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Number 2/2001

Web resources for social research method teachers

Sami Borg 12.6.2001

On June 5, 2001, the FSD arranged for the second time a nation-wide seminar for social research method teachers at the universities. Just like almost two years ago, about twenty teachers were present. Participants came from almost all universities of Finland, and they represented a wide range of various fields of learning.

Web resource to support teaching

Eija Paaso. Photo: Katja MäkiAt the seminar, a preliminary version of a web resource developed to support teaching of research methods in social sciences was presented. The web resource, funded by the FSD, has been developed since Autumn 2000 primarily by Eija Paaso from the University of Lapland and Mikko Mattila from the University of Helsinki. Both have worked full-time for about half a year as content producers for the project. From the data archive, Sami Borg and Tuomas Alaterä have participated in the project, the latter as technical realizer of the website. Also a steering group has been established for the project.

The web resource consists of two main elements, a method section in hypertext and an integrated online user's guide for the SPSS statistical analysis system in Finnish. The first version of the web resource will be introduced in Autumn 2001 so that it can be used in the Fall's general and intermediate level courses. Later on, it is possible to expand the web resource to serve better the various fields of social sciences by adding topics and exercises and devising special method teaching websites for different fields. At the moment, the preliminary version of the web resource (in Finnish) can already be accessed through the Net.

Courses on the Web

It was agreed at the seminar that in connection of the web resource, a joint teachers' web resource will be established. In it, the teachers can transfer their own teaching material. Various questions in respective fields can also be discussed, for instance, with the help of a mailing list. A need to support transferring courses to the Net became also apparent at the seminar. With this in mind, the FSD sets out to prepare an easy-to-use recording template to be used in making homepages for a course and links to the information services of the FSD.

As a whole, the seminar proved quite useful. A similar one will probably be arranged again next year. At that time, a thorough evaluation will be made of the functionality of the web resource in practice. At this year's seminar, almost all participants expressed their intention to utilise the web resource in their own teaching.

Seminar participants. Photo: Katja Mäki

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