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You use a dozen different mobile applications, but making a functional Excel worksheet seems like an impossible task. You can easily find streaming services for American TV series, but finding the route to online science journals seems like an insurmountable challenge. The media hypes the thriving gaming industry, but your role in game stores is only that of a client. Does this sound familiar?

In a recent issue of Yliopisto (2/17), Lecturer in Information and Communication Technology Ari Myllyviita bemoans how the concept of the digital native is misdirecting the educational world. People who have spent their childhood and youth in the Internet era do not necessarily have particularly good ICT skills. Conscious effort is needed to teach digital skills in basic and upper secondary education if we wish to see these skills develop.

As long as this is not taken care of, the problem will be visible in universities too. Trends such as digital humanism and anything utilising big data will never reach their full potential if students are not at a sufficient starting level.

Fortunately, the problem has been noticed. This year, the University of Helsinki launched the digital leap project. Degree programmes taking part in the project have promising plans for using new digital teaching aids. These include the utilisation of mixed reality technologies, practising corporate software engineering and algorithms that automatically revise coursework.

Paradoxically, there is a simultaneous excess and lack of digital platforms. Chair of HYY’s Board Laura Luoto raised the issue in her keynote speech in the Learning Adventure event: Students might have to search for information related to a course from WebOodi, Moodle, the websites of the faculty and the degree programme, email, a separate course website, the University’s wiki platform, Opinder and Flamma. Additionally, students use unofficial platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups formed by the students themselves. As data related to students is opening, commercial actors are entering the markets.

Director Jaakko Kurhila from the Open University has called digitalisation a smoke screen that can be used to develop teaching as a whole. Electronic platforms promote problem-based learning, peer learning and the flipped classroom approach in which the central tasks and materials are available to students before face-to-face teaching occurs. In an ideal situation, students do not use mobile phones to snapping pics during lectures – instead, they use mobile applications related to the lecture.

At the same time, existing electronic basic services must be developed and new ones sought by testing new innovations and more functional electronic teaching methods. Projects and monetary funding might advance the cutting edge, but changing the entire culture requires work and enthusiasm on the grassroots level.

It is the students’ task to convince the teaching staff that electronic platforms ease their workload and improve learning results even if their initial implementation might require teachers to step out of their comfort zone momentarily. For instance, the electronic exam room and its flexible times for taking exams make it easier for students with a family to complete courses. At the same time, the electronic exam room lessens the workload of the unit as the need for traditional paper exams decreases and improves the availability of course books as everyone completing the course is not hoarding the same book at the same time just before the faculty exam.

The University of Helsinki was once again ranked among the top one hundred universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings. The University must aim to become a top university in terms of teaching too. A successful digital leap might make this a reality.

Heikki Isotalo
Specialist in educational policy

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) is looking for a producer to join our ranks full-time and permanently.

We aim to fill the position as soon as possible, with work beginning on 24 April 2017 at the latest.

Do you enjoy producing events? Excellent – our members crave for them. Is brainstorming new event concepts your favourite pastime? Awesome – you will get to do a lot of that. Are you the person who quickly takes charge of an idea, drives it forward and maintains control of all aspects of it? Perfect – that is exactly who we need.

We are looking for a producer, and you are the person we want if you are enthusiastic and can inspire others, are open-minded and can navigate different situations. We also hope that you are bold and have the courage to take on new things and roll up your sleeves when the situation calls for it. You get to manage HYY’s event production, including the largest freshman event in Finland, the Freshman Adventure, and plan and implement the HYY150 Anniversary year. You will also be responsible for communications and marketing aimed at committing students as parts of HYY’s community.

We are:
A student union serving around 27,000 students of the University of Helsinki
An efficient, active and passionate work community, consisting of, among others, 8 specialists and 12 members of the Board who are students themselves

We expect you to have:
Good communication skills, particularly knowledge of content production and social media
A vision for developing community communications
Excellent skills in Finnish, good skills in English and Swedish are considered as advantages
Experience of event production
Good project management skills and the ability to handle pressure
Excellent teamwork skills and the desire to develop in project leadership
Higher education studies

You will get:
A salary that is in accordance with the student unions’ collective agreement (€2,270.85/month) with potential bonuses for education and experience as well as a lunch benefit
Flexible working hours and opportunities for remote work
Opportunities for education and development
A relaxed and fun work community

Send us a free-form application letter with a maximum length of one page. In your application letter, please state what makes you a good producer and why you are the person we are looking for. Please attach you CV too. Send the application with its attachments to hallinto@hyy.fi with ‘Tuottaja’ as the subject.
The application period ends on Thursday 30 March at noon. Interviews are held on 3 April and 5 April, with the selection being made by Friday 7 April.

For further information, please contact Jannica Aalto (0400 816 426). You can learn about HYY’s events at hyy.helsinki.fi/en/students/culture-events.

In its activities, HYY emphasises diversity and equality. We hope to receive as many applications as possible from people with diverse backgrounds.

