Author:
Andres Tennus

Recipients of awards in the field of teaching have been announced

Today, on 19 January, at the university's teaching conference, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Aune Valk presented the teaching awards and the teaching quality award of 2022.

The teaching award is given to recognise up to three activities that value effective collaboration, development and innovation in the university's degree studies and continuing education. The award aims to highlight individuals and teams who have achieved outstanding results in curriculum development, incl. developing traineeship, counselling, business cooperation and international cooperation, e-learning, continuing education and other teaching-related activities.

Teaching awards 2022 were given to the following projects.

  • Creation and teaching of the course “Managing your studies: a survival guide” for first-year students

(team: Reet Bender, Antonina Kostina, Jane Klavan, Katri Kütt, Janet Laidla, Riin Luks, Ave Matsin, Marko Mägi, Tiit Remm, Ain Riistan, Jorma Sarv, Kadri Steinbach, Tatjana Stepaništševa, Tiiu Tamm, Pire Teras, Hedi-Liis Toome, Uku Tooming and Anu Treikelder)

The course of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities aims to support students' successful coping at the university, the growth of self-awareness and planning of their study path and career so that the students feel part of the university. To this end, the team created a cartoon introducing the structure of bachelor's curricula and the student's options, and a worksheet for planning the study path. Special emphasis is on the development of general competencies. For example, to plan their careers, students interviewed alumni of their curriculum, analysed the options in their curriculum and planned their study paths. To develop their cooperation skills, they participated in different types of group work and went orienteering around the campus. Also, they learned how to plan their time and take care of their mental hygiene. The course is based on excellent cooperation between students, teaching staff, programme directors, alumni and partners outside the university. The course took place in the autumn semester of 2022/2023, with 323 students registered.

  • Creation of instructional videos on preventing academic fraud

(team: Joosep Heinsalu, Maris Neeno, Mariel Padar and Janek Saluse)

The production of the instructional videos aimed to raise awareness among students and university staff about the nature of academic fraud and the importance of avoiding it.

In a humorous but instructive way, the videos introduce the different forms of academic fraud (using unauthorised assistance and material, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, cheating and participating in another student's assessment) and draw attention to the possible consequences. The videos appeal to students and teaching staff from all faculties – to date, the videos have been viewed more than 5,000 times on the university's YouTube channel. International students have said that the quality of the videos is Netflix-worthy.

  • Creation and development of the assistant doctors' system

(team: Liisa Marie Kerner, Aana-Liisa Kaste, Renar Kihho, Marta Kohal, Taur Lillestik, Karmen Nigul, Martin Ojamaa, Anni-Britta Pajoma, Mariliis Pärn, Arne Vunk and Krislin Elis Varul)

An assistant doctor is a student who has completed the 4th year of the medical curriculum and has acquired the right to work in the healthcare system under the guidance and supervision of a doctor. Working as an assistant doctor allows medical students to practise medicine during their studies so that they can acquire, expand and consolidate knowledge and shape their careers. It broadens students' learning opportunities during their studies and is a natural step towards becoming a doctor.

A working group of the Estonian Medical Students' Association is developing the assistant doctors' system and thereby aiming to promote Estonian medicine. In cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, the Estonian Hospitals Association and the Estonian Family Doctors Association, the project seeks to achieve a supportive system ensuring a safe and learning-friendly environment for students and better and more professional care for patients.

The process of setting up the system also addresses the key concerns of the Estonian health care system: creating opportunities to acquire practical skills in addition to theoretical studies, motivating the future generations of doctors to stay in their home country or return after gaining experience abroad, and training and mentoring new assistant doctors while working as doctors.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Aune Valk is happy to see that all the winning projects are characterised by collaboration and sustainability. “The keywords are student initiative, involving them in the development of their studies and the acquisition of future skills. Thanks to these activities, many future students will enjoy more meaningful studies,” said Valk.

The recipients of the teaching award were selected from 17 candidates. Other commendable initiatives included novel teaching methodologies, innovative training courses for teachers, students and doctors, curriculum changes, etc. All members of the university could submit candidates. The Academic Affairs Committee selected the award recipients. In addition to the award winners, the Academic Affairs Committee also highlighted the creation of chemistry courses for basic and upper secondary school students, the conversion of a continuing education course on immunisation into a fully online course and the launch of a continuing education course on space for teachers. The teaching award comes with a cash prize of 5,000 euros.

The teaching quality award went to the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics of the Faculty of Science and Technology.

 

The award recognises the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics for three years of systematic and consistent work in the field of teaching quality. One of the cornerstones of the strategic plan created three years ago was curriculum development: the aim was to review all the institute's bachelor's and master's curricula, define learning pathways and modernise courses. The objective of creating and visualising learning pathways was to give students a comprehensive overview of learning opportunities. The strategic plan also sets out actions for further development.

Both staff and students of the institute are consistently involved in developing the quality of teaching. Teaching staff are encouraged to analyse their teaching and share good practices. The latter is particularly important for starting teaching staff, as well as for students who teach practical classes in many courses. To develop students' teaching skills, regular meetings are held to discuss what is being taught and make recommendations. Monthly staff meetings focus on issues concerning the quality of teaching. Annual off-site seminars give the staff an excellent opportunity to look back on the past year and make plans for the future.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Aune Valk is delighted with the very systematic, goal-oriented and multifaceted approach to developing the quality of teaching. “The development activities involve both the support and teaching staff, and the institute works as a true learning organisation by sharing experiences and learning from what colleagues have done. There is also a clear plan for the development of teaching quality this year and in the coming years,” said Valk.

The teaching quality award is given to recognise an institute, college or faculty of the university for activities supporting the quality of teaching that have been designed and implemented successfully and effectively in cooperation with the staff and students in the past three years. The teaching quality award comes with a cash prize of 30,000 euros.

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