Learning Experience in IKM

I am a second-year student of IKM, I come from northern part of China, which makes the winter in Finland not very scary for me. Now I am almost finishing my credits and working on my master thesis. But my learning experience in IKM will be remembered in my mind forever.

When I first read the information of this program, I got full of  question marks in my head. What could IKM be? What can I learn from it? When my study was eventually started, I realized all my concerns were meaningless. And I was impressed and still am impressed now by the following three things:

First of all, the doors of the lecturers are always open to students. Here in IKM or the whole Åbo Akademi University, students can always ask questions and talk with lecturers. No matter the lecturers are professors or docents, they are very nice and considerate to students. There is no hierarchy between teachers and students. The only thing that exists between them is just friendly atmosphere.

Second of all, flexible study plan. After the course: Introduction of IKM, a better understanding of this programme would be achieved. Then the study plan could be arranged based on personal requirements. Even though IKM covers wide range of knowledge, how to narrow down the field can be decided all by ourselves. In addition, academic projects are being conducted which will provide practical hints about what to learn. In addition, students have a chance to work for the project. In the end, such flexible study plan provides a room for us students to arrange our own learning, which is effective.

Last but not least, students, especially international students are taken good care by universities and Finnish government. This matter can be reflected by various things, student discounts for transportation, room renting or health care, the establishment of Student Union etc. I think all of those services for students demonstrate highly developed educational system in Finland. Plus the former two points, it is enough for me to say that my IKM learning experience or Finland learning experience is excellent.

Ming Zhan


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Doctoral Student (alternatively post-doctoral researcher) in information studies (project HIBA)

Open doctoral student or post-doc position for IKM people at Åbo Akademi University:

Fixed-term employment for the period 1.4.2016-28.2.2019 (doctoral student) or 1.4.2016- 28.2.2018 (post-doctoral researcher).

The following is an unofficial Translation. The official advertisement in Swedish can be found at http://www.abo.fi/personal/sv/News/Item/item/10365

Information studies at Åbo Akademi University is inviting applications for a fixed-term employment as doctoral student for the period 1.4.2016-28.2.2019 or post-doctoral researcher 1.4.2016-28.2.2018 to the research project Health information behaviour in the context of e-health: the effect of a neglected element in a successful implementation of consumer focused health technologies for older adults (HIBA). An extension of the employment for 1-2 years might be possible depending on continued research funding after successful evaluation of the projects targets.

The HIBA-project is examining how the citizens health information behaviour is affecting the use of consumer focused health technologies and how these technologies efficiently can be tailored for older adults suffering from type 2 diabetes in order to generate individual and societal added value to traditional healthcare services. The doctoral student is expected to write a doctoral thesis within the subject frame of the project and to contribute to the goals of the project. The post-doctoral researcher should conduct independent research according to the goals of the project.

Eligible for a position as doctoral student, are those who have a Master’s degree in information studies or a similar subject and are admitted to the PhD program in the subject information studies at Åbo Akademi University, and are pursuing a doctoral dissertation. Eligible for the post-doctoral researcher position are researchers with a suitable doctoral degree in information science or in another relevant field. The PhD degree should generally be no older than four years.

A Master ́s degree and admission to the PhD program at Åbo Akademi University and an accepted research plan is a prerequisite for an employment as doctoral student. When assessing the doctoral students for possible employment the applicants study results in information studies or similar subjects are prioritized. Further an ability and motivation to complete their research plan is required. In addition for the project relevant methodological competence, research experience and/or other relevant skills are taken into account. Employed doctoral students are assigned tasks in connection with teaching, supervision or other tasks in accordance with the current general collective agreement for universities and individual work plans.

When assessing the post-doctoral researchers scientific competence the scientific merits the applicant has achieved are assessed in relation to the time elapsed since receiving his/her doctoral degree. In addition for the project relevant methodological competence, research experience and/or other relevant skills are taken into account. These could be knowledge within the research field of information studies regarding information behaviour, health information, survey research and advanced statistical competence. Further ability to successful scientific writing and publication, a capacity to long term independent scientific work and a very good ability to communicate in English both orally and in writing is required.

Knowledge in Finnish (or Swedish) are seen as a merit. In addition to scientific merits pedagogical competence is required.

The salary for doctoral students will be based on levels 1-4 and for post-doctoral researchers on levels 5-6 of the job demand level for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid. See the salary chart for teaching and research staff.

The language requirements for teaching positions at Åbo Akademi University are defined in § 78 of the Universities Act (558/2009) and in the Åbo Akademi University internal language instructions, § 1 and 2. A foreigner or a non-native Finnish citizen may be exempt from the requirements of Swedish when the language of teaching is not Swedish. 

For additional information about the positions and work tasks, please contact docent, Isto Huvila, ihuvila@abo.fi or HR Specialist Solveig Vaherkylä +3582 215 3367, solveig.vaherkyla@abo.fi.

