(13) Tallinn – May 8th 2009 – Last day…

May 10, 2009

Day schedule :
10:15 -12:00  Presentation of Media Projects
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 Wrap-up meeting

Each of the media projects was presented.

  1. The only team that had to work with Estonian students mentionned the challenge it was to make collaborate IT and non-IT people. Although the IT people were worried because they had not received any information about the slides prepared by the non-IT part of the team, the presentation was ok.
  2. The two teams that had to work with Erasmus students (non-IT) clearly showed what these projects offered to them. They have understood why project documentation is important and experienced the management of tension within the team. The ITIN students did a good job in explaining project management to the Erasmus students.
  3. One team did not have any foreign students within the team. However, they took the project seriously and delivered a prototype that could be developed further. They mentioned the regrets they had of not having been able to include some foreign students into the team (but they have been very actif in getting to know other Estonian students).

The lunch took place in a different cafeteria. Katri reserved a special room for the lunch and for the wrap-up meeting. Mr. Peeter Normak and Sirje Virkus joined us for the wrap-up meeting.
Ottavio (Italian Ersamus student) and Taavi Lindma (Estonian student) made a slide show of pictures found in the blog that had been created in the “Ecology of Narratives” course. They also organized a little quiz wherein the ITIN students had to respond to questions about Estonia, Tallinn and everything they have discovered during their stay.115_Wrap up meeting  115_Wrap up meeting (6)  115_Wrap up meeting (8)  115_Wrap up meeting (7)  115_Wrap up meeting (5)  115_Wrap up meeting (3)

 The wrap-up meeting ended with a little speech from Mr. Normak who distributed (fake) Estonian passports to all the ITIN students. He promoted them to ambassadors for Estonia…

115_Wrap up meeting (10)  115_Wrap up meeting (4)  115_Wrap up meeting (2)  115_Wrap up meeting (12)  115_Wrap up meeting (11)  115_Wrap up meeting (13)

We left Tallinna ülikool at 14:30.
Some of the students went for a last walk and drink in Tallinn, others stayed in the hotel lobby.

116_Waiting for departure  116_Waiting for departure (2)

Katri joined us for our last bus trip to the airport. After check in, all ITIN students kissed Katri goodbye and thanked her again for having made our stay so nice. We all hope to see her in Paris, one day…

 117 Check in  117 Check in (2)  118_Goodbye Katri (2)  118_Goodbye Katri  118_Goodbye Katri (3)  118_Goodbye Katri (4)  118_Goodbye Katri (5)  118_Goodbye Katri (6)  118_Goodbye Katri (7)


102_the hart of Tallinn

Tallinn, we have loved being there…

All students were sad to leave Estonia and are already thinking of how to get back to the place, somehow,sometime…


The trip back home went smoothly. We all got back save and sound and said goodbye to each other at The Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

(12) Tallinn – May 7th 2009 – finishing the Media Projects prototypes…

May 7, 2009

Day schedule :
10:15 – 12:45  Media project team work
12:45 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 16:00  Media project
16:00 – 20:00  Optional lecture : 21th Century concepts and information in meaning

The schedule is a little bit different for Thomas, Thibaut and myself :
14:00 – 15:30  2nd meeting with Mr. Normak
15:30 – 16:15   meeting with Sirje Virkus (Department of Information Studies)

At 16:00, Thomas and Thibaut can join their team mates or go to the optional lecture. I have to meet a former EMIM student who would like to have a talk with me about the possibility of finishing the EMIM PM module…

The meeting with M. Normak was very interesting. As it seems, he would like very much to start this cooperation between ITIN and IMKE_TLU.

  1. Estonian students coming to ITIN would be best for a couple of months (to start with).  He would like to have a sort of semester time-table and a detailed description of all IBE modules. Then he can start advertising the exchange possibility for IMKE students. Some Erasmus exchange students who apply in september could take the spring semester in ITIN.
  2. French students coming to Tallinn University could be organized through the “IT Leadership” curriculum that is being defined and that will start in september 2010 (curriculum demanded by Skype). Some IBE modules could be integrated into this curriculum.
  3. Mr. Peeter Normak was very pleased to hear us invite him to come to France to meet Mr. Alain Gourdin and Laurence Guasquet. He could probably manage to find the time to fly over to France eiter the last week of august or in the second half of september.

The meeting with Sirje Virkus from the “Information Studies Institute’  also opened up a lot of possibilities. She often collaborates with Mr. Peeter Normak.

