On the Way to the Degree Programme of Bioproduct Technology: Case Working with Projects

Leena Hauhio, Taru Suneli

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


    A new degree programme, the Degree Programme of Bioproduct Technology, will start at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology (formerly known as Helsinki University of Technology, TKK) in autumn 2010. The new degree programme will substitute the Degree Programme of Forest Products Technology. The Degree Programme of Bioproduct Technology will aim at providing the students with basic knowledge on natural resources and their sustainable utilisation, as well as principles of the basic natural sciences, material science, chemical engineering of bio-based materials, and a novel usage of biomass. In the new degree programme, the yearly intake of the students is less than in the old programme. That has increased the possibility to introduce various teaching methods to better activate and motivate smaller student groups. In addition, it has been tentatively planned that the Degree Programme of Bioproduct Technology will utilize the project oriented approach in its teaching from the first year studies. The aim of this study was to examine the Degree Programme of Bioproduct Technology's professors' capabilities and willingness for using project-based learning as a teaching method. In addition to the professors, students' thoughts about project-based learning were also collected. Altogether 12 professors were interviewed. The interviews were carried out as semi-structured interviews based on four main themes: the starting point: knowledge and experiences about project-based learning, attitude, capabilities and resources. Students' comments were collected with group interviews. Based on the results, project-based learning in general was found to be a good teaching method both according to the professors and the students interviewed. However, there is an obvious lack of teaching resources and more teaching staff would be needed in order to use project-based learning as a teaching method in a larger extent. Furthermore, research groups, which conduct the teaching, get their funding mainly from their research activities. Therefore the funding system is not currently encouraging towards teaching development and use of activating teaching methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationJoint International IGIP-SEFI Annual Conference, Trnava, Slovakia, September 19-22, 2010
    Place of PublicationBrussels, Belgium
    PublisherSEFI - European Society For Engineering Education
    ISBN (Print)978-2-87352-003-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication


    • Attitudes
    • Higher Engineering Education
    • Project-based Learning


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