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Results and outcomes

Since 1999 more than three hundred students have attended the courses and done a passed assignment: see the statistics in detail at the bottom of this page. They have been awarded 6 ECTS credits and with the course diploma. The credits have been recognized by each home institution. In every year the students have been divided into small teams, which have produced two reports: home area reports made by national teams and field study reports made by internationally mixed teams. After awhile, also the reports from the previous years will be available at this UEF wiki Genord. In addition, the archives of Geonord includes a large collection of course readings, expert lectures, excursion presentations,field research tool-kits and photos. All these materials will be transferred to this UEF wiki and in so doing offer them to be available for broader audiences, too.

The coordinator has an ongoing project for evaluating  the experiences of Geonord intensive courses out of two different perspectives: The first one will focus on regional development and center-periphery -relations in a comparative cross-border setting, and the other one will trace the ideas of the course as educator of forthcoming regional development experts. As an example of the latter approach is a workshop presentation (co-authored by Erasmus IP-course coordinator Minna Tanskanen, UEF) at the Nordic Geographers Meeting in Reykjavik, June 2013: "Learning by doing with high stress in an alien territory". The aim is to publish research articles which concern both above mentioned perspectives.

Impacts and dissemination

Despite the fact that the Geonord -network has encountered changes in terms of partner universities and persons, the modes of co-operation and practices of intensive courses has been developed and renewed positively. The concept about to implement the course in six statges (homework, intensive teaching, excursion, field-works by teams, report writing, defense of the reports) has been proved successful. Both oral and written feedback from the students supports us to continue the work with the network and the collaboration in arranging such an intensive course. The main critics given in students' feedback concerns the work to be done in high stress and time squeeze. Respectively, the teachers have responded with arguments of needs for ever higher degree of flexibility, sorting out with ad hoc solutions and good will for a proper communication, because such needs are common in many organizations nowadays even within an academia. The intensive course is training, a test, whether students can manage in real-like development and planning jobs or not.

The student and teacher mobility between partners and countries has been small-scaled but stable in nature. For reason or another Joensuu has been the most active partner for sending students out for exchange and receiving visiting teachers in. It is evident, that the coordinator should increase the marketing efforts of the network - not only before, during and right after the intensive course - but also the year around. Geonord co-operation has bridged the links between the participating departments, and thus on its part helped other members of the staff to make new contacts among network organizations. It also has enlarged students' chances for utilizing a wider variety of relevant course supply. Especially, it offers topical insights and examples for doing the master's thesis from the point of view of comparative international framework (e.g. northern peripheries). On the other hand, Nordplus cooperation through the two weeks intensive courses has provided a proper forum for discussing research ideas and cooperation. It also has been a pure situation to compare, comment and develop the methods of teaching, sizing of credits etc. It has made easier to grasp the potentials of joint teaching and research projects for the future purposes.

For improving the impacts and dissemination of the Geonord outcomes, the following tasks should be taken to agenda: The preparation of network's web-pages through UEF wiki in order to cover the history as well as recent course materials. More and more effective marketing of the network via partner departments (incl. students, researchers and teachers). Finalization of coordinator's project with two approaches mentioned above to evaluate the course outcomes and experiences. A special target group to whom the dissemination should be improved are the stakeholders who have act as informants during the excursions and field works. The grand objective is an edited book, in which the entire story of Geonord network would be presented. Here the input of the course teachers as well as some (doctoral) students will be expected in order to select the best lectures and study reports in terms of refining them as proper research articles.

Summing up statistics

Table 1: Course participants according to some background information (university, nationality, sex) in years 1999-2014

Table 2: Student and teacher mobility from country to country in years 1999-2014

Table 3: Funding received from NordPlus HE in years 1999-2014


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