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Presentation

MA eLearning Programme for Art Teachers

University of Art and Design Helsinki
School of Art Education
http://virta2.uiah.fi

The main pedagogical principles

* the training is especially aimed at art teachers without formal qualifications who work in outlying, sparsely settled regions; the graduates from the scheme will mainly find positions in the schools where they have previously worked

* the studies are based on the student’s former artistic and/or pedagogical training and teaching experience; a personal study plan is drawn up for each student

* an opportunity to study alongside teaching work; many of the study modules are constructed to have a basis in applying subject matter in the student’s own teaching work and in sharing experiences

* the objective of developing Web-based teaching methods suitable to art education and professional training in visual and applied arts

* part of the studies are organized in association with different universities with the goals of reinforcing a network of experts in the field and of developing an education in art at teacher training colleges.

The mission of Virt@

There is a shortage of teachers with formal qualifications in Finland’s comprehensive and senior secondary schools. This problem is especially faced in outlying regions but also in small and middle-sized towns. Depending on their locality, children and young people in Finland are thus on a very unequal footing with regard to educational services in arts subjects.

The Virt@ scheme is explicitly aimed at art teachers working in outlying regions and lacking formal qualifications. The goal of the scheme is to raise the standard of art teaching in Finland and to decrease educational inequality among children and young people.

The role of the Virt@ in the School of Art Education

The purpose of the training scheme is to support the development of methods applicable to long-distance, multi-form and Web-based studies for the needs of art teaching. This is not only a question of developing alternative teaching and study methods or networked learning environments, but also a comprehensive reform of models of operation. The objective is also to produce information of more general use and relevance in solving training issues in the field of the arts.

The organization of studies

The Virt@ II training programme is arranged by the School of Art E ducation at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and it is implemented during the period 2004-2007. The training proceeds as a project of several stages, in which the students can complete the degree of Master of Arts in 2-3 years. Most of the students in the scheme will graduate in the spring of 2007.

There were about 260 applicants for the scheme, of whom 60 were selected as students on the basis of applications, submitted portfolios and an entrance examination. The students were divided into five groups of 12 according to the contact teaching facilities and their places of residence.

The studies are based on the students’ former artistic and/or pedagogical education and teaching experience in the field. A personal study plan is drawn up for each student. Because the training is organized in the form of long-distance and multi-form studies, it can be carried out alongside one’s own teaching work. In fact, many of the study periods are based on the application and testing of the subject matter in the student’s own teaching work and on sharing experiences in a networked environment.

Teaching in the Virt@ training scheme is closely linked to the basic activities of the School of Art Education at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Approximately two-thirds of the full-time faculty members and researchers participate in the implementation of the courses. The re-thinking of one’s own teaching work and shaping it to a Web-based environment requires time and support.

The tutoring of students

The students are divided into five groups, each of which has two faculty tutors, one of whom is a lecturer in art didactics at the contact teaching facility of the group and the other is a professionally experienced art teacher working in the field. It is the task of the tutors to guide and support students and to serve as the organizers and contact persons of the local teaching courses.

The Virt@ programme arranged in collaboration

Part of the training in the Virt@ scheme is organized in collaboration with the teacher training units of the faculties of pedagogy at five Finnish universities. The partners in the scheme are the Hämeenlinna Teacher Training College at the University of Tampere, the Teacher Training College at the University of Jyväskylä, the Teacher Training College at the University of Joensuu, the Kajaani Teacher Training College at the University of Oulu and the Vaasa Teacher Training College at Åbo Akademi University (Pedagogiska fakulteten i Vasa). Cooperation is based on separate agreements with each university.

The purpose of collaboration is to support the achievement of the pedagogical goals settled for the Virt@ training scheme. Cooperation also entails the objective to reinforce the network of experts engaged in training teachers. Cooperation seeks to support and to develop teaching the visual arts in the university teacher-training units. The initial experiences of collaboration have been highly encouraging.

There has also been cooperation with Finland’s other art teacher training unit. The Art Education Unit at the University of Lapland has produced study modules for the Virt@.

Experiences of the first Virt@ programme

Experiences of the Virt@ I programme (2001-2004) were predominantly very positive and encouraging. The students were highly motivated and devoted their efforts to study. Web-based teaching and study were new for most students and faculty members. Combining work and study entailed problems and the development of suitable Web-based teaching methods required time and work. Nonetheless, both students and faculty have responded to the first Virt@ programme with positive feedback.

Virt@ II 2004-2007

The School of Art Education launched a new training scheme immediately after the Virt@ I ended. Virt@ II will be carried out in the years 2004-2007.

There still will be a shortage of qualified teachers in Finland. As growing numbers of teachers will go into retirement in the second half of the 2010s, the situation appears to be deteriorating even more. Moreover, the new training programme supports the continuity of development work and provides an opportunity to develop further the Web-pedagogical ideas and concepts that have evolved during the first training stage.

Curriculum for academic years 2004-2007

A. Subject studies

68 cr

A.1 Compulsory studies

41 cr

 Art courses

14 cr

• Drawing and painting
• Life model drawing
• Sculpture
• Colour

4 cr
4 cr
4 cr
2 cr

Knowledge of art

13 cr

• Visual design and analysis
• Museum pedagogy and study of art
• Art history I
• Art history II
• Finnish Art history

2 cr
2 cr
3cr
3cr
3cr

Theory of art education

14 cr

Artist-teachers Portfolio
• Art education seminar
• History of art education
• Research of art education

3 cr
5 cr
2 cr
4 cr

 

A.2 Alternative studies

19 cr

Media pedagogy *) minimum of

11 cr

• Media pedagogy
• Photography
• Film and video
• courses proposed by student

4 cr
3 cr
4 cr
cr

Environment pedagogy *)minimum of

8 cr

• Environment education and
Community art
• Design pedagogy
• courses proposed by student


5 cr
3 cr
cr

 

A.3 Personal major studies minimum of (optional) *)

 8 cr

• courses proposed by student

cr

*) Other possible courses: a student may include to his/her MA-studies corresponding courses from other universities or educational establishments. The courses will be accepted on request.

 

B. Dissertation and seminar

22 cr

• Dissertation seminar
• Dissertation

2 cr
20cr

 

C. Language studies

8 cr

• Mother tongue (Finnish/Swedish)
• The second official language (F/S)
• Foreign language 4 cr

2 cr
2 cr
4 cr

D. Pedagogy studies for teachers

35 cr

• Basics of education and pedagogy *)
• Art didactics *)
• Teaching practice *)

cr
cr
cr

*) Teacher-training colleges of cooperative universities are responsible for the pedagogy studies.

 

E. Compensation of former education and teacher experience

47 cr

 

A student’s former studies or examinations and teaching experience are included a part of the MA degree studies as 47 cr compensation.

 

contact persons

Martti Raevaara
Education Manager
martti.raevaara@uiah.fi

Eeva-Liisa Ekenberg
Project Assistant
ekenberg@uiah.fi

 

 

 

 

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