Optima online learning environment, E. Patricio

Case presenter

Elisabete Patricio, Researcher
Aalto SCI, Department of Information and Computer Science


Optima online learning environment

Key words

Optima, online learning, online collaboration, feedback

Basic course information

All master courses
Enterprise Systems Architecture – 4 credits, 55 students
ICT – 4 or 6 credits, 75 students
Seminar on Integration – 6 or 8 credits, 13 students

In the future as well:
IT Governance - 4 credits, 25 students


Centralize instructions and deliveries, provide and receive customized feedback from assignments and lectures and enable peer review in one channel.
Stimulate students to minimize email.
Facilitate creation of work groups for students that do not know each other.

Study prosess

Clear instructions on how to use Optima interface only for assignment purposes in the practicalities of the course in class and in Noppa.
Submissions would not be allowed after the closing period of the deliveries. All information centralized in one place, Optima.

Courses had assignments and the initiative in this learning processed concerned these and in addition delivery of customized feedback from assignments. Students were asked as well to provide feedback concerning guest lectures and improvement of the assignments.

Two types of assignments:
One created with Form tool questions to be answered straight in Optima.
Second was submission of pdf file with the return box in Optima.
Students received customized feedback besides the scores through Optima.

Communication and interaction

Assignment deliveries with Return box and Form functionalities.

Limitations: Optima does not recognize group members unit, even though it enables its creation. After one group member submission, only that member can see the group submission, grade and feedback comment. I had to suggest that member to share with the rest of the members. Return box was used as well as a peer review enabler between group submissions. However, due to closing the return deadline submission, it was not possible to enable the peer review. There was some misunderstand of how to use this functionalities from me. I would like to try it again and test it.

Feedback from students:
On guest lectures – it was used the survey tool. It works quite nice with the different scales and layouts of the results. It was requested in class to fill in. Only ~12% answered. We are using these results to assess future guest lectures. Other functionalities could combine an open field for personal comments.
On assignments – tried to use the 360degrees tool, however all students preferred to ask questions through email. It was not emphasized the use of the 360 degrees tool only. Next years it will be done only through there to provide sharing of same doubts and open discussion for improvement. Another important thing is the confidentiality on certain topics or individual questions.

It was used Discussion Topic tool to find work pairs.

Learning and feedback

There was an initial resistance from students in using Optima due to use of Noppa and email. It had to be reinforced as the only means concerning deliveries.
No survey was conducted on the use of Optima, however all used it accordingly and very little questions and doubts aroused from its functionalities. It is needed to ask feedback from the use of Optima next time.


Emphasize the use of Optima tools used constantly and show example; Increase and promote the discussion topics by practicalities in Optima, Assignments and feedback. Listen to student’s resistance and elaborate on those. Inform in advance of Optima limitations to minimize frustrations. Continue to use ICT channels to provide open discussions, opinions and more customized feedback. Above all, centralize submissions and have a place to provide customized written feedback.