To the applications, which are addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Social Science, Business and Economics Malin Brännback the applicants should attach a CV, a copy of their Master ́s degree certificate, the decision about acceptance to the PhD program and a research plan (doctoral students). To the application for the position as post-doctoral researcher a copy of the applicants PhD degree certificate, an academic portfolio following the instructions for composing an academic portfolio and a summary of current work (max. 1 page) should be attached. A maximum of five publications they would like to have considered for assessing their competence should also be enclosed to the application as post-doctoral researcher.

Applications should be submitted by Tuesday, 10th of November at 3 p.m. (CET+1)

The applications should be sent either by post to Åbo Akademis kansli, Registrator, Domkyrkotorget 3, 20500 Åbo Finland or electronically to the university registry on: registrator@abo.fi. Please state “Doctoral student/post-doctoral researcher in information studies” in the subject field in the e-mail or on the envelope.

Åbo Akademi University is working for equal gender distribution and diversity in all staff categories.

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IKM buzz

It’s time to send summer greetings to and from all busy IKM people including the staff and the students. Congratulations to all of the soon-to-be second year students working on exciting summer internships. Keep up good work and take all that you can learn with you to your second year of studies, and remember to take some time to relax, too.

There are also other things going on. IKM students can be found, for instance, among the participants of the Falling Walls Lab Turku event and just see, you can find IKM people just about everywhere in the town. In the end of August, we will be even more when we have the great pleasure to welcome you (yes, you!), the new IKM students of the Autumn of 2015.

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IKM professionals needed!

96iToOfvThe 2015 edition of the Global Knowledge Management Observatory© Survey by Dr. David Griffiths from the K3-Cubed Ltd (and originally in the first 2011 edition from the University of Edinburgh) lists headlines for knowledge management for the year.

The general conclusion is that there is a lot of things to do. KM is not done properly, people are not satisfied to its contributions, it lacks maturity and integration and it is still considered to be technology-led. KM professionals have difficulties to get recognition and often fail to meet the demand of KM in organisations.

I would be inclined to say that much of these problems can be led back to one more  headline of the report that “Knowledge Management, as a field or area of practice, is argued to be suffering from a lack of specialist practitioners”. Information and knowledge management can be successful  is only through the dedicated work of (I)KM professionals with a comprehensive understanding of what IKM is, how it is practiced (and that it is a question of people, management communication and leadership rather than technology) and how it relates to the core business of the organisation.

And yes, that is what you learn with us at Åbo Akademi University.


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Senior Lecturer position in information and knowledge management

Åbo Akademi University (ÅAU) is inviting applications for employment as senior lecturer in information and knowledge management from 1.11.2015 or upon agreement. The position is located in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics. The Senior lecturer is responsible for the Master´s programme in Information and Knowledge Management.

The following is an unofficial translation of the text. The official Swedish version can be found at http://www.abo.fi/personal/sv/News/Item/item/9959

Applications should be submitted by Thursday, June 11th 2015 at 3 p.m. (CET +1).

Requirements for a senior lecturer in information and knowledge management is a doctoral degree in information science, economics or another relevant subject, and research merits corresponding scientific qualifications of docent and pedagogical competence. Documented experience and ability of teaching and possible pedagogical studies are taken into consideration when assessing the qualifications.

The salary for senior lecturers is based on levels 6-7 of the job demand level for teaching and research personnel according to the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance is paid. Please see the salary chart for teaching and research staff.

The primary responsibility for a senior lecturer is teaching, supervision and examining thesis on all levels. Additional work tasks include conducting independent scientific research. Senior lecturers assist professors in supervision of doctoral students and in the continuous development and assessment of the subject. Of the working time 2/3 are used for teaching, supervision and other tasks, and 1/3 of the total working time is used for conducting research. Senior lecturers follow the system of a total working time of 1600 h/year. The work tasks are annually specified in a work plan.

The Senior lecturer in Information and Knowledge Management is responsible for the Master ́s programme in Information and Knowledge Management. The focus within the study program is in information science, but also includes the subjects international marketing and organisation and management science. Because of the width of the study program it is considered as an asset to possess knowledge in suitable subjects that support all three subjects.

For additional information about the position, please contact Head of subject, Professor Gunilla Widén, +3582 215 4576 gunilla.widen@abo.fi or HR Specialist Solveig Vaherkylä +3582 215 3367 solveig.vaherkyla@abo.fi .

The language requirements for teaching positions at Åbo Akademi University are defined in 78 § of the Universities Act (558/2009) and in the Åbo Akademi University internal language instructions, § 1 and 2. A foreigner or a non-native Finnish citizen may be exempt from the requirements of Swedish when the language of teaching is not Swedish.

