Monday, 11 August 2014

Omani students: Summer course full of experiences and edutainment


We had 33 Omani students and their teacher here at TAMK from 11th June to 13th July. This was already the third time for TAMK Extension Studies to arrange summer course for Omani students. The summer course included studies in business idea management, project skills, ideation techniques coaching, social media, marketing oneself, and future trends in business. The students came from different colleges of applied sciences and from different study fields, such as public relations, engineering, IT, and design. 


One of the tasks students were given during the course was to write a blog text about their stay here at TAMK and in Finland. Here are two blog texts that were nominated as the best ones:


Sultan giving a presentation on the final day of the studies


A Wonderful Edutainment Experience in Finland

Since the moment I received the good news from my college to visit Finland for study purpose, I was feeling extremely excited for it. I opened my PC immediately to check out some information about the city and the educational institution which I was going to be in couple of weeks. After seeing the amazing things the excitement reached its peak. It felt like one of my dreams coming true, and actually that’s true because I’ve been waiting for a similar chance for a long time and I finally got to visit a great country that I dreamt to spend time. Great Finland - I can say - has a very good reputation in my country because of its great industrial success in different fields. So, there is no doubt that most people in my home country dream to visit such a country.

When I arrived here, I felt like a newborn bird with all its energy to fly in the open and pure sky. Lovely weather, well maintained systems, very kind people, clean air and beautiful nature. All these elements helped me out to adapt easily to Finnish society. Then, I joined one of the greatest universities in Finland known as TAMK. In this university I’m experiencing really useful teaching methods so far. Interactive lesson, creative sessions, field visits and many other things have made me feel different and have strengthened up my attitudes towards studying. I became more enthusiastic toward studying and I`m feeling refreshed and being able to learn more and to gain unlimited knowledge. Although the subject which I’m studying in TAMK is irrelevant to my specialization, I really liked it and became interested in it in a short period of time, and undoubtedly that`s because of the amazing and different teaching methods. The teachers are applying ”learn through fun” method, of which effectiveness and efficiency has been proved world widely. So, I can say that this is their main secret which makes them unique and irresistible among others.

I’m still on the way, and there are only two weeks left to finish my program here, and I will try as hard as I can to use my time well and get benefit from all available materials and resources in this great campus and in this great country as well. Finally, from the bottom of my heart I say that ”I wish I could stay much longer in this incredible place, and I will definitely carry on this amazing experience to my home and tell others about it”.

Written by Sultan Al Saraai


All students gathered up to hear each team´s presentation.

My Time at TAMK

My name is Abdul Rahman Al Farsi. I’m 21 years old. I’m an Omani student, studying English Language and Literature at Rustaq College Of Applied Sciences (RCAS). I’m having a summer course at Tampere University of Applied Sciences otherwise known as TAMK, which is located in Finland. And I’ve got to say that so far it’s been a FANTASTIC experience, except the food part which I didn’t like very much. However, apart from the food everything else has been more than perfect for me: people, studies, shopping, nature, accommodation and the city itself.

- Why is TAMK different?


What’s even more interesting is the methods of teaching used in TAMK. A good variety of methods is found here from the classic way of teaching to the more current trends of teaching methods, and then to even more sophisticated but effective methods. At first, as a future English teacher I thought that such methods or approaches of teaching are just some kind of a theoretical talk that can only be found in books. It was maybe the teaching and learning environment in Oman that led to such a way of thinking of my part. However, it is not the case here in TAMK.

- That’s how it’s done!

For topics such as Business Idea Management, Project Skills, Ideation Techniques Coaching, How to Market Yourself and Future Trends in Business a traditional way of teaching would not be as effective as the communicative approach where authenticity is what really matters, where the students actually get to experience a simulation of a real life situations of which they are expected to be part of. An example of authenticity is a situation where a group of students is asked to create a business idea. Therefore, it`s more effective and long-lasting learning experience when it is carried out as a role play where the students act out and undertake different roles of an organization or a company, in which the responsibility is divided among individuals. The roles themselves depend on the business idea.

- Teacher’s and learner’s roles


The teacher in this case is more of a facilitator rather than a controller of the learning process, which is actually good in the sense that it gives the student a chance to be responsible for his/her own learning. This emphasis the fact that student-centered learning, which is adopted in TAMK, is, as the communicative approach suggests, more powerful and effective in enhancing the learning experience of the students. This was pretty clear in the final outcomes of our first week in TAMK where the Business Idea Projects were fabulous and very creative to the point I never thought can be reached by myself or one of my classmates. Fortunately I was wrong.

What’s even more interesting is the methods of teaching used in TAMK. A good variety of methods is found here from the classic way of teaching to the more current trends of teaching methods, and then to even more sophisticated but effective methods. At first, as a future English teacher I thought that such methods or approaches of teaching are just some kind of a theoretical talk that can only be found in books. It was maybe the teaching and learning environment in Oman that led to such a way of thinking of my part. However, it is not the case here in TAMK.

- What makes a unique learning experience?

There are three other points that might be a crucial factor of this unique and interesting teaching methodology at TAMK. The first one is team work. It is like the essence of learning here in TAMK. Almost everything is done in teams or pairs, however, team work skills, such as dividing the roles and taking leadership, are required . This leads to the part where we talk about the project management tools which help the project team or group to organize and update their work strategies. Team members are kept posted during the project period which in return is reflected on the quality of the outcome of the product. For me this is the first time to use tools such as Trello, Google Drive and many other interesting tools. The second point is the use of technology. Technology is an essential part of the learning process in TAMK where tutors try to adopt the latest and current trends of technology in their teaching methods. The third point is the learning aids and facilities that enhance the learning experience of the students and facilitate the learning in a way that helps to increase the creativity level in the learning outcomes. “You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow” (Source: Unknown).

- Conclusion

No wonder why Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world. Apart from the unique grading system in schools Finns started from the very basis of education in schools where assessment is only found to lead the students to the right way and to guide them and prepare them for the future. Finally, I am very grateful for this beautiful experience here at TAMK and I would like to thank those people who were in any way part of making it possible.

Written by Abdul Rahman Al Farsi

Introduction text and editing: Telma Rivinoja
Pictures:
Essi Kannelkoski

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