  1. This institute receives, every year, an international group of students through Erasmus Mundus, coming from Africa, Asia, … and having several backgrounds (Information systems, Computer Science, …). Sirje feels that what has been done this time with the “Informatics” Institute could become a common project.
    If another group of french students comes to Estonia, and if she gets the information early enough, project work could be done integrating :
    – French students
    – her international students (15 – 20 persons)
    – Estonian students, from both institutes
    We could even start the projects online and then organize an exchange of 1 or 2 weeks (both ways).
  2. There is a possibility to follow 3 to 6 months of courses as an Erasmus student in this Institute. We will have to look at the curriculum, but the folowing modules already caught our attention:
    – Information Management
    – Knowledge Management
    – Human Resource Management
  3. As there exists collaboration between Sirje Virkus and Peeter Normak, we proposed Sirje to come and visit ITIN as well. Maybe they can both travel together.

This evening, the students have organized a diner in one of the restaurants in old Tallinn. They invited Katri and me; thanked us for the whole organization and gave us a framed group photo… 
It was a very pleasant evening.

(11) Tallinn – May 6th 2009 – Work, work work…

May 6, 2009

Day schedule :
10:15 – 12:45  Media projetcts team work
12:45 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 15:00  Lecture “Open Educational Resources” by researcher Hans Pöldoja
15:15 – 16:45  Media projetcts team work

Students had to work all day on the media projects. We had to change rooms a couple of times, but we always managed to find a place where the team work could go on. One of the teams realy became ‘Library addicts’.

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As there were not that much hours to spend on the media projects and seeing that students would not be able to finish something realy tangible, I proposed they would skip the lecture from Hans Pöldoja.
I went to meet him and we had a great talk about “Open Educational Resources”, especially 2 tools that have been developed by and are in use in Tallinn University :
1) http://www.lemill.net : sort of wiki with a more formal structure where lecturers and researchers can share learning resources. The tool is divided in 4 parts : Content, Methods, Tools and Community.
2) http://www.wikiversity.ee : Wiki used for eductational purposes. Links are made towards other Web2.0 tools in order for students to be able to participate in online courses.

We also discussed further possible collaboration.

  • Lemill.net needs to be translated in french. There is a 2 man/day workload for it. Any ITIN student willing to take some time for this would be greatly welcomed.
  • There is one online course on “eLearning standards” that will start in autumn 2010. We could look at the possibility of including some french students in this course.
  • Another course idea has emerged, but the course material is not ready yet : “Designing with web standards”. This could be another possibility when the course will be officially launched.
  • If there are students that need to make a master thesis on Open Educational resources, Hans could be supervisor. For example a thesis on finding business models for this kind of tools could be very useful.

(10) Tallinn – May 5th 2009 – another working day

May 6, 2009

Day schedule :
10:15 – 12:45  Wrap-up session “Ecology of narratives” course
12:45 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 15:00  Media Project team work
15:00 – 18:00  eVent : Insititute of Informatics projects demo

The wrap-up session of the “Ecology of narratives” course started with a little explanation of what Kai Pata (the teacher) was able to observe from all the pictures and/or texts uploaded in the different tools.
She explained how pictures from one student triggered picture taking from other students about the same subject and compared it to the work of aunts (aunts follow the trace left behind by other aunts in order to find food). On the other hand, some pictures were a direct response to a picture taken by someone. This was compared to the work of thermites (thermites build upon the work done by others).
A lot of data could be extracted from these kind of interaction and collaboration. It is moreover used for marketing purposes (swarm marketing)… and this would have been very interesting to explore.

There was an exchange of a couple of interesting points of view on this experiment. My final observation is that this kind of experiment realy needs a bit more time to get to see the benefit of it. I think the students only start to understand it a bit now (and maybe even not all of them)…

80_narratives  81_narratives1  82_narratives

The Media Projects team work was done the same way as the other days. Students could choose the place they wanted to work in, according to the rooms available.

I had to spend one hour and a half scanning exam copies to send them back at ITIN/BTS. I had taken a set of copies to assess with me and unfortunately, some students mixed the copies I had to assess with those that concerned another teacher! Luckiliy I was able to send the scanned copies by email…

The eVent was an interesting experience, although some of it was in Estonian. Students and researchers made a short presentation (5 minutes) about a specific project. Links towards websites were given and for some projects colloboration was proposed to other persons.
Some of our students said they would be interested in presenting their work the same way.

