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Feedback reveals high satisfaction among exchange students

According to feedback from exchange students both teachers and students made a very successful digital leap in the spring of 2020.
Five exchange students in Mikkeli, Fall 2019
Exchange students in Mikkeli in the autumn of 2019: Bautista (from Argentina) (left), Noah (Switzerland), Ines (Portugal), Jordan (USA) and Nicoletta (Italy)

Aalto University switched to remote learning in mid-March last year because of the coronavirus epidemic. Lectures and project work were moved to online equipment and video chats. Digital tools had been used in many courses before, and many were familiar with them in advance, but the actual digital leap still needed to be made. According to feedback from exchange students, the teachers generally succeeded very well.

Kauppisessa vaihto-opiskelijoina olleet, syksy 2019
Exchange students in Otaniemi, Fall 2019

About 120 exchange students came to the Otaniemi campus of the School of Business both in the spring of 2019 and 2020, and slightly over ten came to the Mikkeli campus both springs. In the spring of 2019, 233 School of Business students embarked on an exchange programmes, and 212 did so in the spring of 2020.

The exchange students in nearly all sectors who came to the School of Business in the spring of 2020 were more satisfied with the quality and methods of teaching than those who came a year earlier – in the spring of 2019. The same satisfaction is evident in evaluations made by School of Business students who went abroad, but exchange students who came to Finland from abroad gave the most positive feedback. According to the feedback, those completing their exchange period in the International Business programme at the Mikkeli campus were especially pleased with the instruction they received. 

‘Teachers trust their students, and give detailed feedback’

Feedback from exchange students who had been in Finland included the observation that courses at the School of Business were better than those at the home university. Several exchange students also said that teachers at Aalto trust their students and let them learn and grow at their own pace. Feedback from the teachers was also praised as being detailed and informative. Interaction between teachers and students was seen to be fair and balanced, and as such, it was considered respectful of the student.

Justus Kurtsiefer, a student at the Universität Innsbruck completed his exchange studies at the Mikkeli campus in the academic year of 2020–2021.

‘I have found here in Mikkeli the learning and online teaching to be very professional and organised. Nevertheless, the good technical infrastructure allows this for everyone, I don't think the online classes in Germany have been as good, and I also know through family members that even elite universities have had a hard time managing online classes.’

Tomas Falk, Associate Dean of teaching and education at the School of Business is very happy about the feedback from the exchange students and is also pleased that the coronavirus period did not negatively affect their learning experience. In fact, the opposite is true.

‘The interaction has undoubtedly been quite different. Professor Rebecca Piekkari and HR Manager Eliisa Lassila are leading our school’s strategic initiative Community wellbeing. In this role, Rebecca Piekkari has expressed a wish to our teachers that they would include a little bit of space in their courses. This is to allow students to interact socially with other students as well as the teachers. It is also recommended that in this situation that many students find stressful, the teachers might introduce alternate ways of completing a course or the tasks it contains. These issues are very important,’ Tomas Falk says.

Community wellbeing is one of the four School of Business key strategic initiatives

The first actions aim at enhancing the wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff during the pandemic.

Read more about the Community wellbeing initiative
Kuvassa näkyvät professori Rebecca Piekkari ja HR-päällikkö Eliisa Lassila. Kuvan otti Roope Kiviranta Aalto-yliopistosta.
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