In our exclusive interview with President and Managing Director of the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Mr. Jari Multisilta goes on to talk about some of the new technologies implemented on campus in order to enhance education and how students are valued at SAMK.
What are some of the similarities between Finnish and UAE Education?
Both in the UAE and Finland, primary and secondary education is free and compulsory for all children. There is also well established vocational education in Finland and the UAE (unlike in some other countries). In addition, higher education is also free to Finnish and other EU citizens. I believe both countries value the high quality of education.
What makes Finland attractive to UAE students who are looking to study abroad?
First, the Finnish high-quality, world-recognized educational system makes Finland attractive. In addition, Finland is known as an innovative country北京体彩网官方网站 and it is a forefront country北京体彩网官方网站 in applying new technologies in many areas. Also, higher education institutes are using modern educational technologies in supporting learning. An important part of the studies in higher education in Finland is a close collaboration of companies and universities both in teaching and research. Students will experience real-world problem solving i.e. working with problems proposed by companies and they will collaborate with the companies already during their studies. Finally, student counseling and support systems are an important part of the higher education system. Every student has a student tutor and teacher tutor and they get support from them all the time during their studies. SAMK arranges orientation days for new international degree students at the beginning of each semester. The programme during the days is drawn up to help the students settle into student life and the new environment as quickly as possible. The programme introduces students to the various services, regulations and systems at SAMK.
At SAMK, every student compiles an individual study plan (ISP/HOPS) with the help of his/her teacher tutor at the initial states of the studies. The purpose of this plan is to make the curriculum more personal and it is based on the future career plans of the student.
I would like to add the beautiful and clean Finnish nature, four seasons, mild weather in the Southern parts of Finland and a safe environment. Nature is freely available for walking, running, biking, hiking, etc. The cities in Finland are considered safe for all and the air quality is always excellent.
What are some of the new technologies that SAMK has implemented in order to enhance education?
Online instruction and online learning refer to the utilization of the information network in teaching and learning. Some courses may be entirely online. During the courses, online learning can also be used to support traditional teaching methods.
The whole campus is a learning environment. Therefore, the wireless network works well in all facilities in 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies. SAMK has introduced the BYOD concept. BYOD means the same as Bring Your Own Device so that students do their assignments mainly with their own computers.
SAMK has implemented a distance learning system ‘HILL’, that makes it possible to attend courses online. Some of the lectures are recorded and can be used by the students at any time. The only requirement is a reasonable network connection and a laptop or similar device. Many examinations can be done in our digital exam classrooms when it is a suitable time for the student.
In AI, robotics and engineering, we have the latest robot and AI systems that students use hands-on while learning. Students are mentored by the experts of SAMK consisting of 20 experts working in the fields of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and welfare technology. SAMK’s RoboAI platform functions as a global innovation platform for research and development as well as education and competence.
What makes SAMK stand out from other international universities in Finland?
SAMK has the best quality of teaching among the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences. We have excellent learning environments and facilities in all of our campuses. Also, the learning and teaching methods developed at SAMK emphasize the collaboration between the university and the companies.
What is SAMK’s approach to learning, and establishing the principles of effective professional learning? How can universities in the UAE implement this approach?
SAMK’s approach could be described as a student-centered approach. We value the students and want to support all the students individually by implementing individual study plans for all students. We can offer our students many possibilities to enhance their knowledge and practical skills. In addition to traditional lectures, thesis and exams, we offer various chances to learn through projects. The Enterprise Accelerator helps students who have a business idea or an operating company. The students will also be assisted in enterprise succession or in the acquisition of an enterprise. In addition, recognition of prior learning (RPL) promotes lifelong learning. A university student is given the opportunity to demonstrate that, through prior learning, he or she masters the learning outcomes regardless of where or how the competence has been acquired. The competence must correspond with the learning objectives of the curriculum of the study program.
It is difficult to advise universities in UAE in their operations. I believe that the Finnish education system should be considered as one entity consisting of many features from the whole society. However, I would be interested to learn more about the UAE educational system and higher education. By continuous discussion between the presidents, deans and teachers, would help each other to learn from our systems and enable us to implement new features in our universities.
Mr. Jari Multisilta is the President and Managing Director of Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. In his former position, he was the professor of Multimedia at the Tampere University of Technology and the director of the Pori University Consortium. He was a Visiting Fellow at Nokia Research Center from 2008 - 2009, Nokia Visiting Professor in 2012 and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, H-STAR Institute from 2007 - 2014 (18 months). His research interests include mobile learning, mobile video storytelling, gamification and games, and teaching computer coding.
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