Open University presents opportunities for high-quality learning, regardless of the learner’s educational background

In Finland, open universities are independent institutes within universities. Open universities are open to all and give access to university-level studies beyond just the pursuit of a degree. In the Open University of the University of Jyväskylä, the student’s experience is characterised by the high quality of studies, the digitally skilful staff, and first-rate online collaboration, says director Jukka Lerkkanen.

Students are priority #1

At JYUOpen, we strive to live by our core values – quality, integrity, openness, trust, and community spirit – and to always keep our students in a key role when education at JYUOpen is developed.

The feedback we receive tells the story: JYUOpen is known for its friendly services and interactive online education. Many of our students juggle studies alongside working life and their free time – this is why we have made it our common goal to provide the best possible support for the reconciliation of work and study for our students.

In 2022, JYUOpen has been granted the E-xcellence quality label as a result of an audit conducted by EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities). The audit gave evidence to the way JYUOpen meets the individual needs of a variety of students: a flexible schedule of course provision, employing different modes of completion and assessment, a focus on guidance-oriented pedagogy, and a motivated staff who embody dedication to student-centred teaching. Moreover, JYUOpen’s strategy is well-embedded and coordinated with the wider strategies of the University of Jyväskylä, helping safeguard continuity in development processes.

And what’s in it for you? At JYUOpen, we want to offer you a personal learning experience, with teaching based on cutting-edge academic research. Open universities don’t provide degrees in Finland, but our high-quality online courses are a great way to get familiar with the University of Jyväskylä. If you find yourself excited about studying further at JYU, you can apply to one of the many fantastic Master’s programmes or if you are already a university student, you can become an exchange student in Jyväskylä.

Since our 1984 origins, the Open University of University of Jyväskylä has offered studies to anyone regardless of educational background, now also internationally. You don’t need to be a degree student to study in JYUOpen – the only requirement is your own will to learn.

Long tradition in education

Jyväskylä has a long tradition and rich heritage in education. Finland’s first Finnish-speaking teacher seminar was founded in Jyväskylä in 1863. Nowadays the multidisciplinary University of Jyväskylä has six faculties ranging from humanities to natural sciences. The Open University cooperates very closely with all of the faculties.

Collaboration is key to success. For example, the JYU faculty of education and psychology is built as a combination of two strong fields of study within the same faculty, making for a powerful scientific community working in tandem. Indeed, the University of Jyväskylä places highly in international rankings: In the subject-specific comparisons of the Best Global Universities list, Education and Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä ranks 42nd in the world, as the best university in Finland. The Best Global Universities rankings are published by the U.S. News & World Report, based on indicators such as research reputation and the number of publications and citations. This year, the comparison included 2,000 universities from 95 countries.

Continuous learning is another important, emerging area of education that JYU Open University has a strong foothold in. We want to support and create learning opportunities for everyone to enhance their knowledge and skills in the constantly changing world. Education opportunities that extend beyond degree studies are essential to a society fostering the skills of its people.

JYU is committed to offering studies that serve students’ needs at numerous stages of life, wherever they are in the world. One of the newer additions to JYUOpen’s study selection is Education in Finland, the set of 5 MOOCs that showcase the features of Finland’s education system that not only generate excellent school performance but also support the wider wellbeing of a society.

A tiger’s jump to online education

JYUOpen moved to online education already in the 1990s, but even for us, the biggest step – or more like a tiger’s jump – was taken in spring 2020 due to COVID-19. Well before the global pandemic, we were carrying out most of our teaching online. But as a security measure against the virus, we switched all of our work to home offices.

It was brilliant to see how the people of JYUOpen adapted to the new situation and took over new tools with the help of solid experience of online work. In addition to open university lessons, all projects and meetings were moved online, just a few days after the pandemic restrictions hit mid-March.

More and more people are finding their way to JYUOpen – now up to 30,000 students each year are part of the Open University community of avid learners, incorporating continuous learning to their busy lives.

Join our learning community by taking up our flexible online courses. Take your first steps in lifelong learning with JYUOpen. Welcome!

Jukka Lerkkanen
Open University of the University of Jyväskylä