Blended learning makes it possible to provide IDBM programme for remote students

IDBM's visiting Assistant Professor Miikka J. Lehtonen is happy about the internal funding IDBM received.

Aalto University's IDBM (International Design Business Management) Master's degree programme focuses on the methods, thought processes and competitive advantage perspectives of design. The programme's courses focus on products, service and business design, technology and innovation management. IDBM is a common programme that involves every school at Aalto, and the School of Business is responsible for its coordination. The graduates of the programme are design experts who are employed as e.g. consultants, product or service developers and entrepreneurs.

In the future, Aalto wants to provide IDBM studies to students at other universities. This autumn, the programme received funding from the A!OLE (Aalto Online Learning) project to develop its online learning processes in a minor programme that is taught entirely with blended learning, which combines both contact and online learning methods. Last autumn, the programme received the same funding for the implementation of its IDBM Challenge and Capstone courses.

‘We want to provide our programmes to students at top international universities. To be able to achieve this with good learning outcomes, we must utilise the principles of blended learning’, notes Vice President for Education Eero Eloranta.

‘The blended learning minor will become an alternative that will provided alongside the traditional minor programme. We want to provide Aalto and IDBM to the global market and to such students who are happy to study online but don't want to move to Finland,’ says IDBM's visiting Assistant Professor Miikka J. Lehtonen.

Good webinars are key

The minor programme consists of three courses that are worth 25 credits in total. The programme begins with the IDBM Challenge course that focuses on all the senses, which helps orientate students to the programme. The online series of the course consists of 15 episodes. Its production involved a large number of people at Aalto. Graphic designer Parvati Pillai was responsible for the course's visual identity, sound designer Harri Dammert for the music, consultant Johannes Söderström for the course’s 360-degree environment and Educational Media Specialist Kalle Kataila for the videos and editing. The script was written by the leader of the course, Miikka J. Lehtonen. In addition, the core working group included Education Planners Theresa Berg and Katharina Schilli, both IDBM alumni.

After the IDBM Challenge, the minor continues with the Industry Project course, where student teams create real-life projects for 10 companies in total.

‘Lately, we haven't been able to accept all the projects that have been offered to us, as more and more companies have become aware of our programme and expressed their interest in it,’ notes Professor of Practice Niina Nurmi, who is IDBM's director.

After the Industry Project course, the Capstone course dives deep into the contents of the fields that are part of IDBM. The Capstone course is implemented with the help of Adobe Connect. Niina Nurmi, who is responsible for the course, says that all students use a video camera during the course – this helps ensure total concentration during the webinars. Their planning, scheduling and rhythm also involves a great deal of time and effort.

‘90 per cent of the things that we do during the webinars must be activating. Any articles and other materials are read before the webinar, and during the webinar itself, we work together to learn about the uses of design technology methods.’

Aalto's IT support has played a crucial role in the success of the Capstone course. Aalto's IT support is present during the first half-hour to ensure that everything is running smoothly from a technical perspective. According to Nurmi, its flexibility has made it a valuable supporting service, even though the technological side of the course has been working well.

Niina Nurmi's dissertation focused on organisational psychology and Miikka J. Lehtonen’s on visual communication. These form the basis for the development of the programme next year as well, and the goal is to make IDBM into one of Aalto's flagship programmes.

‘Sparring and open interaction with people outside of Aalto are important and help promote development, and Humap's experts have been our research partners in this,’ Nurmi continues.

Since the beginning of 2016, Aalto University's strategic A!OLE (Aalto Online Learning) project has funded pilots, courses and programmes that are used to develop the education that is provided at Aalto. IDBM is one of the programmes that has received its funding. Additionally, IDBM received funding from the strategic digitalisation project of Aalto University.

‘Aalto contains a great deal of expertise in various fields, so internal networking is also well worth the effort. We at IDBM are very happy to share our experiences and best practices. We want to help others succeed and encourage everyone at Aalto to apply for A!OLE funding to realise their best development ideas,’ Lehtonen says.

Get to know the IDBM Challenge course and view its episodes:
IDBM Challenge Behind the Scenes video

More information about IDBM:

Other pilots which got A!OLE funding in autumn 2017 are below. More information about these will be provided soon on the A!OLE webpage.

  •     MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
  •     Blended learning for textile design courses
  •     Mik!Ble
  •     Blended Mentoring in Bachelor’s Thesis Research, Mikkeli Campus
  •     Ways of Making
  •     BIZ math
  •     Digitaalinen viestintä ja media
  •     Online components for Corporate responsibility & ethics
  •     Lightweight XML-checker application
  •     Online videos for the Strategic IT management- course
  •     Sano se suomeksi! - Say it in Finnish!
  •     MEX-Online
  •     Vikaa
  •     Kestävä kurssimateriaalin kehitys
  •     National wide teaching co-operation in wood sciene using online learning
  •     Building an International and Improved Programming Course
  •     Laboratory Safety Class in Virtual Laboratory
  •     Dynamic course and programme level feedback system
  •     Muotoilija ammatissa blended learning ympäristössä
  •     Statistics online
  •     Preparatory English (B1)
  •     Learning Swedish with VR and 360-degree videos
  •     eWrite your Research
  •     E! Speak It
  •     Augmented Reality for Interactive Storytelling
  •     Työelämän portugalia verkossa
  •     ARTS Infra introduction
  •     Johdatus muotoiluun ei-muotoilijoille
  •     Intelligent Computational Media - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Designers and Artists
  •     Teknillisen kemian ja polymeeriteknologian laboratoriotöiden digitalisointi
  •     AR for space science teaching & outreach
  •     Rapid transitioning to CO2 free power system in Finland
  •     Magnificent Life
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