Your future as an IKM professional!

FingersCrossedHey you! Yes, you! The deadline of applications for the autumn 2015 batch of the Master’s Programme in Information and Knowledge Management at Åbo Akademi University School of Business and Economics is approaching *FAST* on January 30, 16.00 (CET+1).

Check once again the details at http://www.abo.fi/ansok/en/masters, fill the electronic application form,  make sure you have all the required documentation (enclosures) attached to your application and you have sent the printed application in time to University Applications Finland. Once done with all the required steps, it’s just to wait for the results of the evaluation process and see if you are among the lucky ones to get an invitation to start your studies in the end of August this year. We all here at the Åbo Akademi University keep our fingers tightly crossed for you (yes, for you)!

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Information architecture and knowledge organisation for your business

The second term compulsory IKM course “Information architecture and knowledge organisation” introduced students to the world of organising information and making it available for its users, that is the stakeholders of your business. The course was about conceptual modelling (how to make sense how things are related to each other and e.g. how to describe all the significant aspects of the products and services you are offering), process modelling (e.g. how the business process looks like when you are delivering training services), XML, RDF, Linked Data, taxonomies and other tools for organising information and knowledge with a good amount of always so practical theoretical thinking to make sense of all these practical skills and competences.

In addition to , we worked on developing our expertise on how to put the different tools of organising things into practice and to develop effective and fast-to-use systems-specific and enterprise-wide architectures for information and knowledge processes in your future workplace. And here the krux is that the information architecture or  the “structural design of shared information environments” (according to Morville & Rosenfeld) is useful in perfecting company’s digital knowledge repository but it is also equally relevant in designing physical information environments, the ways how meeting rooms, workspaces and customer service spaces are laid out and made successful to increase the success and profitability of your business.

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Happy holidays!

Happy holidays 2014-2015 with warm wishes from the IKM master's programme at Åbo Akademi University

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Your company needs information leadership

Boy_watching_with_binocularsInstead of managing information and knowledge as resources, organisations need to look forward and actively make choices to gain competitive advantage. Knowledge leadership deals with the vision of how and what organisation and all the individuals and communities within should know. But it is not enough. In order to know, you also need  information and different types of systems, services and resources to support knowing. Isto is arguing in his recently published article Towards information leadership (Aslib Journal of Info Mgmt, 2014, 66, 663-677, preprint available here) that  the both are essential for the success of a company. This is also the reason why the IKM master’s programme puts a strong focus on information and knowledge leadership, how information and knowledge experts can and should make a difference and get engaged  in strategic leadership of information and knowledge processes.

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Have your say! Give us feedback!

Photo on 2014-11-11 at 14.22 #3We do really love feedback! The School of Business and Economics at Åbo Akademi University has a common template for evaluating all courses. The focus of evaluation is of course on how you as a student have learned on the course and if the different methods, exercises and literature have helped you to achieve the goals.

Why feedback? Giving and receiving feedback is the only way to make things better in the future. This something all IKM professionals know. By applying a systematic evaluation of all courses you are not only helping those who come after you. It gives your teachers and coaches an opportunity to change things right away and what is even more important, giving feedback is important for your learning. When you sit down for a while and think back what was good, what went wrong (too difficult literature? one unclear assignment? or perhaps, I did not quite take the time needed to succeed on the course!) and saying the feedback aloud helps you to understand what you have learned and get the key takeaways of your course. Eventually, doing it know and continuing to do so when you are finished with your studies, makes you a better professional.

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Cheers from the introduction course

The participants of the final seminar of the Introducion to IKM 2014 edition.

The participants of the final seminar of the Introducion to IKM 2014 edition.

It begins to be time to say good bye to this year’s Introduction to Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) course. The final classes were held last week and the final deadline for submitting a 3000 word article on the topic of “The task of IKM: What, Why and How?”. The article drafts that were discussed in the final seminar of the course were really good and I am just waiting to be able to read the finished versions.

