Student feedback discussion with HAMK rectors culminated on Friday, November 30 at Hämeenlinna with School of Technology’s (TEOS) student feedback. TEOS is the biggest school at HAMK, so lots of feedback was given on Friday. The challenge with School of Technology is that there are many different degree programmes with different special needs and wishes.
TEOS students gave both praise and criticism about study modules. Students hoped for better scheduling, more communication amongst teaching staff and clearer path towards degree. These topics are common to all student feedback discussions. On the other hand, the idea of study module gets almost invariably excellent feedback and is considered much better than the old-fashioned course implementation.
The newest degree programme in the School of Technology is Bioeconomy, Information and Communication Technology, which started for the second time in Forssa this autumn. It was interesting to hear how the degree programme has developed after initial difficulties. Based on the feedback given, many things have gone forward, but there is still work to do. Since the degree is technology-based, students hoped for better orientation in technology. Professional software was also asked to replace free versions.
Each School raised concerns about the well-being of teachers. It is great that students and teachers are so close that the students take care of the well-being of teachers. However, it should not take resources from studying or weaken the level of teaching. Regrettably, the cuts in education are most likely to reflect the quality of teaching and cause lack of resources. In School of Technology, this can be seen, for example, as delays in evaluations, which in turn may directly affect the student's livelihood. HAMKO and other student unions in Finland have strongly opposed cuts in education, since they by no means are in the interests of students.
Unfortunately, I heard for the second time that some degree programmes don’t collect feedback almost at all from students. For example, module feedback is not collected at all or it is collected on paper forms. This autumn, the module feedback system has been standardized and there is one feedback survey covering all degree programmes in HAMK. There should be a link to this survey in all implementations in Moodle. If the link is not found, contact the module's Responsible Teacher or the Head of Degree Programme. Degree programme -specific student feedback discussions should also be a continuous practice in all HAMK degree programmes. It is inequitable and unfair that some students have the appropriate opportunity to influence their own education and some don’t get that chance at all.
Head of Degree programme Lassi Martikainen promised changes to education on the basis of the given feedback:
"Thanks for the feedback. I will briefly give you feedback on this feedback right away. You told me that evaluations do not come on time in all of the degree programmes and some teachers do not respond to emails or phone calls. This is wrong and there will be a change, I promise it. We can not change the length of the study modules, but we can organize the modules better so there is more time for learning. I am a little confused about the feedback on cooperation with working life. There are some differences between degree programmes, but cooperation with working life has been dramatically increased in TEOS.
I acknowledge the problems in internationalization in part and there is a need to increase internationality, but on the other hand, there are already plenty of exchange opportunities. Nonetheless, very few students go to the exchange, so I also hope that the students will be more active in terms of internationalization. I am glad that the feedback on online studies is good, even if there has been some big challenges with them. The teaching of mathematics will be optimized according to the requirements of each degree programme. The main point in education is that students work as independently as possible but get the guidance they need. Thank you again for your good comments and your analytical and constructive feedback."
Finally, on behalf of the student union, and myself I would like to thank all the students who have acted as speakers of their classes and have given valuable feedback to HAMK rectors and heads of Schools. Next year, quality and feedback will be the responsibility of someone other than me in the student union. Warm thanks to all acquaintances I have made during these two years as a member of HAMKO’s board! I hope to meet you in the future, too!
Student Union HAMKO, quality and feedback