3IN Joint Online Course

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The first Joint Online Course (JOC) of the partner universities of the 3IN Alliance started on the 4th of October. As the name already suggests, the JOC is a digital course that was created jointly by the various 3IN partner universities. Students of the partner universities of DIAK (Finland), VID (Norway) and FHWS came together last Monday for the first time to start the exciting journey of attending a virtual, international course. The JOC is a pilot project and thus starts for the first time this semester. What is special about it is that all students are enrolled in the same course which they can have credited to their respective study careers. Thus, there is a virtual student exchange without anyone having to go on a journey or enrolling in another University. Students study and work together in the same digital classroom, but get their credits acknowledged without a complex crediting procedure.

How did the JOC come to life?

It was organised by Sven Warnke (FHWS), Christine Lukash (VID) and Meg Sakilavan-Latvala (DIAK). The trio of innovative and committed lecturers started planning the JOC during the last winter semester. What was first a rough idea in Sven Warnkes mind quickly got picked up and received enthusiastically by the 3IN partners. The project FHWS 3IN actively supported with organisation and networking. Together, the trio finally developed the content and the organisational framework, which allowed the JOC to start for the first time.

The Kick-Off

The first session started with an introduction of the lecturers, as well as supporting staff and the attending students. About 30 people were present and waved into their cameras from Finland, Norway, and Germany, giving the starting signal for the entire course and getting to know each other. Before starting with the actual content of the course, interactive multiple-choice questions were asked that dealt with the personal approaches of working in digital studying formats. For example, students were asked what their general attitude was towards courses that took place in the digital space. While more than a third of those present said they were more productive when studying from their home office, about 26% of those present said they were more productive when away from their own four walls. Similarly, there were clear tendencies to multitask during a Zoom session: about 70% of those present said they did so regularly. It is also worth highlighting that the majority of those present were euphoric and positive about the joint course format and looked forward to spending time together. So, we are excited to hear how the students feel in this new experience!


After getting to know each other in the big group, students were divided into smaller teams, in which they will keep working together through the upcoming weeks and master the upcoming tasks. Through several questions the lecturers created a space for students to exchange in small groups, get to know each other personally and build a “team”, for which they were also supposed to come up with a “team name” and a team speaker. Within these teams they are supposed to work and reflect together on different topics. For this the first assignments were given out. Later the lecturers also introduced the content and the methods, as well as the tools to be used. After a round of recapitulation of the first session it was time to say goodbye until next week. The course will last a total of eight weeks, with three-hour sessions each.

The course contents

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The lecturers developed this course with the goal of improving students’ knowledge and academic skills based on the topic of “Planetary Health”. Additionally, the aim is to improve the competences of international cooperation and the ability of all students to work in teams. Content knowledge based on current research content is imparted through various digital tools.

Quality measurement

Students were encouraged to fill out a questionnaire before the start of the course, which asked them about their motivation, expectations, and concerns about the course, as well as their ideas on how the lecturers could address these concerns. Students were also asked what role they would give themselves within a team, as well as their thoughts on teamwork in interdisciplinary groups with students from other universities. These questions are particularly necessary regarding the mid-term reflection, as well as the further development of the course after the end of the eight weeks.

We wish everyone a good start & all the best!

Now what is left is to wish all students and lecturers an informative and enriching time together! We are excited to hear their feedback on this pilot project by the end of this course.