The Environmental and Food economics bachelor Digileap – a summary

… of what we achieved and an acknowledgement and thank you to all who made it possible

The environmental economics MOOC and university-high-school cooperation

The major achievement of the project has been the creation of an open online, fully digitalized course in Principles of Environmental Economics (MOOC) in collaboration with the Open University. For each topic of the course, students can watch video lectures, read the lecture notes and then take weekly online exams to test their understanding. At the end of the course, they participate in a final exam online. The course is open to high-school students (read here about their experience of the course and can be taken during the whole school year. If they pass the final exam, they get three university credits from the Open University. As a bonus, during the first period of the Autumn semester, high school students can follow contact teaching live either via streaming or by coming to class. Thus they can experience university life and get to know our faculty at Viikki’s campus.  The MOOC in Principles of Environmental Economics is the first “kurkistuskurssi” that our program offers to high school students. We hope it will attract students to a discipline, environmental economics, which helps to find solutions to the global and local great challenges of our time such as Climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution of the Baltic Sea.

Creating this MOOC would have not been possible without Prof. Markku Ollikainen, teaching assistants Sally Weaver and Venla Ala-Harja, Anni Uskoski from Open University, and the staff of UH Educational technology services, and Unigrafia. A special thank goes to all of them.

The blended courses in Principles of Agricultural economics and co-operation in vocational education

The introductory courses in agricultural economics I and IIa were transformed into blended-teaching courses with video lectures and Moodle assignments developed with the help and fresh perspective of teaching assistant Rita Lahti. Starting from the academic year 2019-20, both these digitalized courses will be offered in collaboration with the Open University, so that all interested will be able to learn about agricultural economics, a science field at the core of social and environmental sustainability. The two courses will be also part of a 26 credits module in Agricultural sciences, which the Open University will organize in collaboration with Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto and Seinäjoen koulutuskuntayhtymä Sedu in Ilmajoki (read more about this collaboration here  A special thank here goes to Prof. Timo Sipiläinen, University lecturer Nina Hyytiä, course assistant Rita Lahti and Anni Ukskoski of the Open University.

Supporting the development of Oodikone and piloting it

The Environmental and Food economics bachelor program used part of the digileap-project’s funds to support the development of the Oodikone and piloted its use as the first program in the faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Oodikone allows to easily analyze the data from the course registration system Oodi to help identify courses acting as bottlenecks in the curriculum or students in need for counselling. It offers essential information for monitoring the study program and developing its curriculum as well as teaching and supervision practices. Our thanks go to Matti Luukkainen, Tuomo Torppa and the rest of the Oodikone development team at the department of Data analysis at the University of Helsinki for developing this useful tool and for their support in its adoption. You can read more about the Oodikone here .

Supporting the teaching staff to develop their digital skills and adopt digital tools in teaching

In collaboration with Educational technology services, we organized a laboratory to familiarize teachers in Viikki’s campus with various digital tools. Digileap project-teacher and Teachers’ Academy member Sampo Pihlainen with his expertise and enthusiasm helped the teaching staff in our program with the adoption of these tools throughout the project.

Developing question banks with the STACK- Moodle plug in

As many courses in economics rely on mathematical assignments, we began developing a question bank for (mathematical) economics assignments using the Stack plug-in with the help of teaching assistant Riina Aapasuo. Riina coded several exercise sets and taught how to code exercises using the Stack-plug in a workshop open to all the University teaching staff. For lack of time, the question bank has not been put to use yet but it will be included in the intermediate microeconomics courses Moodle assignments for the year 2019-20.

We would like to thank the University of Helsinki who provided the funding and made these first steps in our digital leap possible. Special thanks go to Pauliina Kupila and Päivi Heino for leading the project The Digital Leap in Teaching project and Outi Valkamaa ja Kristian Lindqvist from UH Educational technology services.


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