One of Kudelma’s most important missions is to help comprehensively oriented students and researchers to learn and work together. Our members range from first-year-students to faculty members and anything in between. We believe that conducting research and learning are no more or less than synonyms. In Kudelma we are all researchers and learners.
In Kudelma, we form small groups in which the students and researchers doing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral thesis guide and receive guidance from each other. Research within the network is also carried out together with learners on different academic stages. It is important for us to emphasize that each learner's thesis and possible research path is unique.
Our approaches to studying and learning:
The comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to learning and research is what we all have in common in Kudelma. Since the 1970’s, analysing and developing the approach within the discipline of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki has been a common effort of students, teachers and researchers working together as equal partners. Now Kudelma continues this tradition. Ultimately, it is a way of learning and conducting in which students and research are all experts.
Value-boundedness, interdisciplinarity and other kinds of complexity are built-in in questions considering environmental and sustainability problems. Therefore, there are often no clear right or wrong answers to these questions. Thus, our view is that the contribution of a first-year-student can in many ways be as valuable as a professor’s and essentially all learning is co-learning and peer learning. “Student’s” role is to be better at asking questions while “teacher’s” role is to seek and give answers, both roles being equally important.
Thesis writing by co-learning
Dozens of theses have been written and are in progress in Kudelma. We pay special attention to guiding and helping the progress of bachelor’s theses, but there are also master’s and doctoral theses in progress. We work in peer-groups and also mixed groups with students from different academic stages. In general, more experienced mentor younger students, however, it is surprising how fresh ideas from a bachelor student can contribute to master or doctoral thesis work.
List of theses written by Kudelma members is provided on our Finnish website. Most of the theses are only in Finnish.
Writing scientific papers by co-learning
One of the core ideas in Kudelma is that people from different stages of their academic path can learn and achieve much more together and by supporting each other than by themselves or in purely homogeneous peer groups. One example of this kind of learning practice is writing scientific papers in “mixed” groups.
For example, in 2017 we wrote three papers using this method. There were 11 writers altogether: one PhD, three doctoral students or graduates, four master’s students and three bachelor’s students. In the beginning of the process, the academically youngest writer was a second-year-student.