“Jobitti Online Summer Studies 2020” promoted studies in Biomedicine by taking advantage of the third semester

The spring and summer 2020 have been exceptional in many ways. Many students lost their summer jobs and learning moved almost entirely in digital environments. For teachers it has meant digital jump, which has been quite overloading for many teachers at different degrees of education.

We “Jobitti teachers” have been excited! In the Jobitti project, funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, we have developed online education for biosciences, biomedicine, pharma studies and bioinnovation since 2018. Although being a topical issue since beginning, developing online courses has never been as motivating as this year!

Discussion about the third semester at the Universities has been quite hot during last years. Summer studies could speed up the graduation of students, or on the other hand, provide meaningful doing for those who couldn´t get summer job. We at Jobitti decided to get down to the business this year when many students probably lost their possibilities to work at laboratories, and therefore, urgently needed credits for student allowance. In online courses, it is also possible to work during days and study in the evenings, and thus, foster the studies. In addition to master students, many of our students were post-graduated doctoral candidates. Previous experience has shown that for doctoral students online courses are very practical and popular, because they are independent on time and space.

Jobitti online summer studies were carried out in collaboration with University of Turku and Eastern Finland. However, students were accepted also from other Universities. The summer studies consisted of three specific courses (Genome-wide bioinformatics, Bioimage informatics 2 and Quantification of histopathology by using image analysis) and common studies including orientation in the beginning and teamwork in the end. Students could select one, two or all three of those courses, giving 5, 9 or 13 ECTS, respectively.

In total 33 students finalized the summer studies. Of those, 19 were from the University of Turku, 12 from the University of Eastern Finland and 2 from other universities.

The most interesting, but also challenging part of the summer studies was the final group work. The students were divided into 7 groups, each containing participants from different courses. The idea was to prepare together a study plan and finally present it for other students and for teachers. The study plan should combine techniques from different courses, and thus, students were supposed to share their specific knowledge gained during the summer. Group working and final presentations were implemented in the Microsoft Teams platform by group video calls and chats, sharing documents and seminars together with all the students and teachers.

From the teachers´ point of view, group working went rather smoothly. Students were allowed to organize the job and perform the group work quite freely, though some tutoring was needed in the beginning. Teachers were ready to answer to any questions, and to comment, if the work was not progressing or was at risk to go into wrong direction. Actually, we think that in high quality online courses the teachers can concentrate on being available for students and giving feedback. That’s why it is important to produce the material and instructions in detail beforehand, which Jobitti project has enabled. The quality of content and online pedagogics in Jobitti courses have been verified by peer-review process together with teachers from collaboration universities.

Feedback collected from the students was very positive, yet constructive suggestions for the future were also given. As one of the students wrote “Overall positive experience, would recommend to other students if interested in the topics!”

After all, Jobitti online summer studies 2020 was a new and exciting experience for both the teachers and students. There were altogether seven teachers in the courses sharing out the workload of producing online material and running the courses. We feel that the teachers have learnt at least as much as the students have during this summer. We all had also time to spend some well-deserved summer holidays! Thus, let´s utilize the third semester for summer studies also in the future!

Anni Wärri
Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, 
Docent of Cancer Biology,
Project Manager & Coordinator

+358 50 530 1821

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