The applications with attachments should preferably be sent electronically. The applications, which are addressed to the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, should follow the following guidelines:

Additionally, a copy of for the position suitable PhD degree certificate, a report of teaching and research, copies of other certificates that the applicant would like to present in support of his/her competence for the position, and a research plan of 2-3 pages should be enclosed. In the list of publications the applicant should mark the five publications they would like to have considered for assessing their competence. These five publications should also be enclosed to the application.

Applications should be submitted by Thursday, June 11th 2015 at 3 p.m. (CET +1).

The applications are sent either by post to Åbo Akademis kansli, Registrator, Domkyrkotorget 3, 20500 Åbo Finland or preferably electronically to the university registry on: Registrator@abo.fi. Please state “Application / Senior lecturer in information and knowledge management” in the subject field of the email or on the envelope.

Åbo Akademi University is actively working for equal gender distribution and diversity in all staff categories.

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Course structures and schedules for 2015-2016

Information about studies during the academic year 2015-2016 is appearing on these pages and on the ÅAU website during the following weeks and complete information will be available at the time of the beginning of the period 1 in August. For instance, you can check the IKM Study guide here for a new course structure already now.

The FACULTY STUDY GUIDES for IKM for the academic year 2015-2016 will be published by Midsummer (19.6) and will be available at http://www.abo.fi/fakultet/en/fse_studiehandbok and the  TEACHING PROGRAMME for lecture dates, times and places for 2015-2016 will be published on the faculty web pages in the beginning of August at http://www.abo.fi/fakultet/en/fse_undervisningsprogram

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Admission results for 2015

The admission results for the round of the year 2015 have been sent to all applicants. Congratulations for all of you who have been accepted! We are counting days to welcome you face to face to Åbo Akademi University in the end of August and start a two year’s journey with you. You should find information and pointers to other sources in your letter of admission and on the Åbo Akademi University website. And don’t hesitate to contact us (contact information in the letter) in case you have something to ask.

Don’t forget to formally accept your study entitlement by submitting the signed confirmation form. The form must reach the university by 15 July 2015, 15.00 (CET+1).

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Managers as practical authors

OLKC2015-ruinlecturetheatreIsto was participating last weekend in the Organisational learning, knowledge and capabilities (OLKC) conference 2015 in Milan, Italy. The conference is an interesting, fairly small annual organisational learning and knowledge management conference with a whole lot of stuff that is interesting for IKM students, researchers and teachers alike. The theme of this year’s conference revolved around the concept of practical authorship coined by John Shotter (University of New Hampshire) and developed further by him and Ann Cunliffe (University of Bradford). Especially the findings from Cunliffe’s research on that managers are practical authors in their companies i.e. they quite literally make the social landscape in their firms by how they talk and act is highly interesting from the IKM point of view. Apparently, information and knowledge and different types of informational things like documents play a significant role in this process as Isto discussed in his conference presentation. Information not only informs but is also a part of how the competitive advantage of a firm is crafted by its managers and employees.

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Time to do IKM

file2991242657863Tess Rinearson wrote a month ago a to-the-point piece on Medium on the relativity of time (among other things). Her point was to contrast the learning of a venture capitalist that “there’s rarely a competitive advantage to solving problems slowly” (which is quite true) to his answer “these things take time. I’ve only been here for four years” to the second question: “why there weren’t any female partners at his firm”.

The discussion presented by Rinearson between the venture capitalist and students could be a discussion about information and knowledge management. There is really no competitive advantage in letting people to know the things they need to know now first tomorrow or in four years but still that these things take time and being here for four years does not mean that the issue would necessarily be solved.

But here, too the answer is that “trying’s not good enough”. If IKM was really a priority for a firm, it would have made it work. But probably not without an IKM professional.

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Managing information and knowledge is (child’s) play, no, game?

CC by https://www.flickr.com/photos/malias/73169727

CC by https://www.flickr.com/ photos/malias /73169727

One of the hottest buzzwords of business research is gamification. Similarly to many other terms from Web 2.0 to BPR, and well yes, knowledge management, it is offered as a miracle cure to problems organisations are facing today and a recipe for success to make a day tomorrow. In a similar way than many other buzzwords, there is something in it (of course) but things are perhaps not that simple that gamification can be taken and made to work like a new hammer. Knowledge management is really important but you can’t just take it and expect it work out of the box. You have to understand what it is and how knowledge and information can be managed in your organisation to help it to flourish. In a similar fashion, there are plenty of things to learn from games and play. Why games can be so fascinating, why people play, why and how people are playing even when they are doing other things like seeking information and using systems and how we could build a (real) game that helps your company to get a competitive advantage?

From the information and knowledge management perspective you could ask the same question NASA’s Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) Dr. Ed Hoffman does about gamification: even if we would acknowledge its usefulness, “we must diligently ask questions to enhance its uses for NASA“. Here I would like to go a bit farther than he does and question the notion of gamification and ask what is really useful about games for NASA and beyond, and if we take a nice concept like that, how we should operationalise it at our organisation. 

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