Sweden has frequently been ranked among the world leaders in higher education. And with a focus on independent and creative learning, it's no surprise Sweden is also one of the most innovative nations.
Malmö is no exception. With more than 250 international partner universities and selected lectures being live-streamed around the world, Malmö University can bring Swedish education to your doorstep - wherever that doorstep is!
Senior lecturer Tobias Denskus is on a mission to make his master's programme as accessible as possible. Communication for Development brings together students from around the world via Malmö University's Glocal classroom – where lectures and seminars can be live streamed alongside an interactive chat facility to allow and enhance participation.
“One student may have just woken up and had a cup of coffee in New York; another might have just gotten back from work somewhere in Europe; and then we have the Asian evening crowd. We get that global dynamic, which is reflected by a 24-hour clock,” Denskus says.
Last year, for instance, one student was a staff member of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, who streamed lectures on his phone while sitting in traffic jams each day.
“We also have a Somali refugee who lives in the far north of Sweden, and a student living in a very remote part of the Italian Alps,” Denskus remarks.
The school has designed its own live-lecture platform, which consists of a video screen and a chat function.
“We get a very multi-faceted learning experience,” Denskus explains. “While there is a lecture going on there can also be side discussions, with students asking questions and other students answering them - it is not just a teacher-student dynamic.”
The idea of a “glocal” classroom is that personal, high-quality teaching can take place anywhere in the world. Malmö University's Glocal classroom offers a low-stream broadcast which can be watched with a 3G phone connection as well as higher-quality streams.
It also makes studying more flexible. Students who enrol in the programme often are already working in the field of international development, many within organisations such as the UN. Why uproot yourself if you can fit studying in seamlessly around your life?
For others, it might be a question of needing to study at home: the programme also attracts a number of parents and other caregivers.
“It is very rewarding that by default our students are very much immersed in the ‘real world', and they can bring that into the classroom,” Denskus says.
“We get a lot of positive feedback. Students like the kind of classroom environment that we provide and say they studied like a ‘real' student. Throughout the two years of part-time studies, an active community is evolving alongside engagement from teachers. People really feel part of a study experience.”
For some students, the Communication for Development programme online is a gateway to offline experiences: “They start as distance-learning students, but then they get excited about the Swedish education system and come back for more courses.”
But even when students study on campus in the city of Malmö, the global element remains. It's a remarkably international campus – and every student is encouraged to spend at least one semester studying abroad at one of Malmö's partner universities.
“The attraction for international students is that Malmö - as a space and place - is basically a laboratory in itself,” Denskus says.
“The way the city of Malmö is changing in terms of infrastructure, buildings, economic opportunities and new forms of employment - Malmö University is at the core of that.”
Malmö is still a relatively young university – and that gives it a more flexible ethos, he adds. The school doesn't bear the weight of long-standing tradition, and can instead focus on innovating.
“We come without that baggage and have the opportunity to try out new things, new partnerships, and that has proved to be very exciting,” he says.
“We are creating lots of global connections through this programme and the alumni network – many long-lasting connections in distant places When you study at Malmö, you will become part of a global network.”
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Malmö University.