Tag Archives: Malmö university

Passing the semester at Malmö University – walk through my finals week

Today is officially the first day of a new course and I would like to happily report that I came back to life. Passing this semester wasn’t really as tough as I am used to – although I am pretty sure that is more connected to the fact that I no longer study Architecture so days (weeks?) without eating, sleeping or walking away from the computer are gone. Instead of “sleep is for weak” attitude I am enjoying Swedish work-life balance, laid back atmosphere and no grades. Don’t think that means no one cares about the quality of the projects – quite the opposite! I am struggling to be better and better for myself. Small fact that all the projects are group work adds a little bit of motivation and time management pressure. Are you interested in how my final week of the semester looked like? Let me walk you through it…

Before we start two practical information. Firstly, I study Interaction Design, thus my finals week looks different than most of the other students. We don’t have any exams – instead we present project we worked on during the entire course. Secondly, studies in Sweden (or at least at Malmö University) are organised in courses: two per semester and only one at a time. So I wasn’t really passing entire semester but only a 2-months-long course.


Coming back to school after the hazy blur of over-eating, family meetings and not-knowing-what-day-is-it-or-what-is-happening-in-my-life mood of Christmas is a shock. I was supposed to do everything during the Christmas break, wasn’t I? Well, there is just one thing left to do: panic. Panic going through the code in the train, skyping with your group at the airport and trying to do some work at every single one of your five transportation means.


Working, working and yes, you guessed it – working. I am not in this alone: two of my teammates suffer with me the endless hours of skype and iterations of the algorithm. Working on an experimental text processor, we are implementing the last changes in the code to get rid of the bugs and preparing posters presenting the output. At 4.00 in the morning I suggest taking a 3-hours sleep break and meeting again at 7.00 a.m. . One of my teammates thinks it’s a joke – funnily enough I can’t guess if she’s outraged by the idea of us going to sleep already or the idea of waking up again in less than 3 hours.


Hurray, we’ve got everything under control! The code is ready, the posters sent for printing. My group meets at the University to finish the last remaining task – put together a slideshow presentation.



Presentation day! We start with a demo hour – inside our studio all five groups prepare a mini exhibition of the prototypes. Guests (second year students and invited teachers) and us have an opportunity to go around and try out the prototypes. My group is presenting 4 experiments we developed during the design process and a final project: a definition making algorithm for non-existing words, set of poetry created with Google Translate, an algorithm creating a flow of synonyms, a digital dictionary of untranslatable words and the text processor detecting the dynamics of typing and translating it into typographical distortion. We take turns staying at “our” station, answering questions and explaining our process. After the demo-hour each group presents their project, process and theory behind it in front of entire class and receives critique from peers and teachers. This lasts for hours, so when I finally make it to home I am more than ecstatic to see my bed.


Let’s take a break from the studies, shall we? Today is the day that new students arrive in Malmö! And I am one of the volunteers welcoming them. I spend the day in a big black t-shirt with “ASK ME” on both sides, picking the incoming Erasmus and Exchange students from the train station and helping them with the check in.


Oh,well – back to reality. Just the fact that I presented my project doesn’t mean that it’s all over. After finishing a group project each of us individually has to hand in a 3-4 pages ACM format academic paper based on the project. Before the Christmas break we had a chance to discuss our potential topics with our teacher. Let’s get to writing then.



Who would have known that writing 2000 words takes so much time?

FRIDAY 13.01

Everybody is working until the very last moment. The deadline for uploading the finished paper is at 17.00. Shortly after that I set out from home for a Buddy Night at the Student Pub – a chance for me to meet an incoming Spanish Erasmus student for whom I am a Buddy (person helping out with all the questions concerning Sweden and coming for Erasmus).


The semester is over! Time to celebrate! Most of our class is a good group of friends, so we gather together for some well-deserved fun. Kevin is hosting an end-of-semester party: games, pizza, snacks, laughs and random conversations.

SUNDAY 15.01

I haven’t had much sleep yet but instead I enjoy a family-like breakfast at my best friend’s place (coming home alone might not be the safest option in Malmö, so I choose to wait until the morning). Her roommate prepares warm scones for everybody – and that’s just one of the perks of living in a student apartment! It’s well after midday when with full stomach and after discussing almost every topic possible from internships to adolescent fails, I finally set out for home. I can’t wait to get to my bed after this finals week. Goodnight!


Malmö University Interaction Design Master’s Programme – course 1

How is it like to study at Malmö University? How are the courses organised? How many hours per week did I spend in school? What is the Interaction Design Master’s like? And did I pass my first course? Let’s explore a few of these questions with the student perspective on my first course of Interaction Design Master’s Programme at Malmö Univeristy.

Recently I have passed my first course here, at Malmö University: Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design. It was part of my Interaction Design Master’s Progamme. The whole year is divided into 4 courses, 2 per semester, each worth 15 ECTS credits. The last course is thesis work, both for the students enrolled in one- and two-year degree’s. Both of the types of students are working and having lectures together in a class of 18 people.



photo: my classmates enjoying bowling


My “class” is nothing like what I expected it to be. First of all: there is only two half-Swedish people and a grand number of six Danes who are commuting from Copenhagen. The rest of the class is from all over the world: Bulgaria, Canada, Brazil, Italy, USA… It is a first time I have an opportunity of working on a project with people from outside of Europe. But that’s not the end of the diversity! To ensure multidisciplinary approach we come from a variety of different backgrounds: from Computer Science through Architecture to Graphic Design. What’s more, there is a lot of age differences between us – more than a dozen years between the youngest and the oldest. That means a lot of different experiences and perspectives to come together in one project. And our differences are bringing us all together – we get on well, hanging out together after classes, bowling, partying or winning pub quizes.


