The international Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning is a joint programme of the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University aiming at solving complex urban challenges. It offers several degree options to apply for, which in the University of Helsinki include MA (Faculty of Arts), MSc (Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences), MSc (Faculty of Science) and M.Soc.Sc (Faculty of Social Sciences).

The Programme relies on a multidisciplinary team of professors and lecturers, with various pedagogical approaches and levels of expertise. The USP digiloikka project will enhance the development of digital solutions in teaching and at the same time will build upon international cooperation. In practice, our project is aiming at the co-creation of a pilot 5-10 ECTS course in urban studies, to be possibly implemented through the collaboration with one to three other international universities. It is of uttermost importance for us to increase the Master’s Programme visibility and international appeal. We have several possibilities on offer about how to implement the course, ranging from working on an already existing one and transferring it onto the web to creating a new one altogether, on the basis of what is missing from our multidisciplinary curriculum.

We were deeply impressed by the Digiloikka kick-off meeting for the 2020 projects, which took place on January 31. There we could see presentations from last year’s round of applications and this provided plenty of food-for-thought. Moreover, it revealed how individual disciplines understand and use digitalization in very different ways. Our project will be inspired by all these possible applications, in the context of a multidisciplinary Master’s Programme.

We are eager to work on the creation of a digital platform, to test the chances of learning about urbanization in an online environment, and to turn this into a pedagogically sound instrument to fuel non-digital and multi-sited learning activities.

We are relying on one hand on the expertise of our teaching community, which spans several disciplines across two leading universities and on the collaboration of students. Nevertheless, to accomplish the project, we also need to even out the digital expertise of lecturers via dedicated training and workshops. A key collaboration in this will be with the University of Helsinki Centre for University Teaching and Learning.

Giacomo Bottà, USP digiloikka project manager



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