The University of Helsinki’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the topic of education is now available for local and global audiences. Uncover Finnish Education MOOC is presenting the current situation of the Finnish education from a systemic perspective. Designed based on the students’ interests and needs, the course covers topics such as underlying values, educational ecosystem, administration aspects, curriculum development, quality enhancement, teacher education and current challenges. The content is presented in a wide variety of formats such as text, podcasts, videos, and VR resources.
The course has been developed by the Faculty of Educational Sciences in collaboration with the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL), a Ministry of Education and Culture-funded network of 20 Finnish higher education institutions (universities and universities of applied sciences). The vision of the development team was to create a course which is captivating, meets the needs of the learners, promotes personalized learning, brings creative approaches to online environments, has a modern and stylish UI and is available for everyone. Sharing a similar vision for online learning, Global Campus joined this course as a development partner. Interested in experimenting with VR tools in online environments, Global Campus supported the design of several features for the Uncover Finnish Education MOOC, as seen below.
The course includes two AI videos. One is presenting the structure of the Finnish education system and it is based on an infographic from the resource library of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The second video presents the learning experiences of Ella Kämper, a student at the University of Helsinki. Ella wrote the script and provided the photos and videos. The process of creating the videos was very smooth, faster and with less effort than it would have been to record videos in a studio. The editing of the videos was done in Premier Pro. You can see Ella as an avatar in the video below.
At the suggestion of the Global Campus team, we developed two simulation exercises for the course. And I must confess that it has been one of the best choices we have made for this course. Shortly into the design process of the simulations, I understood the high value these types of exercises can have in supporting the students’ learning. Being able to immerse yourself in a specific situation, practice different skills, and make decisions, is an opportunity that cannot be usually provided during courses.
To develop the simulations, we worked with two experts from 3DBear, a company which provides service solutions for AR and VR learning. Both experts had a pedagogical background, which was very useful when developing educational content. With them and a couple of course content authors, we developed one simulation about outdoor learning, which can be also used as a professional development tool and another video simulation, where the course students can experience being a Finnish teacher in a teacher- students- guardian meeting. You can spot the simulations in the Chapters 4 and 5 of the course.
We knew early in the course design that we would like to include immersive and interactive content. We wanted to create possibilities for the students to learn by discovery and by doing. Therefore, under the advice of the Global Campus team, we have used Thinglink to develop several interactive resources. Thinglink proved to be a very handy and versatile tool, which catered very well to our need for immersive content. We have created interactive resources using 360 ° photos and infographics.
Due to the intervention of Global Campus in this course, the variety of the content formats has increased considerably. Including AI and VR resources in online learning environments can make a difference on the students’ learning. We are hoping that Uncover Finnish Education MOOC will bring a holistic learning experience to everyone studying it. Take the course and let us know what do you think about the use of emerging technologies in online learning environments.
Uncover Finnish Education MOOC project planner/Faculty of Educational Sciences
E-Learning Designer/ Global Campus
University of Helsinki