Upgrading Teachers’ Competences Together with the Industry
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The working life relevance is constantly mentioned in relation to higher education. Higher education institutes are expected to provide education that answer to the competence requirements of the working life. Answering these changing and growing competence requirements need active cooperation between institutes and the working life. Furthermore, the development of the education requires that teachers have a possibility to update and widen their proficiencies. Lifelong learning is emphasized while society is in ongoing chance. Once learned competences and skills go out of date. New structures to support lifelong learning are needed. Especially for teachers this is essential; they have to know and master the skills and practices relevant in the working life. The school of Telecommunication and e-Business in the Turku University of Applied Sciences has active network in the region. Many R&D projects are running all the time, our students have their work placements guided by our teachers and the curricula are designed together with the industry. Still, the above mentioned challenges are relevant and additional questions can be raised: Is the content of our education right? Do we really know the practices and processes of the working life, and how could we support teachers’ competence upgrading? Furthermore, as a CDIO partner we are committed to develop our education as described in the initiative. One of the supporting standards focuses on personnel skills. All this was the starting point for a development project aiming at upgrading teachers’ competences together with the industry. During this project 23 teachers worked in the industry for three months. The main goal was to upgrade teachers’ knowledge of the working life practices and processes. This will reflect in teaching and our practices as well. During the three-month period teachers had the opportunity to really explain and show what we do and can. In addition, new R&D project ideas were expected. The results of the project are promising. The periods have influenced the content of the courses, new teaching methods are introduced and materials are renewed. We have more guest lecturers and more courses together with the industry. Finally, new R&D projects are planned and started.