But what happened on the course? It was not all about article writing. We met twice a week discussing a broad range of topics from the profession and work of an IKM specialist, what is IKM, what are the most central concepts of IKM and how IKM can be done in practice. In addition we learned a bunch of practical skills that will be useful not only during the two years of studies from advanced information seeking to reference management and keeping updated on the latest trends in IKM. We read a lot different types of texts from academic articles to watching videos and checking tweets, photos and blog posts.

The course includes also practical work. The big thing in the beginning of the course is a company exercise done in teams with a simple simple task of founding a new company (ok, whether you really want to make the company to start for real is not a part of the course) and developing its IKM make it successful. In addition, everyone gets to prepare a case study on IKM at a specific organisation among other exciting things.

The pedagogy of the course is heavily focussed on you, that is the student, and your interests, your needs and your perspectives. We are discussing a lot, presenting, giving and getting feedback instead of listening to a talking head. There is a whole lot of work done in teams, pairs and mixed groups in addition to individual work — yes, and even individual work is to a large extent a question of working, getting input from and giving it to the others in the programme.

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It is workplace and classroom (too) that make us exchange information and knowledge

bildHarvard Business review published recently an interesting piece by Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi and Greg Lindsay on Workspaces That Move People. The authors describe and discuss a number of examples of new types of workplaces that make people to interact with each other, unexpectedly to bump into other people and to break the routine. Authors discuss concepts of real-time office, permeable office, office networks, office neighbourhoods, office-as-a-service and new guilds.

The fundamental observation of the authors on the crucial influence of the workplace setting is easy to agree with when thinking about the plethora of workplaces I have visited and studied. Archeological site and its configuration and how people are placed in the space have an impact on what archaeologists observe and how, and how they document their observation and consequently, what we know about the past. The same applies to public and private organisations. The most common source of information is the people sitting next to you and depending on where and how he or she is available, influences our possibilities to interact with him/her.

The observation is highly actual also with students and studying as Isto recently discussed in his presentation on how students conceptualise their courses (abstract in Swedish) at the NU2014 conference in Umeå. The ways how courses and programmes are organised in the space and place have a major impact on how students conceptualise their learning and interaction with others including fellow students and their teachers, coaches, facilitators and advisors. Instead of trying to make people not to think their physical surroundings there is much to do in designing workplaces that afford particular types of work and knowledge and information exchange as Waber et al. aptly describe.

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Applications for 2015

Want to become a master of information and knowledge? Fancy studying in Turku, Finland, a lively not-too-big-city with thousands of students and the longest standing academic traditions in the country? Aiming for a thriving career? Interested in a unique business programme you can’t find anywhere else?

The next round of applications for the Master’s Programme in Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) is was open from December 1, 2014 until January 30, 2015 at 16.00 (CET+1). Instructions for submitting applications can be found at www.abo.fi/master (check the link for the Information and Knowledge Management Master’s Programme) and www.abo.fi/ansok/masters/en for information about the admissions procedure and entry to the admissions system.

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Welcoming the students of 2014

IKM students of the course starting in 2014

Now it has officially started! The IKM programme has welcomed it’s first class of 10 students starting their journey towards a MSc in Economics and Business Administration degree in information and knowledge management.

 

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Welcome and information workshop for new students 2014

Door to ASA B is the one in the middle of the photo in the basement of the high oriel.

Door to ASA B is the one in the middle of the photo in the basement of the high oriel.

As a reminder for new students, the 2014  edition of welcome and information workshop will be arranged on Thursday August 28 at 10.00 am at lecture room ASA B212 Ranganathan. The building can be found at Fänriksgatan 3B, take door to the right side of the main entrance (hall with glass walls) and follow IKM signs to the lecture room.

After the workshop (at 11.45 am), there is an opportunity to go together to have a Dutch treat lunch (i.e. everyone pays his/her own food) at student restaurant Fänriken located in ASA C building in the same complex as ASA B. To get the lunch for student price 2,60 € you have to have with you a receipt of paid Student Union fee.

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