Beginning of the year for MAST-digiloikka

Plum flowers at the University of Tokyo campus (January 2019).

The Master’s Programme in Mathematics and Statistics (MAST) Digiloikka year started with a visit to Tokyo.

During the autumn term 2018, new MOOC-courses on computational inverse problems were piloted with (mainly) University of Helsinki students. We asked the students to give feedback after the course to help us develop the two courses further this year with the help of Digiloikka-funding. We received a lot of feedback, with a lot of helpful comments on how to make the courses even better. (More on the actual feedback, and how we will use it, will be in a later post.)

The goals of the MAST-digiloikka project include doing massive online courses with versatile questions. Thus getting feedback from also international students is a critical point in the development process. Also, as the course aims to be available for a wide audience, feedback from various places is important.

The Tokyo visit was done with two different universities in Tokyo, the University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Science. In both universities, a presentation about the piloted courses were given and at Tokyo University of Science, we also had a change to get students start with the first course. The two courses are not lectured in University of Helsinki right now (next start time is in September), but for testing purposes and to gain further feedback, access was given to the willing students at the universities. Now, we are eagerly waiting on how well the students do on the course and also for their feedback.

During the presentations, we also got a few questions to think about when developing MOOC-courses. Mainly, the questions concerned the needed prerequisites to take the course, the possibility of doing the course according to the schedule the students’ university has (for actually gaining study credits from their university), and if the video lectures provided with courses would work in other countries (the internet access and the speed of the video viewing). Also there was a question on what kind of certificate (if any) would be available to students after completing the online courses. These questions and how to find a solution for them are still things we will have to think about when moving forward with the developing of the courses.

There are still a lot of work to do on developing the two courses further, but at least we can safely say there is also an international interest in the courses. We will report back after we have had a change to look more into the questions raised and once we hopefully have more feedback from the students doing the course now.


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