HYY allocates grants for new study projects organised by students. The project can, for example, develop study methods, apply theory to practice or advance students' professional competence. The grant cannot be allocated retroactively.

Throughout the years, grants for innovative learning projects have been given to projects such as a soap manufacturing workshop run by nutritional science students, a saddle course by students of veterinary medicine, workshop activities in an international environmental seminar and an art exhibition study group by humanists.

The total amount of the allocated grant is 5,000 euros (approx. 100–900 euros per project). When allocating the grant, the initiative and learning methods that encourage students to be active are taken into account. The projects that have received the grant can be presented in HYY communications as good examples.  The study projects must be as open as possible to anyone interested in taking part.

The grant is not allocated for the following purposes: 

•    Travel or catering expenses 

•    Facility expenses, with the exception of specially equipped facilities, which cannot be received free of charge 

•    Printing of publications, unless decided otherwise based on the application

•    Master's thesis projects 

•    Such basic education, which is primarily the responsibility of the department

•    Remuneration or salaries

•    Continuous/regular activities

The person in charge of the project is committed to report about the implementation of the project after its completion.

The grant can be applied by a form which opens 16th of March. You can fill the application form here

Please check the information before submitting the form! Information cannot be edited later so you should consider the required information before filling the form. You can draft your application with a word processing program and then copy it into the form. 

The last day to apply is 6th of April. Late applications will not be considered.

All applicants will be informed about the allocation of the grants during May.

For further information, please contact Member of the Board Minna Silvennoinen, minna.silvennoinen@hyy.fi, 050 325 9175.

My friend is a candidate in the municipal elections. She recently had a talk with a passer-by who had never voted in municipal elections – but still voted in what she considered important elections, such as presidential elections.

This phenomenon can be generalised. Voter turnout in the previous municipal elections was 57.4% in Helsinki, whereas in the presidential elections, a significantly larger proportion of the population, 72.8%, voted.

Despite this, the decisions made locally are the ones that really matter in everyday life. As long as my president is not an orange, bullshitting reality TV character, it does not really matter who sits on the presidential throne. By contrast, decisions made on the municipal level directly influence my everyday life: how much money I have left after housing costs and how many minutes out of my day I need to use for moving from point A to point B.

The youth are lost

Who are the people who do not vote? According to a report by the Finnish Youth Research Society (2011), young people in particular have suffered from a decrease in their motivation to vote. The younger generation in the 1980s were substantially more active voters than young people now. If you do not vote when you are young, you rarely vote when you are older either.

Generally, people tend to vote for candidates who are similar to themselves. People with a family and service sector workers both vote for people like themselves, as do motorists and culture enthusiasts. This does not, however, hold true for young voters. The report found that young people vote for familiar names and experienced politicians. In other words, students do not necessarily vote for students. In the previous municipal elections, I have voted for a person with a doctorate who has been in the parliament for several terms. Despite this person’s ability, their initiatives have not been particularly significant for my own life.

Now I am faced with the following question: who would vote for students if not students themselves?

Middle-aged politics

I do not mean to say that decision-makers of different age and different situations in life would not consider factors that influence students’ lives too. However, issues such as the construction of more student housing might not be high up on the list of priorities for a politician whose average group of voters consists of well-off middle-aged people.

The following sarcasm-dripping verses were sang by Varaque as early as 2003, translated here from the Finnish original: ‘Middle-aged people take care of your affairs/Surely they know how to do their job/All these wretched things are just real politics, you know’. Do not wait for middle-aged people* to take care of your affairs. Vote for a student with your best interests at heart. Vote for a friend as so does everyone else!

You can learn about candidates running in the municipal elections who are also HYY’s members here.

*With ‘middle-aged’ I am here referring to the mental aspects of some decision-makers, not to their chronological age.

The writer is a member of HYY’s Board, a staunch urbanist and a farmer’s daughter.

Elli Saari

Elli Saari
Member of Board

The Student Union’s Board held the two companies’ shareholders’ meetings on 9 March, choosing the members of the boards for the 1 April 2017–31 March 2018 term.

Mikko Myllys continues as the Chairman of HYY Group’s Board, while Jaakko Hietala, Tarja Pääkkönen, Reima Rytsölä and Erkka Valkila continue as assessors on the Board. Antti Kähkönen and Aarni Suvitie continue as a student member on the board, while Susanna Jokimies, Pilvi Nummelin and Anna-Maija Riekkinen have been appointed as new student members.

Daniel Sazonov continues as the Chair of the Board at Ylioppilaslehden kustannus Oy. Anssi Mykkänen continues as a Member of the Board and Harri Saukkomaa as a specialist. Noora Eilola, Joni Hauhia and Timo Jääskeläinen were chosen as new student members.

This year, the members of the boards were chosen using an application-based model. In this model, the importance of the applicants’ background in representative council groups was reduced, and more weight was given on their competence.

For more information, please contact Member of the Board Hanna-Maria Häkkilä, tel. 050 595 0327, hanna-maria.hakkila@hyy.fi