“Tools for master’s thesis”: making the most of a diverse learning environment

Virpi Palmgren, Kirsi Heino


The paper presents a practical approach to use a diverse learning environment to train students in the final stage of their studies. The students are extremely motivated when they are preparing their master’s thesis and their information literacy skills are really tested.

The aim has been to achieve master’s theses of good quality. Therefore a course for handling the master’s thesis process was required. The planning of the course started from knowing that professors and supervisors should not use their valuable time for teaching such basic skills as writing, citing and information searching to their students. There was a demand for a course to work on a master’s thesis because there have not been any master’s thesis seminars so far. The students writing their master’s thesis do not have so many opportunities to meet with others in the same phase. The students are often quite alone with their final project.

The course “Tools for master’s thesis” has been in the study programme since spring 2008. The course has been planned in co-operation with the Teaching and Learning Development Unit which has created an excellent chance to share pedagogical ideas. The methods that have been used at the course in addition to the lectures given by respective experts are group work, reflection, learning diary, fellow support, concept mapping and individual guiding in information searching. The course is organised every half semester, four times a year because there are students all year long and there have been more students coming than could have been taken into the course.

This course is a continuation to the bachelor’s seminars and it is developed continuously according to the needs of the students and the supervisors. The course will be widened into a master’s thesis seminar during spring 2010.

In the discussion new ideas to develop the information literacy part of the course “Tools for master’s thesis” would be greatly appreciated.

The authors describe the work conducted at Helsinki University of Technology during 2008-2009. On 1st January the university was merged into the new Aalto University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15845/noril.v3i1.136

Copyright (c) 2011 Virpi Palmgren, Kirsi Heino

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ISSN: 1890-5900