The annual ICT Summer School was once again held on August (6.-24.8.) at Metropolia UAS, Leppävaara campus. In total 250 students from 30 countries attended the courses with great enthusiasm to enhance their knowledge on different areas of information and communication technology, as well as to expand their personal networks internationally and to explore Finland.
This august the 24th ICT Summer School had 16 course implementations and around 450 enrolled students.
“It is a truly international summer school, since not only are the teachers coming from Europe, Asia, and Americas, but also the students are coming practically from all over the world. This gives an unique opportunity to meet and network with new people from different cultures and form lifetime friendships”, praises the Head of ICT Summer School Antti Piironen, who is running the operations now for the second year.
ICT Summer School is offering intensive courses on ICT and other fields. The courses are mostly on introductory undergraduate level, which means that practically anyone with real interest into the topics are welcome to attend. Most of the courses are one week long including 20 contact hours and class- and home exercises.
Thinking Outside the Box
Hyunji Bae (22) is from South Korea and her majors are tourism, and English language and literature. She found the announcement of Metropolia´s ICT Summer School on her school´s (Kyungpook National University) website and got excited right away. She was interested in two courses; Thinking Outside the Box and International communication, which unfortunately was cancelled eventually.
“Especially Thinking Outside the Box was really interesting, but at the same time I wondered if perhaps it could be too hard for me. I had this prejudice, because it is known that the European education system is much more creative than Asian one, so for us (people from Asia), we tend to think that our education system is so boring. Like this A is B and that´s it. Hence I was worried am I creative enough, but I thought it would be so great if I could develop it here”, Bae says.
And she did. Bae describes the course as being conversational, fun and crazy. “It boosted my imagination. I was able to see how I was developing in thinking differently. So it was enjoyable and all worth it. I laughed a lot during the class. I really would like to recommend this school to my home university students. It´s a great chance to travel Europe and study at the same time”, Bae tells.
Bae´s classmate Silja Kario (23) who studies her second year the Industrial Management bachelor degree programme at Metropolia is also glad about the Thinking Outside the Box course, since it´s not particularly for the ICT students.
“I applied because I liked the way the course was so different. Not so much logic based or following old customs in thinking as it is usually the case in my field of study”, Kario says. Besides the content of the course, Kario has enjoyed the multinational experience of it and has made some new friends.
Both students give the lecturer good grades. Kario also recommends the school to her student colleagues, however she hopes that in future there would be more courses and especially the kind of courses as the Thinking Outside the Box is, which are not so much ICT oriented. She says in engineer degree programme studies there is rather little any creative side involved, thus it´s very useful to compensate that aspect at the Summer School.
“I will be definitely looking forward to the next ICT Summer School”, Kario says.
Visiting lecturers come around the world
ICT Summer School has been organized in Metropolia Leppävaara campus by ICT Degree Programme since 1995. Originally it was founded as to give ICT degree students an opportunity to learn professional topics outside of their curriculum and to begin the studies a few weeks in advance before the regular study season starts.
“August is an excellent time for most of our partner school professors to pay us a visit, since their regular classes have not started yet. We just combined the needs of the students with the opportunity provided by our partners, and the rest is history”, Antti Piironen says.
This year, the ICT Summer School had 21 lecturers coming from seven countries. The course topics are depending on availability and the interest of the visiting professors. The schedule framework, teaching premises and the overall management are provided by Leppävaara campus, and the visiting professor brings his/her favourite course as an intensive implementation.
“Some professors have been visiting us several consecutive years with varying, fresh topics on embedded engineering and some visitors have come here only once”, Piironen says.
A Great Team Spirit Encourages Students and Teachers Alike to Excel Themselves
One of the lecturers this year was Dr. Hiroyuki Aoki, who is from National Institute of Technology, Tokyo College. Dr. Aoki´s first visit to ICT Summer School as a lecturer was in 2011. In Tokyo Dr. Aoki teaches applied mathematics at the department of electronic engineering. In general he has taught 25 years in total.
“Finland and Japan have got some similarities in engineering and education. So, the collaboration between Metropolia UAS and National Institute of Technology, Tokyo College is a good match”, Aoki explains in English with a quite strong Japanese accent.
“In Japan we don´t have classes taught in English, so for me teaching the multinational group of students in English is a challenge and a great opportunity to brush up my language and teaching skills”, Aoki says.
Due to his challenges with the English language Dr. Aoki has had to focus on finding the easiest ways in teaching, so that students will understand him. He says this has improved his teaching skills significantly.
“I think the attitude of all the summer students is very good here. They are very supportive”, Dr. Aoki adds.
He is not alone with his experience of positive interaction. As it has turned out by Bae and Kario, Docent André Suidman´s course Thinking Outside the Box has been a popular one. Mr. Suidman thinks the ICT Summer School has received a very positive feedback from the students and it has been a very rewarding experience for him as well.
“If students come to tell me they really learned something and I see that they are really having fun in making their presentations, that´s the best reward you can get. Some student even said it changed his life. Well, that´s a little bit too much”, Suidman laughs.
Mr. Suidman is from Holland. He has a Master´s degree in philosophy and has worked in ICT most of his life. However he started teaching fairly recently, five years ago.
“I´ve done this course several times in Holland, but this is my first time I´ve done this course internationally”, Suidman says and continues.
“Two main reasons why I came here are I wanted to see how it goes with different cultures by using different languages. I also wanted to be inspired by the environment and to be challenged. This takes me outside my box, my comfort zone and it forces me to do teaching differently. It´s fun to do. I´ve gotten inspired and I´ve learned a lot about myself”.
So why anyone should consider applying to ICT Summer School?
“It´s always nice just to be out of your regular environment and in a different setting. Also it is very valuable to learn something new and to meet other people. The attention you get from teachers who are willing to come here to do it for no extra money is a special thing. There´s no extra pay, so the teachers are very motivated”, Suidman spurs.
To apply or not to apply? Apply of course!
Well, how much does it cost? Only open university students must pay the nominal registration fee. However, Metropolia degree students, incoming exchange students, 3UAS students, and international partner school students can take these courses without any fees.
Metropolia students can sign up to the courses directly at Oma (Metropolia´s intranet) from mid-May until the course begins. 3UAS students are able to sign up by using a separate enrolment link, which is published on April to May. Incoming exchange students will enroll to the courses on their study contract. The enrollment instructions for the open university students are on the Metropolia website, under Open studies.
Principal Lecturer, Smart Systems Engineering
Head of ICT Summer School
Antti.Piironen metropolia fi
Article by Simo Ruuskanen
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