University Lecturer Helena Kantanen
I’m Helena Kantanen from the Business School, and I’m without a doubt the oldest member of the Facilitator team. I was born when television was still black-and-white, so I’m by no means a digital native.
My entry into the digital world was, however, a swift one. Back in 1997 when I returned from a long parental leave to my old job as a communications officer, I discover something new: the internet. This was when you still had to know HTML to design websites. I gave it a go but didn’t really get the hang of it. Luckily, the tools we have today are much easier to use!
Gradually, my postgraduate studies took me away from day-to-day communications work, and into the world of teaching and research. After my PhD, I spent a couple of years working as a communications developer for the Upper Savonia region’s congregations. One of my tasks was to introduce employees to modern online communications and social media. In a way, it was similar to what I’m doing now as a Facilitator: I give advice and encouragement, and I help employees to find their personal strengths and ways to put them to use in a new environment.
I’ve worked as a University Lecturer at the Business School since 2010, and I teach various courses in marketing and management. Early on, I completed pedagogical studies in teacher training (60 credits), and these studies were well supplemented by the university’s own course focusing on the skills needed in online teaching (10 credits). I’ve been the leader of the Business School’s pedagogical team since 2015, so I’m quite well aware of things that worry teachers in their day-to-day work.
Having the opportunity to join the university’s first group of flipped classroom teachers was also crucial for the development of my own online teaching. I had my reservations about having my lectures videoed. Well, now I don’t have to, since I can make my lecture videos in the comfort of my own office. I’m truly fond of this system: I make my materials available online before class, and class time is devoted to sharing expertise and deepening my students’ learning. I used to deliver my basic course in marketing in a large auditorium, where I would lecture to large groups of students – and I did this for eight years. However, after flipping the course, it has sparked both my and my students’ interest in a completely new way.
To me, it is important that teaching is developed on the basis of scientific evidence in educational sciences and that development projects also generate academic research – we are in a university, after all. I already have some experience of fruitful research collaboration with educational scientists – and I’m looking for more to come!
To learn more about me, please visit my blog.