Aalto University's joint strategic initiatives in the field of education for 2016-2020 are Aalto Online Learning, Learning Challenge Aalto, Programme Attractiveness and Success of Students.
Online learning at Aalto University 2016-2020
Background of Aalto Online Learning
The project launched in January 2016 with 9 pilots from all over Aalto University. The goal was to develop, explore and evaluate novel advanced technical solutions and pedagogical models for online and blended learning. The best practices and models were identified and disseminated into wider use in order to benefit students and teachers in all Aalto schools.
Examples of such models are combining interactive online materials with intensive face-to-face sessions in flipped classroom settings and sharing online platforms for creating not only learning contents but also for conducting analytics of learning results. As of May 2020, the number of pilots has grown to over 230 and the project has helped improve around 270 Aalto University courses.
Shaping the future of teaching and learning
From the very beginning the task of the project was to create a culture shift where digitalisation of teaching and learning is an asset to build on. However, this also includes taking a critical point of view on what may be lost in the digitalisation of education. Face-to-face contact with students is one the best assets of universities, and that should not be lost. Instead human teaching resources should be used in tasks where they fit best. Many mundane tasks can be automated to save teachers’ time and creating rich interactive learning content that can support students’ self-study while joint sessions could be used for mentoring, feedback and constructive discussion.
Between 2016 and 2021 Aalto Online Learning collected new ideas for courses and educational tools through Call for Idea Proposals (9 rounds in total), which were open for all Aalto members, teachers, staff and students. The best and most innovative ideas for online learning facilities, tools and materials ("pilots") were then selected, invited to join the Aalto Online Learning network and supported in order to develop specific tools and methods presented in proposals.
The last Call for Idea Proposals round was during spring 2020 and the deadline for submissions was on March 26. Read more about the Call for Idea Proposals here. The pilots, approved by the board in the 2020 spring call, have been developed and presented to the Aalto community during 2020 and 2021.
Rather than focusing on one specific tool, Aalto Online Learning strives to develop, explore and evaluate a variety of blended and online tools and approaches. The themes include:
- Blended learning
- Online Textbooks and Automatic Assessment
- Video Production
- Augmented Reality
- Virtual Reality
- Online Social Interaction