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Page updated 27.4.2021

Andreas Baumgart will bring back conversations with colleagues and good experiences on project-based learning

Andreas Baumgart, who is currently on staff exchange at Turku UAS, is impressed by the premises solutions of the new campus building, EduCity, which encourage interaction and group work.

Text and photo: Martti Komulainen

Andreas Baumgart is walking down the hallway in EduCity’s staff floor, which is still almost spanking new – as are his hiking shoes, in which he plans to climb Ukko-Koli in the end of May. The hiking shoes being run in will get a baptism of fire when at the end of the visit to Finland, he will go for a week-long hike in the Karelian wilderness.

Andreas Baumgart works as a Professor at HAW Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, specializing in e.g. technical mechanics, engineering dynamics and modelling.

- I’m more theoretically oriented, and less someone practical who likes to fidget with machines, Andreas Baumgart describes.

Baumgart is on a year-long staff exchange, teaching modelling at Turku UAS. Teaching has mostly taken place remotely, although he did get to try out contact teaching in the autumn.

In turn, a lecturer from Turku UAS is teaching in Hamburg. The teachers exchanged their jobs and apartments. Andreas’ whole family moved to Finland for the exchange year. 

Turku has an open atmosphere, which is reflected in the new EduCity

 Andreas Baumgart does not get tired of praising EduCity, Turku UAS’ new campus building in Kupittaa.

- EduCity encourages interaction and group work. It is something else than my place of work in Hamburg, where the staff members each have their own rooms in a narrow hallway, Andreas Baumgart says. 

He has also been impressed by the project-based approach to learning. For example, a course, where a water pump was designed and implemented using 3D printers, combining theory and practice in a good way. The project assignment was to design and implement a functional water pump, measure its performance, and compete for the best construction.

-    In Germany, we could also find inspiration in this kind of learning approach and real-life learning experience. Not only did the course offer a means to adopt the central concepts of basic physics, but it also worked as an incentive for striving for good results.

In turn, he found it difficult to create an interactive learning environment in his classes. He wonders, if it’s the use of the English language that creates a major barrier for a lively exchange in the seminars or the digital tools that make it convenient for students to hide in anonymity. Still, he is impressed by the discipline and persistence that students at TUAS display when pursuing their assignments. 

The school experiences of Baumgart’s children have been very positive: in Finland, it feels that the teachers are emotionally much closer to their students than in Germany. They teach their students by providing support and coaching instead of lecturing.

- I would bring back EduCity and discussions with colleagues with me to Germany when I return in the summer. Before that, however, I want to experience Finnish nature. It would also be nice to experience the cultural offerings in Turku, which have been scarcely available due to the coronavirus.