83_event  84_event  85_event  86_event  87_event  88_event  89_event

(9) Tallinn – May 4th 2009 – Working day

May 4, 2009

Day schedule :
10:15 – 12:45  Individual work ‘Ecology of narratives’
12:45 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 16:30  MP team work

Everyone gathered at the university entrance.
The ‘Ecology of narratives’ teams all went to work where ever they wanted : in the media lab, in one of the cafeteria, in the library, …

This course is something very unusual for the ITIN students. The meaning of the whole experiment is to use different web 2.0 tools to post photos, comment the photos in another tool (blog) and then choose some to include them into a common blog (wordpress) and tag them. During the wrap up session of this course they will get to see what kind of data can be extracted from this whole blog and even try to find some research/reflection topics based on the common blog…
I hope they will finish by getting the point of this experiment. It’s kind of interesting to see how/why technical people don’t get into this kind of work easily.

In the afternoon, the media project groups got together again and continued where they have left the work before the weekend.
At the end of the day, Mauri Kaipainen came to explain to the Estonian students how the work of these projects should be continued after this week. They will use the outcome of these working sessions to do some further investigations, such as:
– what can be added/improved in the prototype for it to become a real product?
– how do users respond to the prototype? What other ideas do the users forecast? How would the final product be used?
– etc.

At the end of the day, Mauri invited me to a presentation of the research of a Swedish college : Mina Räsänen from Södertörn University.
Her work concerned “Ethnology within HCI (Human Computer Interaction)”.

All in all, another day that passed in a glance.

(8) Tallinn – May 3rd 2009

May 4, 2009

There was no particular schedule for the day. I decided to sleep a bit longer than usual… and get up just on time to be able to get breakfast.
I met Ema during breakfast and we decided to go souvenir shopping in the old town (as we hadn’t been able to do so in Helsinki).

70_market-place-2  71_market-place-3  72_handicraft-market  73_ema-tea-room  74_city-walls  75_walls-paintings  76_city-walls

Before we realized it was already 6pm.
We didn’t feel like going to a restaurant and just baught some biscuits and fruits in the supermarket and ate them in the parc.

(7) Helsinki, May 2nd 2009 : A very long and busy day

May 3, 2009

Day schedule :
07:00   Leave the hotel –> Ferry terminal (Tallinn)
08:00   Departure for Helsinki (Finland)
10:30    Arrival at Helsinki
19:30    Leave the city –> Ferry terminal (Helsinki)
21:30    Departure for Tallinn (Estonia)   
00:00   Arrival at Tallinn

Emma and I decided to go for a day trip to Helsinki.
We had to get up early and check in at the terminal, at least 30 minutes before departure. The boat trip went smoothly. Although Ema worried at first because she’s often carsick, she didn’t have any problem on board.

1_depart-helsinki  2_vikingline  3_on-the-boat  4_on-the-boat  5_on-the-boat

6_arrival-helsinki  7_arrival-helsinki  8_arrival-helsinki

At arrival, the difference between the buildings we have been seeing in Tallinn and those in the port in Helsinki appeared very clearly.

 9_wall-picture  10_building  11_building

We first visited the orthodox church, before going towards a local handicraft market.

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From there we walked to the marina, where Mauri was working on his boat with his daughter Eva. He invited us to have some bean soup and a drink. We also had a coffee together at a little kiosk. As it was pretty cold, we had to protect ourselved with warm covers. This seems to be a habit, as people don’t necessarily stay inside when it’s cold.

 22_me-orth-church  23_street-view  25_port  27_house-and-boat  29_marina  31_mauris-boat  32_mauri-and-eva  33_me-freezing

Ema and I continued our visit in Helsinki. We walked around quite much.
We visited the City Art museum, where unfortunately taking photos was prohibited. We did take a lot of photographs of buildings and street views.

 34_street-view1  35_street-view1  36_street-view1  37_rocks-inside-town1  38_houses1  39_street-view1  40_chair1  41_street-view1  42_museum1  43_detail-of-building1  44_street-view1  45_railway-station1  46_white-church1  47_white-church1  48_tram1  49_building1

When we got tired from visiting, we decided to go for some souvenir shopping, but we had a little surprise. We were already used to having all shops open untill at least 9pm, but in Helsinki shops close at 6 and some even at 4pm!

We decided to take a tour with the tram in order to see a little bit more beyond the city center. We went back to the terminal way before the check in hour and waited in the hall. We both almost fell asleep even before checking in for the return trip.
I believe I have never been more tired…

(6) Tallinn, May 1st 2009 : Busy day

May 1, 2009

Day schedule :
Morning       9:30 – 15:00   National Think Tank (Brainstorm)
Afternoon 15:00 – 18:00  City Tour

Last year, May the 1st a national cleaning up worksession has been organized by a couple of people who have big dreams for their country and try to realize them. This year, the same people have organized a national brainstorm session in order to find concrete actions that could be realized in order to improve everyone’s life in Estonia. We had the opportunity to join a group of english speaking foreigners who live in Estonia. 2 students showed up to come to this event with Katri and me.
It was quite rewarding to be able to contribute (at least a little bit) in this event. More information about this event can be found on: http://www.minueesti.ee/?lng=en

Maybe we could try to use this kind of brainstorm sessions to try to improve things in smaller organizations?

