Teaching and Learning Strategy
The teaching and learning strategy of the university aims at students taking increasing responsibility for their learning, while university staff is responsible for enabling such learning. Ultimately students should leave the university inspired and capable of life-long learning building upon the foundations and structure built through the university’s programs.
Various approaches to learning have been adopted to achieve the above:
Direct contact (e.g. lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, external visits, case studies, or workshops),
- Collaborative learning (e.g. group projects, discussion forums, or debate),
- Oxford Tutorial Metdod will be used when student meet learning difficulties,
- Independent learning.
The choice of which approach to adopt to achieve a given learning objective is left to the tutor, who will select the most appropriate on the basis of developing creativity in the thinking of the students by challenging existing precepts. Providing context is important in this regard, such as through using case studies, to expose the students to multiple realities in which the theories may apply.
Firelake University Finland’s teaching and learning strategy has been developed to ensure that students will:
- Be able to learn and work independently,
- Develop organizational skills,
- Be able to adapt to changing circumstances,
- Develop transferable skills from one context to another.
- Be able to communicate their ideas in writing, speaking and practically,
- Develop team-working and leadership skills.
The university assigns to each student a staff member as academic tutor. Academic staff members can provide a wide range of advice and help. The university gives importance to tutorials. Failure to attend tutorials is often an indication that a student has difficulties, so the university will takes to address lack if attendance with such students. The aims of tutorials are to:
- Develop a reflective approach to learning,
- Encourage students to develop problem solving techniques,
- Help students with specific problems, whether pastoral or academic,
- Develop a professional relationship between the tutor and student.
For modular programs taught modules’ teaching contact accounts for about 40% of the student learning hours associated with the module, unless stated otherwise in the program specification. All the learning objectives of the module will all be addressed in the teaching contact hours. Tutors draw upon published literature, academic research and professional experience when preparing for direct contact sessions with students.
The final assignment, project or dissertation aspect of many of the programs allows students independently to substantially investigate a given subject matter, demonstrating their cogitative, analytical and evaluative skills through written and presented work.
All Masters Students will undertake a dissertation that amounts to approximately 400 hours of independent learning. The subject of the dissertation will directly relate to the student’s chosen specialist pathway.
Teaching and learning must have formative assessment as an integrated part of the process, in order to help students and tutors understand strengths and weaknesses in the learner, so that appropriate strategies can be put in place to build on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses. Formative assessment may be in the form of written class or home work, individual or group presentations, class debate, direct questioning or the like.
Summative assessment strategies depend upon the program specification, but most commonly includes invigilated examinations and written assignments, although may involve an element of observation for some modules, where appropriate.
The above guiding principles remain true and underpin the delivery of Online Learning programs.
As there cannot be the same level of student contact on any online program as on a face-to-face program, but we believe that the interactivity built into our technology gives FUF students a real opportunity to engage at the highest possible level. Group and individual meetings can easily be scheduled in private rooms, giving text, and picture, video and audio communication. This is fast becoming the standard meeting format for many institutes of repute including large organizations and companies, as the business environment grows to become more globalised.
As the virtual classroom is modeled on the real classroom environment, lecturers are able to deliver a lecture as they would normally, asking questions, organizing group discussions, handing presentation over to students etc. All of this is possible with the online classroom. The technical ability to quickly include online learners in such activities will be accessible to most lecturers with a little experience and to all lecturers through the services of a distance learning technician.
Lectures play an important role in the university’s teaching and learning strategy. They are perceived as an effective means by which to communicate detailed, technical information to students at a pace that allows comprehension.
In order to simulate real world situations FUF makes use of case study teaching wherever applicable.
This helps to prepare students for their future careers and enables them to relate theory and practice.
A Research Methods module will enable students to develop their research skills to be used in all taught modules in addition to their assignments and/or dissertation.
Students for whom English is a second language will have a proven minimum level to be eligible for enrolment; however, the university recognizes that even then individual students will have differing strengths and weaknesses. Also, students will inevitably come from various cultures, hence their prior knowledge and experiences cannot be assumed to be the same. To address this factor and to ensure that language or cultures are not barriers to learning, the university adopts the following measures:
- Lecturers and tutors assessing student work should seek to identify students who could benefit from additional language support.
- Personal tutors should monitor a student’s ability and seek to become aware of any issues that may affect a student’s learning.
- Regular meetings of academic staff should identify where language intervention should be used.
- English language and mathematical skills support classes will be arranged by the university on a needs basis, guided by the academic staff intervention monitoring lists.
- Although all formal study and assessment happens in English, the university does not discourage, and may actually seek to encourage, student collaboration in a variety of languages of their choosing, during their own personal study time.
The above documents should be read in conjunction with the FUF Student Support Policy and the Dissertation Supervision Policy.
This Policy is subject to annual review
Last reviewed: November 2020
Next review: November 2021