Malm Hgskola Orkanen. Biblioteket. Daphne Haking.

Photo Credits: Malmö Högskola Orkanen; Biblioteket. Daphne Haking


The structure of the course changes every year according to the feedback from last year’s students. What we have been through during our first course was quite a different experience than the one of previous year’s students. During the ten-weeks course we went through two projects, each lasting  around 3 weeks, and a series of introductory lectures before each. As a rule of thumb, classes were happening 3 times a week with Tuesdays and Thursdays free from lectures to give us time for project work (although it is not the case with the second course ongoing right now).

Except of project based work done in a previously assigned 4-person groups, we had to attend lectures, workshop and individual tutorings. Most of the lectures required preparation in a form of readings (starting from introductory books to academic papers). I personally find the Malmö University Interaction Design Programme to have a very academic approach, with a lot of focus on academic readings. Workshops were a one-day classes given by a guest-lecturer connected to the overall theme of the course but consisting of smaller tasks that were not a part of a bigger project. However, they served not only as a great get-away but actually gave as insights to use in the group work. Additionally, over the course of these 10 weeks we had 3 individual meetings with a teacher during which we would discuss our expectations, opinions and plans. I found those to be extremely helpful both psychologically and technically.



photo: brainstorming during first project


So what have we done during the first project? The aim of the project was to design for shared sonic spaces. Each group had been assigned a specific location and a theme. My group was exploring the topic of “parasitic” in cafes and co-working spaces. We would follow a pretty strict design process (based on the double diamond model) and present progress every week. After observations conducted in a cafe, we developed many ideas, few of which we later presented in front of entire class. Due to the short timeframe and the introductory character of the course we were focusing on trying out different methods and coming up with ideas, not trying yet to design or build. In the end we came up with a concept of sound visualizing artifact meant for encouraging the reflection on dynamics of conversation and its contribution to the soundscape.



photo: prototyping at university’s workshop


During the second project we had much more freedom. We didn’t have much lectures. We were able to choose the design process by ourselves without restrictions on final product or timing. Also the theme was more open – this time my new group was focusing on applying force. All in all, the second project was meant to get us into prototyping – we spend a great deal of time in the workshop. My group decided to explore the possibility of applying force as an input for tangible interfaces. We built a prototype which was used to perform a simple function (like navigation of a dot on a screen) by applying force. At the end of the project our teachers invited other professors and second year’s students for a demo-hour, during which they could play with prototypes and ask questions about our project.

That is a summary of how my first course at Malmö University looked like. And oh, the most important  – I passed! (As well of course as all the other students, but there are no specific grades).  Feel free to ask any questions about studying in Sweden, at Malmö University or particularly about Interaction Design Master’s Programme. And stay tuned for part 2 – embodied interaction course!


featured image: Malmö Högskola Orkanen; Biblioteket. Emma Rugg

Malmö University 101

Dining at the City Hall, singing Britney Spears karaoke at the Student Pub, questioning policeman Mike about Swedish law, eating hotdogs at the beach and staying for 24 hours at an university building… a regular first week for Malmö University student. Let me briefly introduce you to the Malmö högskola!


                                                                    Source: GIPHY


“Hey mom, my university is younger than me! “

Malmö University was founded in 1998, which makes it younger than most of the students. It also means that since at that time nearby Lund University already offered traditional programs like law or architecture, at Malmö University you can get a degree in  Interaction Design, Criminology, Human rights or Leadership for Sustainability. How cool is that?




Credits: Kentaroo Tryman/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se


Most university buildings are located in the northern part of the city, where old industrial harbour was transformed into the nest for education, entrepreneurship and innovation. Especially innovation – did you know that Forbes ranked Malmö as fourth most innovative city in the world? The newest building of the university looks like a headquarters of an important company.  And we are only a few steps away from Västra hamnen, famous neighbourhood that is sometimes described as the first carbon neutral district in Europe.





Let’s get to the point! What happens when you come to Malmö as an international student? For sure you are not alone. On the contrary, together with me in the Introduction Programme participated over 500 international students from 84 different countries!  Coming two weeks earlier is not obligatory but I would recommend it to anybody – it is essentially 9 days of fun and getting to know people from all over the world. I prepared a calendar summary of my first days in Sweden to get you the idea. I had numerous fikas (traditional swedish coffe breaks with mandatory cake!), had a chance to talk to the Mayor at the official reception at the City Hall, enjoyed  last summer days at the beach, got to know all the university services, danced to Swedish tunes, met my future teachers and much more!




aka Seeking the Holy Graal of a Swede

A running joke among my classmates is the general difficulty of meeting a Swede here. Most of the people I know in Malmö are international students. We were quite surprised to discover that the total number of Swedes attending our program is a grand 1. The more excited we were about Insparken – the first two weeks of the term which are somehow an equivalent of the Introduction Programme but for Swedish students. This time it is only about fun: teambuilding with your faculty, karaoke, theme parties, boardgames… All in the spirit of rivalry between faculties (go sports!). The epic final of Insparken is a 24h race with a new activity announced every hour. Tasks varied from dance competitions to baking cake… and decorating christmas trees. All this in a great atmosphere. And by great I mean several-dozen-Swedes-singing-Pokemon-theme-song-aloud-and-toasting-every-hour great.



As you can see, international students are never bored during their first weeks at Malmö University. There are countless opportunites to get to know the school and future classmates.This is not unusual in Sweden – here you can check out how Dena described her introduction experince in Lund University. What about you? Do you have some special events at the beginning of the term at your universities?


Would you like to know more about Malmö University, my faculty or Interaction Design Master Programme? Feel free to suggest topics that interest you. I have just came to Sweden from Poland to study interaction design and from now on you can follow my student blog for stories about my time here. Stay tuned!