Uncover Finnish Education MOOC

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. 

AI videos 

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.  

Immersive content 

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.  

Mihaela Nyyssönen

Uncover Finnish Education MOOC project planner/Faculty of Educational Sciences

E-Learning Designer/ Global Campus

University of Helsinki

Case Sustainable Health – a teacher’s view on Global Campus collaboration

Surreal handshake


Sustainable Health is a multidisciplinary online course that discusses sustainable development themes in the context of healthcare and life sciences. It serves as the discipline-specific counterpart to the University of Helsinki Sustainability Course (SUST-001). It is currently being piloted in the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Pharmacy, and development is ongoing for its expansion into a massive open online course (MOOC).

The course employs a highly learner-centred approach, giving participants ample freedom in terms of how and when they choose to complete it. The students construct an e-portfolio, where the participants compile reflections on sustainability challenges and solutions. The portfolio may be based on pre-defined assignments or other freely chosen topics that align with the learners’ interests. Mid-course, students exchange peer feedback on their portfolio drafts, and at the end of the course peer assessment is carried out to verify that the portfolios meet the passing requirements of the course. The participants can choose whether they wish to complete the course within one teaching period or over two consecutive periods.

The collaboration with Global Campus begun during the development phase of the first pilot version of Sustainable Health. At the time, large parts of the course content had been prepared and the outlines of course completion mechanics drawn. What we felt was still missing was a unifying concept to tie together the individual topics and tasks of the course in a way that would keep the students motivated throughout the extended periods of self-paced studying. Additionally, we wished to gain expert insight into the execution of the peer feedback and peer assessment workshops. This is where Global Campus stepped in.

I was immediately amazed by the can-do attitude of the whole Global Campus team. In the beginning of the collaboration, I was asked to compile a wish list of features and enhancements for the course that the team could help me with, which felt like a strange position for someone whose work typically involves catering to the wishes of other teachers. Not having a clear sense of the full range of possibilities, I was initially hesitant with my hopes, but it soon became evident that the options would be only limited by my own imagination. For example, what started as an idea for using text-to-speech snippets to introduce the course content was transformed by Global Campus into a full sci-fi narrative, delivered in a post-apocalyptic virtual reality environment by an avatar from the future. Such a mind-blowing reference point has taught me not to hold back my scope based on what I expect to be within the realms of possibility.

Furthermore, I received valuable advice on how to organize the exchange of peer feedback among the course participants and got excellent insight on how to formulate the feedback instructions and questions in a way that would make the assessment process motivating and useful to the students.

Despite the creative and uninhibited atmosphere, working with Global Campus was very organised. With Sasa Tkalcan’s excellent coordination and comprehensive documentation on the shared project whiteboard, the goals were set very clearly, and progress towards them was regularly monitored. I really liked this approach and hope to apply it in other collaborations later on. This was also my first time working with some of the project management tools involved, like Kanban, so I also acquired new tracking methods for my projects.

During the development phase, Sustainable Health was one of two concomitant Global Campus pilots. Despite the completely different disciplines and course topics of the pilots, we had several meetings between both developers and the whole Global Campus team and ended up having an extremely fruitful collaboration based on the shared goal of creating quality e-learning. Some unique ideas that arose in our joint discussions ended up as crucial parts of Sustainable Health (and vice versa, I hope), highlighting the impact of the interdisciplinary brainstorming. I have no doubt that we will keep in touch and continue sharing ideas and good practices with the developers of the sibling pilot also after the finalisation of both projects.

The biggest challenge I faced during the collaboration was the allocation of my personal resources between developing the e-learning mechanics of the course and producing learning materials. The latter task was initially hoped to be shared within a larger group of subject matter experts, but the dynamic nature of the working group and the limited time resources of the experts proved challenging for co-creation. Eventually, I took on a large portion of the scientific content creation to ensure that the course would be ready for piloting on schedule, which limited my availability for the conceptualisation of experimental e-learning elements. On the bright side, the content is now in place with the pilot, allowing the future development of the course to focus purely on educational technology innovation and making the course as fun, engaging, and inspiring as possible. Conversations with the Global Campus team and other pilot developers revealed that the issue may in fact be more general, as it may often be challenging for subject matter experts to find the time to produce certain types of content, such as video lectures. However, it was also highlighted that AI-assisted technologies, such as text-to-speech and digital avatar tools, could significantly reduce this barrier and make it easier to co-develop learning materials in the future.

Overall, working with Global Campus has been a great experience that has really expanded my perspective on what is achievable when open-minded enthusiasm meets with the latest technology. In addition, the collaboration between the two parallel course pilots served as a great example of how multidisciplinary teamwork and idea exchange can greatly enhance course development projects when facilitated by a great team. I feel that by sharing knowledge and best practices between the projects, we established a framework that could be easily adopted to guide future course development initiatives.

Ilkka Miettinen
University instructor / Post-doctoral researcher
Faculty of Pharmacy / Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
University of Helsinki

ThingLink basics, tags

View of a laboratory in ThingLink.


Greetings, avid reader! Allow me to introduce you to the delightful world of ThingLink. Where the only limit is your own imagination! If you’re looking to add a touch of finesse to your images and videos, look no further than the humble tag. These interactive buttons bring your multimedia content to life and they’re the secret ingredient of ThingLink. In this blog post, I’ll give you a quick rundown of ThingLink in the form of a video.
BTW we used ThingLink for our very first project. You can read about it in our blog entry called Message from the future.

First of all, let’s define what ThingLink is. Simply put, ThingLink is an online platform that allows you to add interactive tags to your images and videos. These tags can include text, images, audio, and video, making your multimedia content much more engaging and interactive. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or simply someone looking to add a touch of sophistication to your social media posts, ThingLink is the tool for you. Check out the following Miro board where I have put together a very simply yet effective sequence of slides to highlight what ThinLink is.

Now, why is this relevant for our context which is higher education and Edtech and at the end of the day the learners? Well, for one, it is a very intuitive tool and it gives students control over their own learning journey. No more dull lectures or tedious presentations. With ThingLink, students can interact with the material in multiple ways, truly grasping and internalising the information. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of control? According to Yarbrough (2019) “more visuals are not only learner preferred, training and educational professionals have identified that visuals support efficient teaching.”

A ThingLink can be considered a version of an infographic. There are ample studies supporting the claim that infographics are very powerful tools. What makes infographics and in an extended way ThingLink too, so useful? Visuals tend to stick in long-term memory, they transmit messages faster and improve comprehension to name a few (Shiftlearning).

Here is a roughly 7 min video walking you through all the tags and how to create them. In Edit mode tags can can be dragged around the base image – you can even pull a line from under a tag and anchor it to a specific point. 

In a next tutorial blog post with video we’ll have a look the settings and dive into the immersive world of 360° images and videos in ThingLink.  

In conclusion, ThingLink is the tool you didn’t know you needed. With its interactive tags and multimedia-rich approach, ThingLink empowers students to take charge of their studies and reach their full potential. So what are you waiting for? Give it a go and see the magic unfold!

BTW when storyboarding the video I had a clear vision of how to implement text to speech (TTS) with an AI voice – little did I know how NOT easy this was  Stay tuned as at some point I will write a how to post about the process of producing the above video. 


Yarbrough, J. R. (2019). Infographics: In support of online visual learning. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 23(2), 1–15.

Shiftlearning. Blog post: Studies confirm the Power of Visuals in eLearning.