The Internet arrived in Finland in 1988. It revolutionised the world, and some even questioned the need for teachers as a result. The question was whether teachers are needed for anything more when the Internet takes care of their work. We can now say that teachers were needed and are still needed. Digital pedagogical solutions began to develop, and today, the utilisation of digitalisation in teaching and learning is better understood. Chat GPT, which has sparked a lot of discussion, is a tool that supports learning when used smartly.
Independence from time and place has provided plenty of opportunities for teaching and studying. Online courses must be planned and implemented so that students can study anywhere and anytime.
Independent study requires active guidance from the teacher
Behind a well-implemented, high-quality online study unit is a carefully written pedagogical manuscript. It describes how, why and in what order the student completes the assignments in the study unit.
Making the learning process visible to the student and the support and guidance provided by the teacher play a key role in online studies. The teacher must provide the student with clear instructions on how to complete the online study unit. Guidance should be available both as text and video. Learning can be supported by various weekly assignments, from which the student automatically receives feedback, always at the right time. The more students study independently, the more we need to invest in guidance.
Automating feedback makes the teacher’s assessment easier.
At Savonia University of Applied Sciences, teachers have developed an Excel tool that makes giving feedback to students easier and faster. Each student receives personal feedback on both successes and development targets. The timely, high-quality feedback supports learning and motivates to study. When the teacher automates some of their work, they can, for example, spend time on weekly guidance sessions through Zoom, which gives students the opportunity to receive personal guidance.
Good planning supports studies and maintains the quality of teaching.
How are teachers supported – examples of development projects, training and networks
To strengthen the organisation’s competence, it is necessary to get support from management. In addition, the entire personnel need to be willing to develop their own competence. At first, it is a good idea to identify existing competence and verbalise the objectives of development work.
In Savonia, we have seen that the support given by a close colleague is the most widely used form of support. The Savonia Digipeda team supports teachers in both pedagogical and technical teaching and learning issues. In addition, Savonia has a Digimentori network consisting of teachers that guides teaching staff in their work in different fields of education. The Opetuksen Digituki channel (digital support for teaching), which was established in Teams in 2020, is still going strong and is in active use.
Continuous development requires that higher education institutions remain in control of the change. Mastering learning technology and adopting hybrid skills are part of developing one’s own competence. It is comforting that everyone does not need to know everything, but there is always someone among us who can help.
Although online learning, digital solutions, gamification and interactivity are constantly developing, it is important to remember the basics of teaching. The planning of teaching is based on a learner-centred approach.
Good joint planning and support for competence development also help to achieve Digivisio’s objectives. Together we are more.
Multiform Pedagogical Specialist
Savonia University of Applied Sciences Ltd
This article is part of a blog series that unwraps the vision for e-learning drawn up in the Digivisio 2030 programme. Read more about the vision for e-learning.