This is Outi Kortekangas-Savolainen, Head of the Centre for Medical Education at the University of Turku, Finland admiring the lego blocks we use as time sheets in our office to record our work with schools.
Capturing and measuring the value of what we do as a service is a challenge for all those that work in educational development. Our work is primarily about facilitating others to succeed and therefore our activity is inevitably intangible and difficult to quantify. Professor Quinsee explored this issue and our creative approaches to tackling it in the LDC in this 2011 SEDA publication: http://www.seda.ac.uk/resources/files/publications_125_Educational%20Developments%2012%202.pdf
Inspired by this article, while on a benchmarking trip to UCL, Outi made a pilgrimage to our office specifically to view how we use lego and adopt this activity in her own university. The lego simply enables the LDC team to record the face-to-face time we spend with school staff and categorise the nature of this work.
Tom Sanderson then turns this information into statistics. Consequently we have a non-onerous, tactile, visual method of recording some of the work we do. These combine with other KPIs, feedback as well as this blog to form a range of methods to raise awareness of the work we do.
Outi was also interested to see some of our flexible learning spaces. Together we explored the differing height furniture, squiggle glass, pods and node chairs available to our staff and students in College Building.
It was also an opportunity for me to learn something about Finland. Higher education is still free to students and paid for through high taxes. The official languages in Finland are both Finnish and Swedish. 7% of the population are Swedish speaking. A number of exciting developments are being implemented at the University of Turku such as using MOOC lectures to give students access to nobel prize winning speakers from Harvard and providing students with Mac computers. At the University of Helsinki the lecture is now called the ‘solo’, the small group is ‘chamber music’ and when students come together with iPads and other devices, this is the ‘symphony’.
We look forward to seeing photos of Outi’s lego timesheets!