“In contemporary society, there are no fields in which you wouldn’t need digital skills. To be able to train digitally skilled employees for the future, we need digitally skilled teachers and trainers at all educational levels from early childhood education to adult education,” says Leena Hiltunen, a university teacher of educational technology from the Faculty of Information Technology.
The University of Jyväskylä is participating in the international European Short Learning Programme -project. The Open University is coordinating one of the four pilots that develop online training in digital skills for teaching and education professionals.
The new online training is being coordinated by the Open University and the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Jyväskylä and will be piloted in three partner universities.
“After completing study units that progress gradually, students will manage essential digital skills and be able to use them in their work,” Leena Hiltunen says.
“In the pilot phase, English language online courses will be implemented in the University of Jyväskylä’s Moodle. The education is arranged as part of an international collaboration and offers an excellent chance for internationalisation. The online courses will be opened in autumn 2020 for all who are interested in developing their digital skills and virtual exchange,” says International Coordinator Päivi Kananen from the Open University.
“After completing study units that progress gradually, students will manage essential digital skills and be able to use them in their work”
Digital skills are citizen skills – you can learn and teach them
“The aim of the pilot project is to improve the adults’ opportunities for education by offering them alternatives to traditional degree studies. At the same time, the aim is to react to the educational requirements of the world of work”, says project coordinator university teacher Virpi Uotinen from the Open University.
The contents and implementation of the online courses have utilised the European Commission’s European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu). The courses start from the basics and progress to more demanding skills. You can determine a suitable starting level using the Check In tool.
There is currently a lot of variation in digital skills in the field of education and teaching. Some students and teachers are still practicing basic skills such as creating presentations or using email, while some are on the leading edge and use gamifying methods and online communities in education.
“If the target is to learn online interaction, it must be practised in authentic practical situations. Online learning is learning together,” says Leena Hiltunen.
“The study units make it possible to get to know new people from all over Europe. You can get an international experience from your own couch at home”
Internationality from your couch
Courses that are completed online develop your digital competence, online learning skills, self-guidance and intercultural communication skills. The studies also enable virtual exchange and internationalisation at home, which are highlighted in the new curriculum.
“It may be challenging for adult learners to fit an international exchange period in their life situation. The study units make it possible to get to know new people from all over Europe. You can get an international experience from your own couch at home,” says Leena Hiltunen.
“The online courses are designed so that after the pilot phase even an extensive number of students can pursue them simultaneously. One goal of the project’s development work is to produce a model for building educational products in international collaboration,” Päivi Kananen says.
“Cooperation between four universities to develop the online courses has been genuine, enthusiastic and instructive,” says Virpi Uotinen. “Facing different cultures, universities and experts to realise a common goal has enrichened our thinking and brought new perspectives to our work at the University of Jyväskylä, which is strongly becoming more international.”
The “Digital Competent Educators” theme consists of 3 five-credit online courses that will be included in the curriculum of the Faculty of Information Technology. The planning of the pilot utilises the DigCompEdu framework published by the European Commission.
The project is funded by Erasmus+ and, in addition to JYU, includes three universities that offer remote instruction: FernUniversität in Hagen from Germany, Anadolu University from Turkey and Universidade Aberta from Portugal. The pilot project is part of the larger European Short Learning Programme Project (E-SLP) coordinated by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU).
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