The relationship between education and industry helps students entering real work life and gaining professional knowledge. Through cooperation, firms earn novelty knowledge and a fresh approach to doing business. LAB University of Applied Sciences has digital tools to support this relationship to produce the most efficient results. Nevertheless, improving the quality of interaction with the industry and reinforcing its recognition in the region are some of LUT Group’s strategic goals. This article observes some of the dynamics in collaborative projects and identifies some steps that teachers can take to foster cooperation between students and companies.
Authors: Erika Bottacci & Tarja Keski-Mattinen
Some of the success factors in the cooperation between education and industry are the services that the education institution provides to students, the project coordination, and the interest of students to be involved in real-life projects (Haddara & Skanes 2007, 73-74). Student motivation in a project is affected by numerous variables such as previous experience, teammates, competencies, and attitude. Students working on a project produce results that may not be spendable in real business life, this limits teamwork efficiency and hinders further opportunities.
Accessing solutions that can be applied to the working life would motivate companies to continue their relationship with the educational institution.
Inspiring managers to maintain active cooperation with education translates into more project opportunities for students. It gives them more chances to put into practice their knowledge and gain insights into work practices. For these reasons, education provides are considering how to enhance capabilities. For example, with proper use of the available services, to create environments for students to interact and cooperate. (Aversa 2020, 11-14.)
For students, being motivated to succeed is a determinant for delivering good results. However, in the school environment, teachers do not have enough means to acknowledge the background of students. Like understanding students’ determination to be successful or their attitude towards the subject and other students.
Usually, students enrol in the course without having clear ideas about the project, goals, and expectations. If these students are not willing to participate actively in the teamwork, they will affect the work of others. Therefore, if the goal of teachers and project coordinators is to deliver innovative solutions to collaborating companies, it is essential to perform a first screening of the best candidates to participate in a project.
Adopting JobTeaser as a first step to improve the promotion of collaborative projects at LAB University of Applied Sciences
Selecting students according to their background may be complicated especially when teachers and coordinators have limited time and resources to do so. But the current technology allows a first screen and filtering of the best candidates to participate in a project. For instance, LAB adopts a technology that helps students connect with companies. The technology in question is called JobTeaser, a portal of career services used by LUT Group. On this platform, students learn about opportunities for employment, internships, thesis collaborations, and seminars (Image 1).
Image 1. JobTeaser dashboard (Screenshot: Erika Bottacci)
Students and companies create their profiles, set search criteria (Image 2), and connect through a matchmaking algorithm. (JobTeaser 2018.) The same tool can be adopted by teachers to promote their projects. The matchmaking functions can help students to find projects and courses available according to their search criteria. Targeting the promotion to the right audience is the first step to improve student participation in learning activities, nevertheless projects’ outcomes. JobTeaser is a suitable tool to support students and help them build a personalized study path. Using such a platform can also support tutor teachers and school counsellors to save time and resources when helping students at planning their curriculum.
Image 2. Search criteria for students (Screenshot: Erika Bottacci)
Even if there is potential in the adoption of JobTeaser, there are also some limitations in its use. First, the platform is unfamiliar among teachers at LAB. Moreover, the application is not owned by LAB, but by an external owner. This reduces the possibility of changing data fields to suit better to teachers’ needs (Image 3). Data on JobTeaser cannot be transferred to other sources and repositories outside of the JobTeaser environment. This limits the integration of the platform with the current educational information system in use and the freedom of data collection. Finally, users on JobTeasers are responsible for the reliability of the data they upload, if users do not keep their profile and information up to date, this may reduce the long-term efficiency of the system. (Bottacci 2021, 21-22.)
Image 3. Search for events (Screenshot: Erika Bottacci)
Employing technology and be in line with new global trends
COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inefficiencies of societies and organizations. The education sector is not an exception. Thanks to technology, students and teachers could carry their activities with minor disruptions. Technology allowed inclusion and equity. It demonstrates that in the future learning can be better diversified and tailored to each student. For example, an adaptive learning system can tackle students’ digital footprint and interaction, providing them with immediate support. The same systems also help teachers instructing students and providing them personalized learning content that responds to their performance. Teachers can account for students’ background information, such as learning levels, personality, attitude, communication style, and so forth. Adaptive technologies reinforce lessons and can fill content gaps among students. These systems, if well implemented, can be cost-effective, and improve the quality of education. However, they require an open dialogue among policymakers. (Wilichowski & Cobo, 2021.)
Internet technologies are changing human behaviour radically. These transformations manifest through human interaction and affect the way how people communicate, work, and learn. (Cheok et al. 2017, 1.) Integrating the technologies available is essential to improve the processes and deliver a personalized learning experience. Education institutions must account for the new generational needs and dynamics and provide an education that is in line with what industry and society require in the future.
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Bottacci , E. 2021. Improving the outcomes of collaborative projects through automated team design. Case: LAB University of Applied Sciences. Bachelor’s thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti. [Cited 20 May 2021]. Available at: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2021052611290
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Erika Bottacci is a graduating business IT student at LAB university of applied sciences.
Tarja Keski-Mattinen is a Senior Lecturer of Business Information Technology at LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Illustration: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1433463 (CC0)
Reference to this article
Bottacci, E. & Keski-Mattinen, T. 2021. The cooperation between education and industry is centred on students. LAB Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: https://www.labopen.fi/lab-pro/the-cooperation-between-education-and-industry-is-centred-on-students/