The President of Estonia presented the National Brainstorming sessions officially started. Katri was asked to translate for the english speaking group.

estonian-president-introducing-the-sessions1  4_thinktank1  brainstorm-group

think-big  brainstorm-start  brainstorm-start-2     3_thinktank1   katri_and_me_21 5_thinktank  6_thinktank  7_thinktank  result  8_thinktank  10_thinktankour-host

Subjects were proposed by the whole group. Ideas were pinned up the wall. People could choose an idea they wanted to develop further and form a group. Everyone could join a group, participate in the discussion and the research of concrete actions. Everything was written down. We could all feel free to move to another group/idea whenever we wanted.


 We had to leave the Think Tank session before the end in order to have a quick lunch before meeting the other students at the hotel to take the City bus Tour.

11_lunch  12_lunch

A native english speaking guide explained all monuments and places. She had also a lot of ‘spooky’ stories to tell…

22_katri_guide   21_bustour  23_palace  26_listen_to_guide  29_song-festival-hall  31_saint_birgita-monestry  32_port  35_sea  36_sea  37_sea  42_cathedral  45_toompea-loss  46_christophe_paparazzi  47_christophe_paparazzi  48_christophe_paparazzi  52_souvenir-shop  54_listening-to-guide  56_street-view  60_tallinn  67_cathedral  68_city-walls  69_city-walls  71_small-street  73_small-street

We ended the day in old town center, about 7pm. The students seem to have appreciated the tour.

(5) Thursday, April 30th 2009 : another day of team work

April 30, 2009

Day schedule :
9:00  –  10:15  Meeting with Peeter Normak (Thomas, Thibaut, Carina)
10:15 – 12:45  MP team work
12:45 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 16:00 MP team work
16:00 – 20:00 Optional lecture : 21st century concepts and information in meaning – session 1 (Jaan Teng, Canada)

Thomas, Thibaut and myself started the day a bit earlier then the others. We had a little meeting with Mr. Peeter Normak, the head of The Institute of Informatics. Thomas and Thibaut did a good job in presenting ITIN and the IBE curriculum. We initiated a discussion on how Tallinn University and ITIN could collaborate and work on a long term exchange program. Mr. Normak had to leave after an hour, but we have planned another meeting at the end of our stay.


We ran into Sirje Virkus (Lecturer and Erasmus mundus DILL coordinator in the Department of Information studies at Tallinn University, EMIM teacher) with whom I had dinner yesterday evening and explained her what kind of participation could be thought of. She proposed the students to come and present ITIN and the exchange possibilities in her institution too. I’ll be in touch with her…

Students work on the media projects and organize their time…
Some work in the Media Lab, others prefer to work in the cafeteria or in the library. They could even work in the park if they wanted… there is free wireless Internet access everywhere!

(4) Wednesday, April 29th 2009 : student-led team work

April 30, 2009

Day schedule :
10:00 – 17:00 student-led teamwork.

Today the students were free to organize their work. They had to work on 2 projects : the media project and the ‘ecology of narratives’ project.
Several classrooms and/or meeting rooms had been reserved for them.
I decided to stay in one of the classrooms with 1 project team.
Tomorrow I’ll observe another team.
All teams could come and ask for more information or for help, but they have been quite autonomic.

Team 1 : MobCity


Ottavio (Erasmus – IT)
Taavi (TLU – EE)
Bryce (Itin – FR)
Marc (Itin – FR
Mouhamad (Itin – FR)


Team 2 : Sportsbook


Charles-Henri (Itin – FR)
Bruno (Itin – FR)
Julien (Itin – FR)
Karim (Itin – FR)
Jonathan (Itin – FR)
Nicolas (Erasmus – FR)


Team 3 : Erasmusbook


Patrick (Erasmus – FR)
Djagane (Itin – FR)
Ema (Itin – FR)
Ahmed (Itin – FR)
Mehdi (Itin – FR)
Pauline (Erasmus – FR)


Team 4 : ITINside




55_tired-students   56_university-entrance-hall

At the end of the day, some of the students were realy exhausted!
They didn’t complain though. They just took a nap (in the University entrance hall) before returning to the team work…

I understood later that they had to rest before the evening! They were invited to this Erasmus party!