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International 2011 Materials Education Symposium

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Combining Lectures and Studies in Web Based Learning Environments

Dr Pirjo Pietikainen | Aalto University

Combining Lectures and Studies in Web Based Learning Environments

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Web-aided teaching at lecture course combined with co-operation between universities can be taught as a hybrid between traditional university teaching and modern virtual university. In order to combine abilities and resources a course Modern methods of polymer analysis was organized by two universities in Finland. This co-operation made possible a vivid conversation between students as well as teachers of both universities. In addition experts from industry and also from other universities in Finland were used as lecturers in order to bring their experiences in using modern methods for analysis in their work. The course had three whole days of lectures ca. once a month. Between lecture days the students worked in web based learning environment in order to deepen the themes of the lectures in groups of 3-4 students. They wrote essays and made referats of scientific articles. They were to discuss and comment on each other's work. In conclusion our course was a very successful teaching experience for both teachers and most of the students who found this kind of concept of learning interesting and efficient. Even though students found the course very tedious, most of them admitted that this way they learned more than what they would have learned by only listening the lectures and attending a traditional exam. Independence of time and place tends easily be misleading so that one does not spare any time for the studies. Management of timetables seemed to be the most difficult part of the course for students and that 'lack of time' affected strongly the quality of students' essays and summaries. This kind of concept is easily adaptable into various themes in the field of materials at any level of education. Using video lectures makes it possible to use this kind of concept also at international co-operation even though the students would not meet face-to-face which was found to be fruitful at our course set-up.