THE OHO! PROJECT SUPPORTS STUDENTS
OHO! is a development project for promoting study ability, wellbeing and participation in higher education institutions in 2017–2019. It involves 11 higher education institutions and is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The starting point of OHO! is to create optimal conditions for studying and take care of students.
The OHO! project promotes students’ study ability and wellbeing by improving their participation in the study community. The project consist of three thematic entities:
GOOD START promotes the students’ attachment to their studies and the higher education community. It develops orientation training as well as peer and teacher tutoring. It also creates ways to connect working life themes to guidance right from the start of studies.
PEDAGOGY FOR WELLBEING develops community-based pedagogy with training series for teachers. In addition, it designs research-based meters and analytics tools for wellbeing, motivation, participation and study skills.
HIGHER EDUCATION FOR EVERYONE creates uniform accessibility criteria based on national surveys of accessibility in higher education institutions. Furthermore, the entity develops pedagogical tools to promote accessibility.
“SO THAT NOBODY IS LEFT ALONE”
Support OHO! has provided for students:
- Courses and material
- Online material for study orientation
- Find Your Career online course
- Personal Impact courses to support student wellbeing
- Shared training for students and teacher tutors
- Community-based pedagogy training for students and teachers
- Material on psychological methods for Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis seminars to support the research process
- University psychologists’ online services
- Self-assessment tools and surveys
- Academic Study Skills Map – a self-assessment tool and analytics service for measuring academic study skills
- Assessment and guidance tool for motivation to learn
- Agency of University Students (AUS) Scale – a self-assessment online tool
- Survey gauging students’ self-regulation skills and progress of studies
- AllWell? survey and individual feedback for students
- Tutor Steps – a student’s career model
Support OHO! has provided for teachers and student advisors:
- Education and training
- Online tools and training for teacher tutors
- Community-based pedagogy training
- Accessibility training
- Circular calendar planner for providing initial guidance
- Concept for a network of developer teachers
- Group guidance model for academic study skills
- Services and materials
- Agency analytics service to support pedagogy and guidance
- Psychological methods support package for Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis seminars
- Accessibility criteria and teaching mater
OHO!Project participated in the Peer Learning Activity in Brussels
EXAMPLES OF FINNISH PROJECTS SUPPORTING EQUALITY AND PARTICIPATION IN HE
ESOK – Inclusive Higher Education project ran between 2007 and 2011. It was first supported by the Ministry of Education and then continued as a voluntary network. The active project partners from higher education institutions and disability, student and expert organisations first met at Finland’s Design for All network meetings.
Since then, they have maintained their cooperation to advance equal study opportunities in higher education institutions. The members of the voluntary ESOK network have been active in online media and in their expert positions in national and international projects. The partners have sought to organize ESOK conferences every year to promote the development cooperation. The active partners’ participation in national and international projects, such as OHO! and DigiCampus, has brought resources for this work.
ESOK Project 2007–2011 in English
- Project poster: http://www.esok.fi/esok-hanke/esittely/esitteet/poster.pdf
- Project brochure: http://www.esok.fi/esok-hanke/esittely/esitteet/brochure.pdf/
ESOK key products
- Student admissions and advice on accessibility in education: Guides: Meeting the needs of Diverse Student Body in Higher Education
- Website for news on accessibility in education and project products, for example: Articles, interviews and other material in English
- Networked cooperation by higher education institutions, civil society organisations, expert organisations, accessibility projects and other partners that will continue as a voluntary network
- Participation in international cooperation to promote equal opportunities in higher education (for example, see below for Nordic cooperation)
- The ESOK network participates in the Nordic Network for Disability Coordinators (NNDC): https://www.universell.no/nordicnetwork/
- NNDC coordinates the Equity in Student Mobility in Nordic Higher Education (ESMHE): https://www.universell.no/nordicnetwork/equity-in-student-mobility-in-nordic-higher-education-esmhe/about-the-esmhe-project/ in which ESOK has been an active partner
- A project that ESOK initiated, the University of Jyväskylä coordinated and the Ministry of Education and Culture supported. The project produced training, self-study material and guidance for implementing digital accessibility in higher education institutions.
