This model for a multidisciplinary project collaboration is a joint proposal between three international Master’s degree programmes: Tampere University’s Human-Technology Interaction (HTI), Sustainable Digital Life (SDL), and Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ (TAMK) Emerging Media (EM). The project topics will come from strategic, long term partners, such as YLE and the City of Tampere, who will provide wicked problems that can be explored by the students.


During spring 2021, partners will discuss and define the wicked problems they wish to provide. The collaboration will start in autumn 2021, when the students will get to know the first wicked problems, which will be researched and broken down into smaller project cases throughout the school year. The multidisciplinary cooperation will happen by linking the existing courses and their topics, visualizing how they can support each other while working on the different project cases to create a more complete solution.

Project work in the SDL programme will start with Introduction to Project Work course during periods 1-2, which will tackle practicalities on how to conduct a project. Research on the wicked problems, formulation of cases and their own project work shall continue during the rest of their first year. However, their contribution to the cases and following up with the projects will last for the two full academic years, leading to their thesis. Second year will be focused on finalizing the practical part of their project, thesis writing and giving support to the other programmes’ students. This support role is because the results of others’ projects might give insights and new points of view on SDL students’ own work.

For HTI students, the cases will work as topics for their project assignments, being worked on throughout the whole year in the different courses. EM students will be a part of this collaboration on their project course, that happens during the spring semester. Except for SDL students which, as described, will work on the projects throughout their whole master studies, not all students from the other programmes will participate. As these will be project topics, the students are free to choose based on their motivation and interests


Work Approach

As the SDL students will have access to the wicked problems first during the Introduction to Project Work course in periods 1-2 (1st year), they have the opportunity from day 1 to think on what topic they can be involved in and what approaches they want to pursue on the project work. Groups can also start to be formed. Here, students will research the wicked problems and identify different project opportunities from them, defining the fields to which these cases relate.

As EM students are professionals with different expertise, and the length of the programme is shorter, their role on this collaboration will be on a more conceptual level instead of performing practical steps of the projects (like evaluations, for example). In periods 3-4, during their Project course (name still to be decided), students will work closely with SDL and contribute at the case creation stage, developing ideas and concepts related to media (and their different lines of work).

For HTI, the cases will serve as topics for the projects that students develop on their different courses. As the Research and Innovation course is a development project, the students will be able to freely develop the project ideas, using the methods that seem fit. On the other courses, the project development will match the theme and methodologies proposed by the teacher, as would happen with any other assignment. These should result in more focused outcomes to the cases, corresponding to the topics of the course (for example, User Experience students can provide UX evaluations). Since there are eleven courses, the idea is that outcomes from one course move on those in the coming periods. This way, a case receives inputs from different areas, developing the solution at each new course students work on it, and the partner will get a more complex, complete result in the end.

As the work progresses, SDL students can present the cases along with previously done research and their own projects’ relevant data to the HTI participants. SDL students can be “peer-mentors”, as they have deeper knowledge of the cases and background information. Students from all master’s will share information on the development of their projects, as the data might give thought for reflection or support work being done in other programmes.

Examples on how this expertise contribution could work/be distributed are:

  • SDL could provide sustainability and accessibility thoughts to the technologies and services presented by HTI;
  • EM can provide information on media to address the issues proposed by SDL or rethink solutions created by HTI that could make use of emerging media;
  • HTI could contribute with implementation and technology information for the EM concepts.