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Mobile video became an important professional tool with three projects in Asian countries


The occasional possibility to take part in three different Mobile Documentary Projects with Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has been a deep source of new ideas. The whole concept of mobile documentary and sharing the learning diving method according to innovation pedagogy has shown how students can cope in foreign culture and make true short documentaries with their own phones.

Finnish National Agency for Education supports international co-operation  with programmes in Asia between Finnish and Asian higher educational institutions. Workshops have been organized in India Chandighar, in South Korea Soul and will be organized in Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. Half of the participants come from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences  and Turku University of Applied Sciences and half of them from local Asian universities. The fourth partner is the Finnish public service media company YLE which has expressed interest in  possible publication of the documentaries made in these projects.

Mobile Documentary proved to be a powerful Tool

The first project at Chitkara University in the city of Shandighar was called as Mobile Documentary project as a Developing Tool. Its goal was to spread mobile journalism and research the position of women and girls in India and in Finland. On our first trip we had a workshop for the staff of Chitkara. The participants were media professors with the library and administration personnel. They adapted the method and learned how to shoot with a mobile phone.

The second workshop was in Chandighar with the Finnish students  from both Universities of Applied Sciences in Television (Metropolia) and Film and Media (Turku). They planned their documentaries beforehand with the tutoring help of teachers from their own universities. In Chitkara they shot and edited them with the local media students. Some of these documentaries were some time available in YLE Areena.

Chitkara Univeristy in Chandighar is a campus complex with multiple buildings.

The third workshop took place in Helsinki and Indian students made their documentaries during that. The Chitkara staff also visited Turku University of Aplied Sciences and we made a student exchange agreement between our universities.

Learning to Dive was a new goal

The second MoDo Project had a new nuance with a name of Mobile Documentary as a Learning Diving Experience. The main goal this time was to convince the Korean University media teachers that it is possible to learn by throwing yourself into something totally new. Failing is also a good part of learning.

Lecturers Teija Voudinmäki and Auli Sillanpää used mobile phones to document functional studying rooms in Korean University. Photo: Johanna Ailio.

To be sincere, it did not succeed as well as we would have wanted. The Korean University professors did not accept the idea of learning by failing. Our host Professor Ji-Hoon Park told us that Koreans do not fail. They prepare themselves so thoroughly that failing is not an option. That they also did in Helsinki on spring 2019 with the very good help of students from both Finnish partner  Universities of Applied Sciences. They made many interesting and technically very talented documentaries.

Finnish students, though, did throw themselves in Soul workshop in previous year. They had a lot of difficulties when Korean students did not have enough time for the workshop. It was a real learning diving experience. Every student made a documentary and handled the haste and stress well. They learned a lot about how to cope in a foreign country, culture and language. They did not give up and the feedback was eventually good.

Third time is for deepening the Learning Diving Method

The third MoDo Project, Combined Methods for Learning Diving Experience, started this autumn with a trip to Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur. We were warmly welcomed to develop the method together with Malaysian media teachers. They accepted the idea immediately: the teacher is a tutor and the students need to find by themselves their way to swim in a foreign environment. Their enthusiasm for having a workshop together rises high expectations for next autumn when we will go back with the students.

The Media Department used the ninth floor in one of the Sunway University buildings. Photo: Johanna Ailio.

Mobile Documentary travels around

The whole method of doing documentaries with a small and common device was new to me. Along with these projects I have got a whole series of courses to offer. In Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen I had a workshop as a part of Erasmus Exchange. The next trip will head to Centennial College Toronto in March 2020.

I have been teaching our own staff with mobile devices since beginning of the first project in the year 2016. More than 100 of them have attended this Mobile Video course. This has also been a sales product of Film and Media at Turku University of Applied Sciences and I have experienced great moments with communication professionals when they have realized how much they can do with that. This project gave birth also to one of my favorites, Mobile Documentary course for exchange and Finnish students. Last spring, I also started a Campus Online course. I have a plan to translate that into English for international use.

Being part of this series of projects has given me professionally more than I ever expected. Besides that, I have got three sparkling colleagues and friends from Metropolia UAS. We also have a very living WhatsApp group with the Malaysian lecturers. This has given a new path to a lecturer that has a 20 years’ career at the university of applied sciences. The principle to say “yes” to  strange suggestions is a good professional guide.


Three trips to schools that are very different from the Finnish education system have been enlightening

The visited Asian universities are private. The students pay big tuition fees for their degree. Their motivation is very high, and it also requires wealthy families. The pressure from the family can be seen. The students do not have time for anything useless. This was a problem in Korean University: the students had an exam week and they wanted to concentrate mostly on that. That is why our workshop was not in the first place. The competition in Korea is extremely hard, also among the Korean University students. Only the best will get the good posts.

The buildings of Chitkara University (Chandighar), Korean University (Soul) and Sunway University (Kuala Lumpur) are enormous and the facilities plentiful in comparison with each country´s standard of living.  For example, Sunway University is a corporation with 12 business divisions. It concentrates on real estate, construction, education, healthcare, retail and hospitality. It owns two universities and other schools, a couple of five-star hotels, an enormous shopping mall and a lot of land in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuvassa näkyy pilvenpiirtäjiä Kuala Lumpurissa.

Kuala Lumpur is another world with 1,8 million inhabitants. Photo: Johanna Ailio.

When a university is private, it can also make strict rules for students. At Sunway University, the student´s film  is evaluated on the set day whether it is ready or not. They don’t tolerate being late even if there was a masterpiece to born. At Chitkara University, the students know that there is a good post waiting in the media branch when the degree is finished.

Compared to private universities we in Finland have less money for teaching, tools or environments. Our students do not compete as hard as their colleagues abroad. The education is possible also for young people from less wealthy families. In Asian private universities the family supports the education, though for example Sunway University has scholarship programs. In Finland students’ pressure is smaller and there is also room for laziness and for growth as a young person. The university time is not only for a successful career in Finland. Maybe that is a part of being one of the happiest countries in the world?


Documentary material

A documentary made by Korean University’s student in Helsinki with the help of Turku University of Applied Sciences’ student Milla Granlund: Ms Fits, Director Jiwoo Kwak

A documentary made by Turku University of Applied Sciences’ student in Chandighar, India: Dads and Daughters, Director Heta Laiho

Travel videos made by Johanna Ailio:

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Yksi kommentti artikkelista “Mobile video became an important professional tool with three projects in Asian countries

  1. Heta Laiho sanoo:

    Oli mahtavaa päästä opintojen aikana mukaan näin opettavaiseen ja mielenkiintoiseen projektiin!


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