Aarhus University, Denmark: Master Degree in ICT and Learning

pental2

[For further information on the programmes offered by Aarhus University see: www.au.dk/en]

Aarhus University offers continuing education programmes aimed at developing qualifications that meet the needs of the science community as well as public and private companies. These programmes are financed via a combination of student fees and government grants.

Here is a quick view of programmes offered by Aarhus University:

    Master's Degrees: Master's degrees are aimed at adults who are active in the business community, and who have both previous continuing education and relevant business experience. The degree programmes are planned so that students can combine their studies with their jobs. Degrees are undertaken on a part-times basis and take 2 or 2 1 / 2 years.

    Diploma Degrees: Diploma degrees are part-time study programmes of higher education for adults who are active in the business community, and who have relevant business experience. The degree programmes are therefore planned so that students can combine their studies with their jobs. Degrees are undertaken on a part-times basis and take approximately 3 years.

    Part-time Studies: Aarhus University offers individual part-time study programmes. A number of subsidiary subjects, supplementary subjects and single subjects are also offered.

    Part-time studies are most often planned as distant learning, with weekend seminars or evening classes. Admission requirements are the same as those for admission to full-time studies.

    Single-subject Daytime Courses: Courses during daytime at the Aarhus University are vacant positions at courses offered by a department during a term. Students attend the courses and take the examinations on equal terms with full-time students.

Both Master degrees and diploma degrees in continuing education have been part of the Adult Education Law since 2000, aimed at widening access to education for students that haven't taken the ordinary route through the educational system. Prior relevant work is a requirement to enter these degree studies.

Furthermore, Aarhus University offers tailor-made courses organised for companies or institutions and are fully financed by these.

The Adult Education Law from 2000 is of special interest as an example of how to create alternative educational routes to higher education in order to widen participation. With relevant prior working experiences (two years) and a part-time education (half speed: 60 ECTS over two years), students are able to reach a level similar to a BA via a Diploma degree (delivered by University Colleges) and a MA via a Professional Master degree (delivered by universities). These degrees are especially aimed at combining relevant working experience with theoretical reflection. The target group is basically mature students (25+).

The openness in these offers is related to the interpretation of relevant working experience.
Otherwise, the Danish educational system is regulated and requires the same entrance qualifications for all formal education—lifelong learning as well as ordinary full-time studies.

The Master degree programme in ICT and Learning is one of the most successful master programmes in Denmark under the Adult Education Law. It is a two-year, part-time masters programme with two semesters per year. Although not recommended, it is possible to complete the programme as a full-time student in one year.

It is offered to students who already have a bachelor's degree and who have at least 2 years of working experience in a relevant field. The course is organised partly as a distance-learning course where online collaboration between students is an essential part of the curriculum, and partly as a face-to-face course with 2 seminars (Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon) per semester.

The programme is categorised as formal learning and offers full degree accreditation for successful completion of the education.

 

The Master in ICT and Learning degree programme is a postgraduate programme for students to gain a theoretical, analytical, methodological and design-related competence in the relationship between ICT and Learning.

It teaches students to develop, implement and evaluate ICT-supported learning processes in different contexts.

How the programme is delivered

The programme contains a combination of courses (first and third semester in the 2-year model) and project-based work (second and fourth semester).

The teaching is performed by highly qualified lecturers and professors from one of the five participating institutions. In addition, guest lecturers from Danish and foreign educational institutions, as well as representatives from the business world, contribute.

The programme is delivered partly over a virtual platform that allows for online collaboration and dialogue and partly through face-to-face seminars (2 per semester) arranged throughout the programme.

Reasons for success

The programme up-grades students from a BA-level to a MA-level based on their working experience and dependent of their former education. At the same time, the system is used to provide additional education within a new area to persons who already have an academic education. In these ways, the programme fulfills a societal need.

    This program meets the following needs:

    • a need for updating qualifications in ICT and Learning at MA level

    • a need for time/space convenience

    • a need for synchronous and asynchronous learning

    • a need for retrieving learning materials asynchronously and for communicating and interacting asynchronously

    • a need for combining personalised learning with collaborative project-based work.

The MIL Programme is funded by government grants as well as students fees. Read about the funding

 

What makes the Master Degree in ICT and Learning different and worthy of interest:

This is the most successful Danish master programme offered within the alternative adult educational system (introduced in Denmark in 2001 in order to increase the educational level through lifelong learning).

The graduate students who enter this programme are looking to develop their careers as educators, human resource developers, e-learning curriculum developers and it-administrators at institutional level.

Market Relations

An important determinant in the planning of the course, has been to ensure alignment with current impacts and trends in education.

A market analysis initiated at the start of the strategic planning phase was undertaken and presented to a national accreditation board (including recommendations from labour unions, public and private employers) in order to be approved.

The universities involved have endeavoured to offer a flexible, student-centred learning offer, comprised of quality distance learning education and face-to-face teaching, in an environment that is conducive to learning, interaction and meta-reflection.

Productions and Delivery

Key partnerships that leverage synergies between 5 educational institutions have been established not only to develop a framework that facilitates delivery to a targeted national niche market, but also has enabled the universities to attract a sufficient number of students throughout the whole of Denmark in order to run an economical break-even operation. The number of students enrolled per year has been between 45-60.

The key partners are:
Aalborg University, Aarhus University, Copenhagen Business School, The Danish University of Education (since 2007 merged with Aarhus University) and Roskilde University.

The online learning platform serves as a tool for working adults with a need for scheduling flexibility. It also lends itself to the proliferation of a learning model that seeks to share professional competence and values, promotes critical thinking and problem solving, and facilitates collaborative learning in groups.

The programme has managed exceedingly well to maintain a high level of online activity and especially interactivity among its students.

A high degree of interaction is one of the requirements of the programme and online activity in the initial phases of the programme is stewarded by course teachers.

Asynchronous tools such as threaded discussions allow course participants to participate in discussions in their own time. Synchronous meetings are also required of students within their groups on a regular basis.

Face-to-face learning gives the students a chance to meet and to develop stronger bonds. It also gives the students an opportunity to meet the lecturers.

Leveraging the dynamics of learning in online communities

The programme is based on a social constructive approach to learning. The dynamics of this approach leverages learning experiences through interaction in an online community of inquiry, encouraging students to reflect creatively, to develop a common sense of direction and indeed a strong sense of community.

The programme has leveraged the value that is created in online student communities through knowledge sharing activities online.

Knowledge is produced and applied by students in an interactive knowledge sharing platform that, under the auspices of a lecturer (knowledge steward), fosters the development of students' networking and learning skills.

Students are encouraged to reflect creatively. Indeed it is a given, that meta-reflection precedes involvement in any online interactive environment.

The conversion of knowledge about the specific domain into visible accessible knowledge resources is an ever-evolving process that is given time to develop.

 

This Example of Implementation is referred to through relevant business model keywords in other parts of this site.

eadtu

lll