The vision “I change learning” is a university-wide agreement and a promise to give one’s contribution in the continuous development of Tallinn University into a high-level learning space for all its members.

Our new academic Tallinn University

New academic Tallinn University is an inspiring and open learning environment where we support each other’s learning and activities. Cooperation-oriented and caring partnerships function in all areas of activity of the university: research, development and studies. We take responsibility for our own learning and contribution in the process of creating a meaningful creation process. In teaching and supervising, we choose the learner - and learning - centredness as the basis for our approach. This emerges clearly in relationships, in the chosen methods as well as in the learning environment. Our learning is the lecturers’ and students’ joint creation that develops through the relationships, and is vital and interwoven with research and development.

A graduate of Tallinn University thinks critically, cares, acts intelligently, is courageous and open, and an active member of the society.

As a student, I

  • take responsibility for the quality of the education I receive – I learn knowingly
  • give active feedback concerning my studies – I recognise good teaching and offer solutions for improving the teaching process and methods, and the role of the lecturer and relationships in the classroom
  • help the lecturer to be the best partner and guide on my learning road
  • stick to the deadlines and agreements concluded with my lecturers and fellow students
  • always complete my papers/projects on my own – I am the author of my work
  • have the courage to ask the lecturer if I need more explanations or examples
  • want to be present in my studies – both physically and mentally
  • participate actively in seminar discussions, and share my opinion and listen to others
  • dare to make mistakes and err in my studies, because exiting the comfort zone means starting one’s development
  • give and receive feedback
  • analyse my development needs and set challenging goals for myself on this basis
  • support and appreciate my fellow students in their studies and development – I dare to cooperate because I trust my peers and respect different learners

As a lecturer, I

  • share my teaching practices and the doors of my classroom are open to colleagues
  • ensure my study material is accessible to students
  • recognise and support my colleagues
  • am research-based in my teaching – I constantly examine, analyse and develop my professional skills and teaching practices
  • keep in mind while teaching that what my students learn from my teaching is as important as what I know
  • participate in the study programme development so that the study programme would form a whole for the student
  • ask and take into account the learner’s needs
  • treat students with respect, and communicate with the student as I would with my colleague
  • create a collaborative learning environment which supports learning
  • have high expectations towards the students and present them with a challenge to exit their comfort zone
  • give and ask for feedback
  • trust the student by giving him/her the responsibility for his/her learning
  • support the development of the learner
  • stick to the agreements concluded with the learners
How to involve students in contemporary approach to learning? How to persuade them that it is necessary?
  • I support the emergence of autonomous/inner motivation and the breaking of bad learning habits (the habit of passive learning originating from the secondary school). The course “Studying at the University” provides one opportunity to that end and students should also participate in the development process of this course. The course should convince the students that active participation in their studies is in their interest in every way.
  • I help the student representatives to spread the ideas of contemporary learning approach (hereafter: CAL) among the students. I organise training to the members of the Student Union in cooperation with CAL experts, which in turn would later help them to train students.
  • I highlight the positive learning experiences of students. For example, learning stories in the style of the one-minute-lecture could be filmed, where students speak about their good experiences and personal development as a result. The aim is to encourage students to render deeper meaning to the learning process, on one hand, and the learning stories demonstrate to the lecturers the positive effect of using CAL on the students, on the other hand.
  • The Student Union sets the introduction of CAL as one of their priorities and implements it actively.
How to involve lecturers in contemporary learning approach? How to persuade them that the new approach is necessary?
  • To value and make visible the best teaching practices. To prepare videos, posters, brochures, etc. And introducing good teaching methods. If a lecturer or a student wishes to learn or get acquainted with good practices, it must be as simple and interesting for them as possible. To use contemporary media and innovative solutions for highlighting the practices, to exercise the competences of the BFM.
  • To find out the main bottlenecks hindering the implementation of contemporary approach to learning CAL. To interview lecturers, organise discussions, carry out a survey (LIFE project idea) etc. Thus, we become aware of the most important problems and will be able to deal with them in a focused manner.
  • To facilitate the implementation of CAL to the maximum extent possible for the lecturers. If lecturers wish to change their methodology, they have a support network to turn to immediately, which helps them to realise the changes thoroughly. Each lecturer should ideally have a mentor with whom they could constantly develop their skills and direct the development process. Also, the university should ensure IT-support and other technical help. If lecturers are left alone in the implementation of CAL, their motivation may disappear.
  • To convince lecturers empirically of the effectiveness of CAL. To collect research that proves the effectiveness of CAL. To emphasise the evidence base.
  • To facilitate personal communication between lecturers and students. If the lecturer knows the student personally, he/she is more motivated and has a perceived responsibility to give his/her course well. Also, he/she can better reshape the course following the development needs of the students.
  • To create a strong motivation system for lecturers.
  • To give greater prominence to lecturers with the best teaching methods. To recognise them all the time instead of random rewarding. For example, posters demonstrating the best lecturers, their best methods and students’ feedback concerning these methods could be designed.
  • To create lecturers’ study groups for new study programmes. Lecturers who begin to implement the study programmes can discuss teaching methods and novel solutions in an unconventional context.

In order to implement CAL, it is important to knowingly support cooperation at all management levels both within the university as well as with partners in all areas of activity, and to create conditions which support the learning and development of all employees and students of the university.

The vision “I change learning” has been created by the working group of Think Tank in 2015-2016.

1 CAL- changing approach to learning, contemporary approach to learning