Digital Education For All: Better Students Through Open Doors?

Nea Pirttinen, Juho Leinonen, Kjell Lemström

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The Digital Education For All project (DEFA) is a joint collaboration of five universities to open first-year computer science courses online and for free to audiences outside of universities. Additionally, students who complete enough courses through the project can apply for a study right at any of the participating universities.

Completing university courses as a method of applying for a study right measures students' motivation over a long period of time, and gives the students a clear idea of the content they will encounter during their studies, whereas a traditional entrance exam measures competence only at a single point in time. While high school grades, another typical intake mechanism besides entrance exams, measure generic study skills, course-based intake mechanisms may help with student retention, as students express and gain interest in the field while completing the required courses.

This study is a preliminary examination of the student intake of the DEFA project in the University of Helsinki, one of the participating universities, and a comparison of how the students accepted through the project perform in studies compared to students accepted through other intake mechanisms. Students wishing to apply for a study right through this intake are expected to complete one regular study year's worth of first-year computer science and mathematics courses in approximately one calendar year.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE 2021 - Proceedings of the 26th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-8214-4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Virtual, Online, Paderborn, Germany
Duration: 26 Jun 20211 Jul 2021
Conference number: 26


ConferenceAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleITiCSE
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital Education For All: Better Students Through Open Doors?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this