Concrete results help understand workload of studies

UniHow is a system with a variety of research instruments at its disposal. UniHow automatically generates a feedback response to everyone who participates in a survey. It provides a summary concerning the degree programmes which can then be used to support the development of teaching.

HowULearn is a research instrument focusing on the students’ study experiences on a degree programme level. HowULearn surveys have been used in many University of Helsinki courses. One of the matters that has come to light is that students are lacking in organisational skills.

–  From the point of view of university pedagogy this is definitely a good thing, says Chiara Lombardini, Director of the Environmental and Food Economics Degree Programme.

–  It seems that students are lacking in organisational skills – this was according to a survey conducted among first year students during last autumn term, Lombardini reveals.

UniHow – diagnostic tool also for teachers

According to Chiara Lombardini, UniHow is most notably a diagnostic tool:

– We receive data concerning students’ wellbeing and approach to learning. UniHow is a useful tool because the results reveal what would be the best way to support students’ learning and wellbeing

Students receive personal feedback from the UniHow system after they have responded to a survey. In addition, the data the system provides can also be discussed on a wider level.

– We share the overall results with the students and reflect together on how study methods could be amended, Lombardini says. According to her, the students’ UniHow results have been introduced also to the university study counsellors and the degree programme committee to be used in the development of study guidance.

HowULearn surveys measure how committed the students are to their studies, their belief in their own capabilities, experiences in the study environment, study fatigue, general capacities to enter work life and work experience during studies. The university of Helsinki plans to include HowULearn surveys as a part of course completion for an increasing number of courses.

–We have modified the next term curriculum to include a HowULearn questionnaire as a compulsory part of course completion requirements. This will help improve the response rate, Lombardini says.

Development status
During the spring, the focus of the software development has been in user roles and improvement of survey summaries. Both wide as well as more limited access to survey results are currently under development. The aim is to be able to provide suitable access for everyone in an organisation working in development of teaching. Descriptions have been added to summaries to support comprehending and using the results.