Education, Research

The driving forces in professional higher education

October 12, 2013


Over the week of September 9-13, more than 2.300 researchers from 66 countries met in Istanbul to share and discuss their educational research, findings, new thoughts and arguments. Current and future challenges to education and to our societies in Europe were reflected. Higher education, with its links to research and innovation, plays a crucial role in personal development and economic growth, providing competent and highly qualified professionals who contribute to developing prosperity and sustainability.

Teachers’ and students’ contributions to knowledge development in the workplace was a focus of my interest during the conference. Linking education and research is a challenging process.  Teachers’ and researchers’ competences and their contacts with organizations in working life is crucial.  The academic staff has a role as teachers as well as knowledge developers. These roles are often perceived as conflicting instead of being integrated. Arenas for formal and informal meetings as well as a viewing students as future colleagues and experts are required to succeed in the integrative approach in the education-structured study processes. Another important question is search strategies skills for academic purposes.  According to a study presented at the conference the frequency of internet usage is drastically higher, compared to other resources as scientific databases to search for academic information among students.  In higher education there is not enough efforts made to develop the procedure of obtaining, treating, evaluating and communicating the information located online. Examples mentioned were massive use of general search engines. The problem related to excessive googlization (to ‘google’ in every context), infoxication troubles (information overload) as well as academic plagiarism and the generation of knowledge was questioned.

The importance of the collective approach to learning, which is also highlighted in Arcada’s educational policy, received much support. Likewise, the group supervision model for supervision of student thesis, which we presented at the conference, was seen as a possibility for supporting a research-based education focusing on solving and finding new solutions to practical problems in working life .