, or in general. There’s always a chance to do your work better. And students can help with that by giving information, ideas, or even taking a concept that you have and turn it into a service you can use. These kind of opportunities exist in all big organizations, such as TAMK. There’s no fear that we will run out of projects.” concludes Jussi Hannunen.

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Timo Nevalainen

Coach Timo Nevalainen

TAMK students taking part in Floworks's summer projects

TAMK students taking part in Floworks’s summer projects

Floworks's Coaches working closely with TAMK students

Floworks’s Coach, Kseniya Tarasova having a lunch break with TAMK students

 

Text & photos: Andruta Ilie