Over 20 years of Nordic-Baltic cooperation among higher education institutes
TURID is a network of higher education institutes (HEIs) of the Nordic-Baltic region established in 1998. It is funded by the Nordplus Higher Education programme. Currently, six HEIs are involved with their Bachelor-degree programs specializing in tourism, experience economy and gastronomy.
The Network has organized 19 intensive courses and mobilities in 14 destinations in 5 Nordic-Baltic countries involving over 400 students and 30 teachers from 11 partner HEIs as well as 23 companies in order to gain knowledge, improve intercultural communication, dissemination of experiences and best practices to promote regional socioeconomic development in the destinations.
Innovative and collaborative TURID learning concept
The TURID learning concept includes online pedagogics, blended and collaborative learning applied with innovative, co-creative and experience-based methods and tools. The learning process includes three parts: the theoretical journey with self-study pre-assignments, the practical journey in the form of an intensive week in the destination with the commissioning entrepreneurs, and the reflective journey to reflect on the learning experiences.
TURID intensive week organised by Lapland UAS in Levi in autumn 2022
The objective of the intensive course "Greener Business Practices as a Competitive Advantage for Micro and Small Tourism Companies" organised in Levi, Finland in October 2022 was to improve working life-oriented educational cooperation between Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia among bachelor-level students and green micro-entrepreneurs.
The HEIs participating in TURID 2022 were Lapland UAS, Satakunta UAS and Novia UAS from Finland, Dalarna University from Sweden, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian Maritime Academy Centre for Blue Economy from Estonia and Turiba University from Latvia.
For this TURID project, two senior lecturers from Lapland UAS with expertise in the tourism industry and digitalization were appointed as TURID coordinators. Both senior lecturers have many years of experience participating in TURID network activities. The other has been a part of the TURID network since its founding, and she has also served as the TURID coordinator at Lapland UAS over the years.
Public-private partnerships between Lapland UAS coordinators, the KIDEVE Kittilä Development agency, and a variety of local businesses played an important role in establishing the necessary business network for the intensive course. As a result, three family-owned micro-companies agreed to work as commissioners.
Online pedagogics, blended learning, and collaborative learning were used as teaching methods with the OpenMoodle workspace as the learning platform. The learning process was divided into three parts.
1. The theoretical journey included self-study pre-assignments about the destination Levi and the commissioners, as well as tourism digitalization and sustainability communication.
2. The practical journey took place on 3-7 October 2022 at destination Levi, and students became thoroughly acquainted with the commissioning companies and the destination itself. Each commissioner received two practical solutions for improving their sustainability communication for the selected customer groups via online channels.
3. The goal of the reflective journey was to reflect on the learning experiences during the intensive course in a group blog article and a personal diary “My journey towards a green future”.
The intensive week's program and related activities were planned using the theoretical framework of "Experience Design." The program enabled multidimensional networking among teachers, students, local businesses, and the Kittilä municipality's development agency, KIDEVE.
Furthermore, the schedule offered a successful balance of company visits, studies, and leisure activities. Throughout the intensive week, there were many special events that the participants were not aware of in advance, such as the welcoming feast in a Kota with a professional yoik performance, visiting a reindeer farm, and meeting Santa Claus at the farewell dinner at unique settings at the Arctic Circle. Nature, however, provided the most memorable experience for most participants, namely hunting for the Aurora Borealis late at night.
Feedback on TURID Intensive Week 2022
Kittilä Municipality representatives: “The TURID network's visit to Levi was perfectly suited to KIDEVE Kittilä Municipality Development Agency´s ongoing effort to increase and develop cooperation with educational institutions in the region. The theme of the visit was also timely in relation to the ongoing sustainable tourism development work, and the participating companies could easily be found based on this preparatory work. According to the feedback KIDEVE received from the companies, the companies found the cooperation useful. KIDEVE is happy to be involved in similar cooperation in the future.”
Student 1: “A very fun and innovative way to learn, and I would most definitely recommend any kind of TURID-project to anyone who is social and interested in international projects.”
Student 2: “From the company visits, we learned a lot about the operation of micro-business in Levi while, also at the same time, very much enjoy ourselves and the once-in-a-lifetime Lappish experiences we have with our commissioners.”
Student 3: “During the intensive week, we got the chance to apply the theory about digitalisation and sustainability communication that we had learned in the weeks before.”
Student 4: “The cooperation with the entrepreneurs was also a great experience to earn a little insight into the tourism industry and the different job opportunities."
Photo 1. TURID 2022 commissioners, students and teachers at the GALA dinner
Photo 2. Representatives of Lapland UAS at TURID 2022
The TURID project as a whole could be used as a best practice
The TURID project provided an inspiring learning experience for all
major stakeholders, including students, teachers, micro-businesses, and
KIDEVE Kittilä Development Agency representatives.
All stakeholders (commissioning companies, students, teachers as well
as public authorities in the KIDEVE) could benefit and learn from
sustainability communication and how it can be applied in green
micro-companies by utilising various social media channels for different
Articles on previous TURID projects:
Case Latvia: A New Development Direction in Tourism Industry in Latvia and Scandinavia - Nordplus (nordplusonline.org)
TURID - Promoting Higher Education in “Turism, Idrott och Kultur” - Nordplus (nordplusonline.org)
Nordic co-operation for green tourism - Luleå University of Technology (ltu.se)
TURID projects since 2013
- 2013 Finland, Rovaniemi UAS, Loma-Vietonen. Green Care Tourism in the Nordic- Baltic Region
- 2014 Latvia, TURIBA & Vidzeme, Gauja National Park. Green Care Tourism in the Nordic-Baltic Region
- 2015 Finland, Arcada, Helsinki. Green Care Tourism in the Nordic-Baltic Region
- 2017 Estonia, TallTech, Saaremaa: Events as Means for Promoting Tourism, Health, Wellness, and Culture in the Nordic-Baltic Region
- 2018 Finland, Novia, Turku Archipelago: Events as Means for Promoting Tourism, Health, Wellness, and Culture in the Nordic-Baltic Region
- 2022 Finland, Satakunta UAS, Merikarvia. Digitalisation Opportunities among Coastal Tourism Entrepreneurs and Networks
- 2022 Finland, Lapland UAS, Levi. Greener Business Practices as Competitive Advantage for Micro and Small Tourism Companies in the Nordic-Baltic Region
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