The Finnish Virtual University has launched a comprehensive training program for Finland's university-level teachers.
How this practice supports access In 2000, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Finnish Virtual University launched a comprehensive, university system-wide in-service training program in higher education pedagogy for all of Finland's university-level teachers in each of its educational institutes. The program consists of two main components: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Pedagogy Training, and Information Technology Strategic Planning. The aim of the program is that every teacher will achieve, by the end of 2004, level I basic skills; half of the teachers will have level II skills; and about 10% will have level III skills. Level I training is offered locally at universities and consists of basic ICT skills that every teacher should have, including:
Level II skills consists of Level I skills, plus:
Level III skills consist of Level I and II skills plus special skills, including:
Project implementation has revealed that, more than training in ICT pedagogy is needed, an additional focus on strategic planning and thinking at the institute level, including a focus on leadership and pedagogy support services in institutes, is needed.
Since the start of the program two years ago (2000), the program has made significant progress in reaching its stated goals. For example, at the University of Helsinki, approximately 15% (200 out of 3000) teachers took 4-month long IT training courses during 2001. Every university has done an ICT-strategy plan during 2002. 60% of all primary and secondary schools and about 60% of all Polytechnic institutes, have done ICT-strategy plan during 2002.
High - As a very large scale project, for which the Finnish Ministry of Education has devoted significant resources to this overall project - see http://www.minedu.fi/julkaisut/information/englishU/3/5.html for more details.
Reference: Education, Training, and Research in the Information Society: A National Strategy for 2000-2004 Finnish Ministry of Education, 1999. URL: see below
What's most impressive to me about this project is its comprehensive scale for a country of 5 million -- imagine a similar project involving higher education faculty in a comparably-sized US state (e.g., Maryland or Minnesota). -- js