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PRESENTED BY LINKÖPING UNIVERSITY

The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems

Ranked among the world’s best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems
Photo: Linköping University

Linköping University is one of Sweden’s largest universities, consistently placing as a leading university in global rankings. It’s also home to a  world-leading research environment for topics relevant to all of society, such as sustainability, materials science, and security.

With campuses in the southern Swedish cities of Linköping and Norrköping, the university and its reputation attract students from all over the globe. Each year around 27,000 national and international students enrol for both undergraduate study at the university and for its 25 master’s programmes that are taught entirely in English.

LiU’s interdisciplinary approach to education and research arms students with the knowledge and skills they need to solve the problems we are facing today and in the future. It also helps graduates to hit the ground running in professions like teaching, medicine, and engineering —  making them among the most desirable in the labour market.

Find out more about the master’s programmes at Linköping University

One practical way LiU prepares its graduates for life after university is through Problem-based learning (PBL), an innovative method in which students tackle real problems to aid their learning of concepts.

It’s a technique second-year Experimental and Medical Biosciences master’s student Karolos Douvlataniotis uses regularly as part of his programme. He explains that the students are divided into groups and presented with a problem for which they must find a solution together.

“We’re given a problem or scenario, for example, a viral infection, and then we discuss what we think is important and prepare an answer. Afterwards, all the groups discuss our answers.”

It’s a technique Karolos believes will really help him in the future, when he plans to enter the research field.

“I think it’s a very good method because you actually have to do your own preparation. You also have to be very focused! It definitely gets you ready to go into research.”

And that’s exactly what Karolos’ two-year master’s programme is designed to do: prepare students for a career in the life sciences field. The full-time course is taught at the university’s hospital campus alongside laboratory and hospital staff, so students get daily insight into life in a professional research environment.

This combination of studying, PBL, and daily exposure to a working laboratory ensures that by the time Karolos graduates, he’ll be prepared for whatever his future career throws at him.

“Studying at Linköping will absolutely help me get where I want to be. It’s giving us the experience we need to go straight into work.”

PBL is a method that 22-year-old Linda Johansson, now a second-year master’s student in Sustainable Development, used throughout her undergraduate degree. She agrees with Karolos that it’s effective and offers broader insight into problem-solving.

Browse the 25 master’s programmes offered at Linköping University

“It’s a really good way to learn because people solve problems in different ways,” she explains.

“It creates a good discussion and you learn more because you get different ways of solving a problem.”

Linda’s department also uses another innovative technique favoured by the university; visualisation.

The technique helps to make complex data and teachings more understandable through easy-to-comprehend images, maps, and diagrams.

It’s a modern technique Linda believes helps raise awareness about pressing issues surrounding sustainability and climate change.

“Climate change can be quite complex and hard to understand because there are so many different areas involved. By using visualisation tools, like a movie or a game that people play to understand climate adaption in a city, it helps them to gain an understanding of a difficult issue.”

She believes it also has the power to communicate in simpler terms what the average person can do about climate change. Once more people are aware of what they can do individually, she says society as a whole will be better equipped to tackle the issue.

“I think many people think climate change is so big and so complex they can’t do anything about it. Visualisation helps people to understand climate change and see that actually small actions, like sorting out your waste for example, really make a difference on the whole.”

If you want to study for your master’s degree and simultaneously tackle the challenges the world is facing, Linköping University might be the right environment for you. The university offers 25 master’s programmes in five different subject areas, which you can learn more about on its website.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Linköping University.

 
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HEALTH

Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic

Norway is closing all schools, kindergartens, and universities to slow the spread of coronavirus, in what Prime Minister Erna Solberg has called "the most far-reaching measures we have ever had in peacetime in Norway". (Paywall free).

Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
The law department at Oslo University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“All the country's kindergartens, schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are to be closed,” Solberg confirmed at a press conference held at her cabinet office on Thursday, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK
 
The measures, laid out in detail on the website of Norway's Health Ministry, will apply from 6pm on Thursday and remain in force until March 26. 
 
They also include a provision requiring everyone who has arrived in Norway from anywhere apart from the Nordic countries since February 27 to enter into compulsory quarantine in their homes, whether or not they are displaying any symptoms. 
 
Solberg said that though difficult, the measures were necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus. 
 
“We are in a difficult time, both for Norway and for the world,” she said, according to the VG newspaper. “The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus. We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.” 
 
She warned employees faced with unexpected childcare demands not to call on elderly relatives for help. “We must remind you who we should most be looking out for. We should therefore not hand over childcare to grandparents who are in the risk category.” 
 
Erna Solberg delivered the address at her cabinet offices. Photo: Norwegian Government
 
Camilla Stoltenberg, Division Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated at the briefing that between 22,000 and 30,000 people would be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment.
 
The measures announced include: 
 
  • Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities.
  • A provision requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open in order to look after the children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.  
  • Cultural events, sports events, gyms and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.
  • Buffet restaurants are banned. Other restaurants, bars and cafés must ensure guests are kept at least one metre from one another.
  • A requirement for everyone arriving in Norway from outside the Nordic to enter quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This is retroactive to 27 February.
  • Restrictions on visitors to all the country's health facilities and the introduction of access control.
  • People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups (old people's home, psychiatric hospitals, prisons etc).
  • Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.
Shops will continue to be open as normal, and the Ministry of Health advised people to shop normally and not seek to  hoard food.
 
The transport system will continue operating as normal, but people are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel. 
 
Shortly after the press conference, King Harald V of Norway issued a statement saying that the Royal House was suspending all official engagements until Easter. 

“Our country is in a serious situation that affects individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial that we all participate in the national effort to avoid exposing ourselves or others to infection,” the release read. 

 
“It is therefore important that we all follow recommendations and orders from the authorities. We must contribute what we can to prevent the spread of the virus, and I would especially like to thank health professionals all over the country who are doing their utmost to remedy the developments. We all hope that the situation will soon turn around.” 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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