Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Happy TAMK graduates in the United Arab Emirates

Graduation ceremony at HCT.

There were twenty three very satisfied and happy TAMK graduates at the ceremony held at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in April. The graduates of the 21st Century Educators program had just completed three modules of online teacher education and were awarded a Post Graduate Certificate by the Finnish Ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Ilkka-Pekka Similä.

The graduates all work as teachers in the United Arab Emirates and although they all have good knowledge of their subject area content, most had never undertaken any formal teacher education. The TAMK 21st Century Educators program filled that gap with modules in pedagogy for the 21st century, appropriate use of educational technology and authentic assessment for learning.

The participants were all enthusiastic and positive about their experiences while studying. As Ms. Manal Eman, a business teacher said, “Taking the course was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experience I have ever had. I devoted loads of time to complete all the tasks, projects and blogs required for each module. I came to work with great people in team work. Personally I have benefited a lot from the well-combined program for both my postgraduate studies and professional work.”

Ms. Manal Eman receiving her diploma from Mr. Ilkka-Pekka Sipilä.

After the ceremony, the participants took part in the concurrent ELearning conference where they presented and showcased the projects they had completed during the program.

Dr. Dean Sheetz, the MBA Program Coordinator for the HCT had this to say: “Many people entering a classroom for the first time as teachers underestimate the challenges inherent in teaching well. The experience is difficult enough for those who have gone through teacher training but is doubly so for those with nothing to guide them but their own past experiences as students. The combination of teaching theory with teaching practice in this course was a real help to our content teachers; making them more comfortable in their role as teachers and opening up a whole new world of possibilities for them in helping students to learn.”

Mark Curcher, the director of the program was delighted at how well the program had been received and the amazing enthusiasm and development of the graduates.

Participants of the first 21st Century Educators program.

The ceremony also stimulated a lot of interest for the program among participants in the concurrent Elearning conference and several have already signed up for the second cohort of the 21st Century Educators program, which will start in September 2013.

Article by Mark Curcher
Pictures by Sean Dowling 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Spring visit to Denmark

Munke Mose campus
Landbrugsvej campus
In April, two of TAMK's study secretaries, Mervi Tikkanen, study secretary of DP in Hotel and Restaurant Management and DP in Service Management, and Satu Kelhä, study secretary of DP in Construction Engineering and DP in Construction Site Management, visited Lillebaelt Academy in Odense, Denmark. The visit was an Erasmus Staff exchange period to one of TAMK's partner universities. Mervi and Satu spent a week from April 8 to April 12 at the university and during the staff exchange, they visited three campuses of Nonnebakken, Munke Mose and Landbrugsvej.
Nonnebakken campus
Here are some of their pictures and words about the visit, reported by Satu Kelhä.

"When spending a week in Odense, we were given the opportunity to tell a little bit about TAMK and Tampere to the Danish and International students."
Mervi Tikkanen presenting TAMK

"As a part of Erasmus exchange, we met our colleagues to discuss about our professions and daily tasks. at Landbrugsvej campus the Head of Department of Service, Hospitality and Tourism Mangement, Lone Iversen, who gave us a thorough and informative presentation of the programme."

Lone Iversen (left) and Satu Kelhä

The enigmatic picture consists of cake decorations!

"We were very pleased to meet our Danish colleagues; in the picture below there are secretaries from the Nonnebakke campus. We discussed the routines of our daily work, but grandchildren, gardening and hobbies also were among the topics of discussion."

"We totally missed the beautiful main entrance to Munke Mose, and lost our guide Peter John Andersen as well. It was easy to guess, however, where to go for help – to the study secretaries’ office. Peter John Andersen gave us an interesting guided tour around in the Construction Department, and Tanja and Signe, study secretaries, offered us a nice cup of coffee with a chat. "


"We were told (to our surprise) that today’s children do not always know who HC Andersen is. To me his stories are an essential part of my childhood, and Little Mermaid was one of my favourites. "

At the end, these beautiful pictures from Odense welcome other TAMK staff members to participate an Erasmus staff exchange in Denmark. We hope to welcome colleagues from Odense to visit us in the future!

