Sunday, June 13, 2010

PL 24/10: Lessons from Korpo

Filed under: education — plinius @ 10:14 am

I was encouraged by the intensive four day Summer School the LATINA team just conducted in Korpo, Finland.

This blog post has also been published in a Pecha Kucha version (20 slides)

The aim of LATINA, I would say, is to design change-oriented learning and teaching events that are based on present material and social conditions. We want to change the way institutions teach – by teaching in a different way.

On the digital side, present means that we take the web, portable computers, social software, free cloud computing and open educational resources for granted. On the social side it means to embrace variety: inviting people at different levels – and with different needs and backgrounds – to participate in the same learning environment.

The latter depends on the former. It is the digital resources that make it possible to work with such a varied group of participants. Possible is not the same as easy, however.


LATINA depends on a high level of student activity. Participants must actually participate. We ask our participants

  • to discuss, to question and to respond
  • to write and to make comments
  • to create their own contributions to the web – through words and pictures, sound and video.

LATINA is not lecture based. Since we take the web for granted, we ut all our information on the web, where everybody can study it. We find that mini-lectures – lasting five or ten minutes – may be useful. But letting a teacher or a scholar talk for long periods of time has little point in a web-oriented environment.


The final day kicked off with a mega-session of mini case studies, again new for this year.

Jane Finnis and I had been asked to chair the session and between us we had come up with a way to hopefully make 9 presentations, each of 7 minutes in length, exciting. Presented as a ‘social media circus’, each speaker was introduced with a theme song related to the topic of their paper, and each played a circus character. It seemed to work well and keep a buzz and a pace throughout the long session.

Short report on museums and the web 2010 Denver


Academic teaching and conferences are still using the lecture as its main teaching format.

The lecture was developed for a pre-digital world. It predates even Gutenberg. In the LATINA courses we try – to the best of our ability – to create learning environments that utilize the web for more effective teaching. That does not mean a steady diet of PowerPoint presentations.

Our conditions have changed with the web. Lectures can be replaced by other formats. Class time, we believe, is better used for demonstrations, practical instructions, individual and group exercises, presentations of student work – and lots of focused discussions.

People read faster than they talk. With a comment button, everybody can respond simultaneously. Brief question-and-answer periods in the auditorium can be replaced by written conversations.

As teachers we can produce taped lectures if there is a real demand for such presentations. But we need not perform the lectures over and over again – in front of more or less attentive audiences. That belongs to the previous century.

People learn more by creating knowledge for themselves than by receiving it from others. The professional competence of teachers and librarians is an embodied practice: contextual rather than textual, clinical rather than theoretical.


  • Course Programme
  • Evaluation by participants
    • The evaluation questions were chosen by the participants – and implemented in Google Forms
  • The LATINA principles. An informal platform. (= PL 54/08).
    • The teaching team from Oslo University College consisted of Helge Høivik, Lars Egeland, Aslak Ormestad, Morten Reksten and Tord Høivik.

Infolit 2010



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