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Subject-related objectives and learning outcomes

The purpose of the Geonord -network and its co-operation is twofold: a) to develop and intensify the links between geographers and universities in the Baltic and Nordic countries, b) to create new skills in research and problem-solving for local and regional development in the context of Northern peripheries.

The course gains students’ competencies in carrying out comparative case study research in international groups and in understanding planning issues and development practices in local-state, rural-urban and center-periphery settings.

Pedagogical and topical approaches

The course is based upon constructionist learning theory and methods but special emphasis will be put on learning-by-doing both in terms of training co-op work in international context and making research objects as tangible as possible. Consequently, constructionist learning approach is strongly connected with experiential learning and individual learning modes to collective ones.

The subject theme of the course varies on a yearly basis (see child page History). However, some key issues will remain rather unchangeable: Those include local and regional development problems and solutions, spatial and environmental planning matters, and questions concerning public participation, governance and region building. The focus area of the course are rural, peripheral and border regions in the Northern Europe. Important frameworks for the analysis are formed from the basis of core-periphery relations, urban-rural interaction and knowledge/power structures in the era of mobilities and globalization. In the preparatory stage of each course, a file of readings and list of key concepts will be shared at the course Dropbox.

Description of the program

  1. Readings and seminars about selected annual theme in the peripheries prior to the course.
  2. Case study seminar of national approaches for the selected topic.
  3. Introduction of course host country's/countries' central government institutions responsible for rural development and theme areas
  4. Theories about the themes and topics and their role in the peripheries (lectures).
  5. Empirical evidences about the themes and topics in host country(ies) and the impact of governance to the peripherization (lectures).
  6. Methodological training about the case study design, observation and intensive research methods.
  7. Excursion to visit local and regional institutions, enterprises and communities.
  8. Designing a case study group work plan, seminars.
  9. Carrying out an independent group work: case study (in groups) in 6-8 host country localities, responding following questions (course 2014):
    - What is the real number of people during the different periods of time (summer holiday, spring weekends, and autumn business days) in a particular area/locality?
    - What social and power (governance) structures can be found in these particular areas/localities?
    - How native and temporary citizens see the future of these particular areas/localities?
    - What impacts have temporary citizens on local land use and landscapes?
  10. Training on reporting and making presentations.
  11. Preparing and defending a study report in groups.

Requirements for graduation and examination

  • 100% participation in all elements
  • Public defense of the report (graded)

Group reports will be published on special web-pages created for the project. The reports will be sent to concerned informants, partners and other relevant stakeholders. 

Practical elements

The course is offered for MA students from the network member universities/departments. The course awards 6 ECTS and, according to the preliminary agreement between the partner universities, these credits will be recognized by each home institution. Every student will be certificated with special diploma for passed assignment.

Thirty students (approx. 5 from each partner universities) and six instructors (1-2 from each partner universities) can 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 internationalization. Students who do not have exchange experience or have not participated in multinational courses will be prioritized for the proposed course. After familiarized to students’ personal study plans and completed studies, the local instructors will make the final selection of students.

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