- A review of STIVI content is planned to take place soon in order to support the implementation of the Act on the Provision of Digital Services that transposed the Accessibility Directive into national legislation on 1 April 2019.
Article on good practices
For good practices in Finnish higher education from the perspective of all students, see Good practices for improving access, retention and success in Higher Education. Mäkela & Puupponen 2017. Pp. 41–55 (https://ddd.uab.cat/pub/llibres/2017/171121/A4A_BergConf_a2017.pdf)
- OHO! -podcast episode 1.
- Reading Ambassador Silva Mölsä tells about her learning difficulties and her studies.
- In English:
Summary of episode 1.
DIGICAMPUS – A SHARED DIGITAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, PEDAGOGY AND SERVICES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
DigiCampus is a 2018–2020 higher education development project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The project seeks to create a digital cloud learning environment for Finnish higher education institutions to support year-round study opportunities. The project will produce a pedagogical and digital model for providing support services and a quality indicator for the learning environment. It will also develop the physical and digital learning landscapes on campuses and the Exam service for examinations. The ESA subproject will ensure accessibility of the activities, environments and contents developed. DigiCampus is coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland and the ESA subproject by the University of Jyväskylä.
ESA (DigiCampus accessibility subproject)
ESA is one of the DigiCampus’s five subprojects. Focusing on accessibility, it helps create established and exemplary accessibility practices and models along with mechanisms for the continuous assessment of practices in DigiCampus. The materials and training produced within the project will be accessible to all higher education institutions.
Why is this relevant and timely?
Digital services and learning environments are rapidly becoming more widespread and varied. Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences are currently harmonising their study information systems (e.g. student admissions and study opportunities available). Many educational institutions share the same key digital learning environments. Studies indicate that digital learning environments not only create new flexible study opportunities, but also raise new kinds of barriers to learning and participation, unless they are designed to be accessible in the first place. Based on research and student feedback, digital services and environments are currently not accessible to all students.
Accessibility of digital environments is not only aesthetically important or desirable, but also a statutory duty. At the end of 2016, the European Parliament adopted the Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (such as higher education institutions and libraries) which the Member States had to bring into force in their national legislation by 23 September 2018. In Finland, the Act on the Provision of Digital Services will enter into force on 1 April 2019. For higher education institutes, this means much stricter accessibility standards.
When new electronic environments and services are developed and deployed, it is crucial to incorporate accessibility from the start. Practice has shown that this includes staff’s professional development needs. Even a relatively small technical or pedagogical solution can greatly improve the accessibility of learning environments and other facilities.
ESA subproject objectives
- Identify the key shared digital study services, systems and learning environments in higher education institutions and evaluate their accessibility using a range of testing methods (e.g. accessibility testing tools, diversity of students, and students and staff who use a range of assistive technologies).
- Develop technical and pedagogical solutions that will improve the accessibility of the identified and tested systems and learning environments.
- Identify and produce information to be included in the DigiCampus’s pedagogical support service for students and staff on practices, equipment, applications and accessibility tools that can facilitate study.
- Contribute to the development of a learning environment quality indicator for measuring the accessibility of environments.
- Provide (for the higher education institutions’ shared cloud service) technically and pedagogically exemplary accessibility training to support the professional skills of teaching, guidance and other staff in higher education (modelling accessibility).
The University of Jyväskylä coordinates the ESA subproject for partners Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) and Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK). The project partners work closely with the other higher education institutions participating in DigiCampus. Students contribute in many ways, for example by testing and evaluating existing or planned solutions. The ESA steering group monitors the progress of the subproject objectives. The project also covers cooperation between experts in various fields.
Tarja Ladonlahti, University of Jyväskylä
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 40 5767 754