Pedagogical and didactical approaches
The course will be based around constructionist learning methods, which are inspired by constructivist theory that is based on the idea that individual learners construct mental models to understand the world around them. However, constructionist methods hold that learning can happen most effectively when people are also active in making tangible objects in the real world. In this sense, constructionist learning is connected also with experiential learning.
Both borders and landscapes will be studied from different viewpoints and from within different kinds of frameworks: physical, historical, political, cultural and human geographical approaches will inform the exact study questions. Such an interdisciplinary approach is needed in order to understand the holistic nature of landscape. Methodologically the course will combine existing approaches from landscape ecology (Adam Mickiewicz University), regional and geographical information systems (GIS) -based landscape research (University of Girona) and cultural-orientated landscape research (University of Eastern Finland). Together these three primary landscape orientations will ensure a high-quality course for students. The quality of the course will be assured by paying attention to the specialisations of teachers; the previously-mentioned landscape orientations and also the most important methods and techniques have to be represented each year. All the instructors will give lectures within their field of specialisation and all will supervise group work. Also, border and landscape researchers from the host universities will be asked to present lectures and join the excursions.
The course will include lectures, excursions, group work, discussions and meetings with regional planning organisations and public administrations, and will conclude with a final seminar. The emphasis will be on the students’ own activities; even if the lecture basis is functional, students will be encouraged to engage in discussion and criticism.
After the course ends, students will finalise group reports that will be published on special web-pages created for the project. The reports will be also sent to possible partners and concerned actors.
The course will be offered for second cycle (MA) students from the University of Eastern Finland and Adam Mickiewicz University and for students at the end of the first cycle (BA) at the University of Girona. The course will be worth 6 ECTS and, according to the preliminary agreement between the partner universities, these credits will be recognised by each home institution.
Thirty students (maximum 10 students from each partner universities) and six instructors (maximum 2 instructors from each partner universities) will participate in the course each year. In the selection of students for the course, special attention will be paid to each applicant’s existing level of internationalisation. Students who do not have exchange experience or have not participated in multinational courses will be prioritised for the proposed course. After familiarised to students’ personal study plans and completed studies, the local instructors will make the final selection of students.