On Tuesday 26th September, an international group of university experts participating in the DigiGeo Erasmus+ project had an opportunity to visit Regional Council of Southwest Finland open data team. The visit was part of the full-week program of the project, where experts from Palacký University Olomouc (Czechia), Technische Universität Wien (Austria), Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway) and University of Turku gathered together to share good practices of transferring contact, technology- and field-based geoscience education to digital form.
During the visit, Digigeo -team heard how public organizations have built in collaboration an open spatial data infrastructure (SDI) for Southwest Finland and how this hub of knowledgeable people, accessible data, open source tools and different community-driven events has catalyzed new ideas and open data services, and at the same time acted as a place for learning digital skills for university students and graduates.
Earlier during the day, University of Turku and their geospatial experts from the Department of Geography and Geology had shared their digital, online and open source teaching and learning solutions related to students’ technical and applied skills in digital geospatial data curation and open source SDIs. Visiting the Regional Council at the end of the day was a great practical experience for all the visitors, as it showed how important Lounaistieto community and connection between the universities, other public bodies and private sector actors are, when creating digital competences of the students for the future.
“During the last few years, we have had a turmoil in our teaching and learning practices at universities globally. Covid-19 pandemic made us certainly more equipped with various online learning tools, but it also challenged us to rethink what constitutes a good digital learning environment in geosciences”, says professor Niina Käyhkö from University of Turku.
DigiGeo (2021 – 2023) project is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Through sharing knowledge and experiences between the partner universities the project collects existing good practices and innovates new ways for online, digital and/or virtual geosciences education. In practice this is achieved through the main project activities: technology and bets practices workshops in each university, as now hosted by University of Turku, and blended mobility (summer schools) for university students.
The project aims to give the partner universities and the wider audience in- and outside of the academia new ways of thinking about how to organize geospatial teaching in the digital era. For University of Turku and Lounaistieto the project can create new ideas on how the future SDI and digital data experts are trained together with both face-to-face and online solutions. For the results and more info, visit the DigiGeo -project website through this link.
Writers and additional information:
University Teacher (Geography) Vesa Arki vesa.arki(ät)utu.fi
Professor (Geography) Niina Käyhkö firstname.lastname@example.org