Text: Satu Kelhä
edit by Noora Kahra
Pictures: Satu Kelhä

Thursday, 13 June 2013

DIGISOMEMAR IP 2013 - an EXCELLENT experience!

IP and some fun, Alexander from the Netherlands and Alexandros from Greece
When I saw the IP Finland announcement I was like… Here we go…Application, approval, all done and ready to go. Fly to Helsinki, and boom, temp goes 20 degrees down from Greece. But I was expecting that wasn’t I? Helsinki is a great city, full of colour and character, even in cloudy days, imagine the sunny ones! Time runs out fast so get on the train to Tampere and after two hours, in Tampere we are! 

Dr. Agata Maccarrone-Eaglen from Salford Business School, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Sieck from HTW Berlin and students in a presentation
After a proper sleep and breakfast the DIGISOMEMAR IP starts! Put together by the overactive – ever moving – always there – always on time [sharply] Pirkko Varis, Senior Lecturer in Marketing & International Coordinator from TAMK University of Applied Sciences, DIGISOMEMAR IP as its abbreviation suggests, is focused on digital, social and mobile media in marketing, internet and IT applications & management of M- and E-business.



In truth it is all this and much more as, besides a sniff of digital marketing, you get the chance to meet people from different cultures, get along with them, work with them, share your thoughts, argue, agree, disagree and finally, just to break the ice, throw a proper party!

Some activities between the presentations

The IP is mainly conducted in a small town called Virrat and the participants stay in a nearby beautiful place called Lomasaari. As you would expect, it is built in a traditional Finnish style, every house has a sauna and, of course, you are surrounded by immersive landscapes that mostly consist of forests and lakes.

Prof. Dr. Christian Reimann, FH Dortmund students, Prof. Dr. Uwe Grossmann and the bear

To the core of the programme now, as a student, or a lecturer you will have to present, cooperate and discuss several times during the programme. What makes the difference is that because of the multicultural character of the programme you will find yourself in the unique position of trying to solve problems by communicating in English with people from at least two different countries every time.
Team building activities - making a fire and cooking

Team building activities - making a fire and cooking

But the IP is not just about work. You see, after dinner things tend to go partying very fast… No matter the place. Indoors, outdoors, house, Pub 66… same thing, makes no difference, doesn’t matter.

Relaxing in hot water
Multicultural environment is present again. Be it karaoke, be it conversation, dancing, taking a picture, lighting a fire, barbecuing, hot tubing, swimming in the frozen or not frozen lake etc. You don’t judge, you are not judged, you just act, just enjoy, just taking the experience. And that is the great thing.
Pirkko awarding the team from IT Tralee of the best student presentation

Pirkko and happy Iittala team members with a glass product

In total, DIGISOMEMAR IP is an excellent experience. You develop socially, culturally, academically. Also, utilising IP in your CV is a good idea and gives you a great advantage for internships and jobs abroad. Lastly, you will meet exciting people, be friends with them and you will never forget your days in Finland.

Text: Alexandros Keramidas, a student and a person who has participated in two other IPs, T.E.I. of Larissa, Greece
Photos: Christian Reimann, FH Dortmund; Pirkko Varis, TAMK University of Applied Sciences

Information about the IP:
DIGISOMEMAR IP - Digital, social and mobile media in marketing, internet and IT applications & management of M- and E-business was organized 14-25 April 2013. The coordinator of the IP was Pirkko Varis from TAMK Virrat. 16 universities and university of applied sciences from Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, UK and Finland participated in LLP Erasmus Intensive Programme. More than 80 students and staff members altogether joined the IP. The IP included presentations, workshops and visits. In addition, assignments from the companies Iittala and Hyvölän Talo were done by several student teams, who gave proposals for marketing communications, web site design and social media to be used in international marketing. Students lived in wooden houses at a lake in Virrat and could enjoy special sauna, lake and other experiences of Finnish culture.