Openness of teaching and thinking

Artificial intelligence is challenging traditional ways of learning and open learning materials are taking over from textbooks behind a paywall.

Writing tools based on artificial intelligence (AI) had hit the headlines by autumn 2022. AI can imitate theses and generate convincing sounding text. However, the most important thing for students is to be able to think for themselves and evaluate the trustworthiness of information retrieved. The evaluation of information sources, the ethical use of sources and openness lie at the core of Library work. Teaching and teaching support services provided by the Library remain in demand. We get to continuously challenge ourselves to find appropriate collaboration methods in the changing world.


Opening up educational resources

Open learning materials are increasingly important even though the majority of course material is still acquired for libraries. Course material acquisition is an established practice for which the Library has well-functioning practices. Support services for open educational resources rremain with no clear policies or practices yet in place. Although there are services compiling open educational resources, a great deal remains to be done with regard to their recognition and findability. For example, the national Library of Open Educational Resources (OER) has already been in use for a few years but does not carry many open learning materials produced at the University of Helsinki.

There are existing guidelines and recommendations related to open educational resources. The national policy for open education and educational resources was published by the Secretariat for the National Open Science and Research Coordination in 2022. The implementation of these policies is at its initial stages at the University of Helsinki. The establishment of well-functioning practices and meaningful University-level policies requires a great deal of cooperation and time from all University operators. Helsinki University Library has an ongoing development project related to support services for open educational resources and open science in teaching.

It has been interesting to see how European collaboration between universities has made the need for open resources visible. Collaboration in the Una Europa university network has provided a boost to the use and production of open educational resources. In 2022 specialists from Helsinki University Library participated in the drawing up of Una Europa’s joint guidelines for the use and production of open educational resources.

Open science for students

Open science skills are increasingly important to experts graduating from universities. The Library is a partner also for students in developing skills related to open science and data management. Basic open science skills are included in the Library’s online courses for undergraduate students but these skills need to be advanced in particular during master’s degree studies.

In autumn 2022 open science and data management education was piloted at the English-language Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Research, Development and Safety of the Faculty of Pharmacy. The teaching was implemented with advance assignments and two lectures. The pilot received good feedback from the students and the teachers in the programme. The teaching collaboration and the development of teaching in open science and data management aimed at students will continue. Open learning material available for use by University teachers is being designed.

Information retrieval skills for degrees

We all know about information retrieval for degrees but it is nonetheless a perpetually topical issue. The year 2022 was a year of preparing for new degree requirements at the University. The Library actively contributed to workshops supporting these preparations. The Library provides basic skills in information retrieval as online courses and practical training in webinars and contact teaching. The Information Seeking and Management for Thesis Writers online course is one easy way to include information retrieval, reference management, evaluation of information sources and copyright matters in degrees. You can find the course in Sisu with the code LIB-200. It can be included as a component in another course.

We at the Library are happy to collaborate with teachers in various degree programmes. We are balancing between degree programme–specific tailoring and being able to provide support to all degree programmes. We are open to new forms of collaboration.